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Development of a Translatable Ultrasound Molecular Imaging Agent for Inflammation

      Abstract

      This study details the development, characterization and non-clinical efficacy of an ultrasound molecular imaging agent intended for molecular imaging of P-selectin in humans. A targeting ligand based on a recently discovered human selectin ligand was manufactured as fusion protein, and activity for human and mouse P- and E-selectin was evaluated by functional immunoassay. The targeting ligand was covalently conjugated to a lipophilic anchor inserted into a phospholipid microbubble shell. Three lots of the targeted microbubble drug product, TS-07-009, were produced, and assays for size distribution, zeta potential and morphology were established. The suitability of TS-07-009 as a molecular imaging agent was evaluated in vitro in a flow-based adhesion assay and in vivo using a canine model of transient myocardial ischemia. Selectivity for P-selectin over E-selectin was observed in both the human and murine systems. Contrast agent adhesion increased with P-selectin concentration in a dynamic adhesion assay. Significant contrast enhancement was observed on ultrasound imaging with TS-07-009 in post-ischemic canine myocardium at 30 or 90 min of re-perfusion. Negligible enhancement was observed in resting (no prior ischemia) hearts or with a control microbubble 90 min after ischemia. The microbubble contrast agent described here exhibits physiochemical properties and in vivo behavior suitable for development as a clinical imaging agent.

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