Special Collection: Molecular Imaging
- Ultrasound molecular imaging has been developed in the past two decades with the goal of non-invasively imaging disease phenotypes on a cellular level not depicted on anatomic imaging. Such techniques already play a role in pre-clinical research for the assessment of disease mechanisms and drug effects, and are thought to in the future contribute to earlier diagnosis of disease, assessment of therapeutic effects and patient-tailored therapy in the clinical field. In this review, we first describe the chemical composition and structure as well as the in vivo behavior of the ultrasound contrast agents that have been developed for molecular imaging.
- 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.
- Angiogenesis is a critical feature of plaque development in atherosclerosis and might play a key role in both the initiation and later rupture of plaques. The precursory molecular or cellular pro-angiogenic events that initiate plaque growth and that ultimately contribute to plaque instability, however, cannot be detected directly with any current diagnostic modality. This study was designed to investigate the feasibility of ultrasound molecular imaging of endothelial αvβ3 expression in vitro and in vivo using αvβ3-targeted ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs).
- The aim of this study was to determine whether pre-treatment with nitric oxide-loaded echogenic liposomes (NO-ELIP) plus ultrasound can improve highlighting by molecularly targeted (anti-vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 [VCAM-1]) ELIP of atheroma components. Atherosclerotic animals were treated with anti-VCAM-1-ELIP or immunoglobulin (IgG)-ELIP. Each group was selected at random to receive pre-treatment with standard ELIP plus ultrasound, NO-ELIP without ultrasound and NO-ELIP plus ultrasound. Intravascular ultrasound highlighting data for the same arterial segments were collected before and after treatment.
- As a tumor surrogate, the mouse embryo presents as an excellent alternative for examining the binding of angiogenesis-targeting microbubbles and assessing the quantitative nature of molecular ultrasound. We establish the validity of this model by developing a robust method to study microbubble kinetic behavior and investigate the reproducibility of targeted binding in the murine embryo. Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2)-targeted (MBV), rat immunoglobulin G2 (IgG2) control antibody-targeted (MBC) and untargeted (MBU) microbubbles were introduced into vasculature of living mouse embryos.
- Targeted, liquid perfluorocarbon nanoparticles are effective agents for acoustic contrast enhancement of abundant cellular epitopes (e.g., fibrin in thrombi) and for lower prevalence binding sites, such as integrins associated with tumor neovasculature. In this study, we sought to delineate the quantitative relationship between the extent of contrast enhancement of targeted surfaces and the density (and concentration) of bound perfluorocarbon (PFC) nanoparticles. Two dramatically different substrates were utilized for targeting.