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Multi-Functional Vehicles and Ultrasound

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Katherine W. Ferrara, PhD (bio)

May 7 2007

57 minutes


Due to the mechanical and thermal effects of ultrasound, there is a unique opportunity to create multi-functional particles that can be used for vascular imaging, imaging of specific molecular targets, and controlled local release of a drug adjacent to the molecular target. Ultrasound contrast agents are particles with a gas or liquid center and with a diameter on the order of 0.1 or 1 micron, often enclosed by a lipid membrane. Peptide or antibody-based coatings can be incorporated on the surface, providing the opportunity for molecular imaging of vascular targets.

Ultrasonic molecular imaging is unique in that the effective application of these agents depends not only on the surface chemistry, but also on the applied ultrasound field. An ultrasound "radiation" force can deflect these particles to the surface, increasing adhesion efficiency, and the agents can then be fragmented, effectively erasing the image and facilitating independent image acquisition at later time periods. Detection of these agents once bound can be based on changes in the received spectrum or methods combining image acquisition with radiation forces and fragmentation.

Perhaps more intriguing, however, is the impact of ultrasound in multi-modality imaging and drug delivery. Local insonation of targeted vehicles can deposit imaging probes or drugs within a small region. Complementing these techniques with optical imaging and positron emission tomography provides the opportunity to optimize local delivery.

We have developed an 18F-labelled lipid that can be incorporated within the shell of a delivery vehicle facilitating comparisons of delivery efficacy. Our early results demonstrate that a substantial percentage of the injected dose of delivery vehicles can be localized to a desired site. These combined methods show the potential to propel ultrasound-enhanced delivery into the clinic.


Department of Medical Physics


Medical Physics Seminar




Angiogenesis, Biodistribution, Drug Delivery, Imaging, Liposomes, Microbubbles, PET, Pulse Inversion, Targeted Harmonic Imaging, Targeted Ultrasound Imaging, Ultrasound
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