Laser-based photothermal therapy can provide a minimally invasive treatment alternative to surgical resection of tumors. The selectivity and effectiveness of laser therapy can be greatly enhanced when photo-absorbing nanoparticles such as multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) are introduced into the tissue [1,2]. The effectiveness of nanoparticle enhanced laser treatment can be determined through a combined approach using experimental measurement and computational models. This approach allows ideal laser parameters (e.g. irradiance, pulse duration) and nanoparticle properties (e.g. concentration and delivery method) to be selected to maximize treatment efficacy. We developed a computational model to predict the temperature response of tissue representative phantoms and in vivo murine renal cancer (RENCA) kidney tumors to MWNTs used in combination with external laser irradiation. The accuracy of the computational model prediction of temperature was verified by comparing with experimental measurements of temperature using magnetic resonance thermometry (MRTI). In addition, an image analysis technique is introduced for measuring the spatial viability of cancer cells suspended in tissue phantoms following nanoparticle enhanced laser therapy and correlating cell viability with thermal exposure. Spatial viability and thermal measurements are combined to predict cell death as a function of temperature in tissue phantoms.

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