2022 Peter Mansfield Medal and Prize
Professor Gail Reinette ter Haar for distinguished contributions to the field of therapeutic ultrasound, and for the development of methods for the the treatment of cancer in the clinic.
Professor Gail ter Haar is a medical physicist who conducted her PhD at Guy’s Hospital, London, on the bioeffects of ultrasound interactions with tissue, and of its potential therapeutic applications. At the Institute of Cancer Research, she continued this research interest as a basis for the ultrasound treatment of tumours. When the temperature of a tumour is raised with ultrasound by up to 10 °C, the dose of drugs or radiation can be reduced while still giving the required therapeutic effect.
Most recently, ter Haar’s research has been into high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Highly focused ultrasonic energy deposition deep within tissue, delivered through suitable acoustic windows on the skin, produces local tissue damage and necrosis. This selective targeting of tissue helps to treat tumours non-invasively, without the need for conventional surgery, and spares surrounding healthy tissue. Current systems employ magnetic resonance or ultrasound imaging to aid localisation and placing of the ultrasound focus.
ter Haar’s internationally recognised expertise has progressed the design and development of clinical prototypes, methods of calibration and thermal dosimetry of HIFU systems, and has expanded knowledge of the bioeffects used in treatments. She is deputy editor of Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, associate editor for therapeutic application of Ultrasonics, and Physics section editor of the International Journal of Hyperthermia. ter Haar is one of the most prominent experts in the field of diagnostic ultrasound safety, and has helped develop standards for the safe use of ultrasound in pregnancy. She has published a large number of research papers, book chapters and tutorials providing knowledge and guidance to clinical users, ensuring the growth of this discipline with the next generation of researchers.