Special Collection: Molecular Imaging
- The aim of this study was to evaluate the capacity of BR55, an ultrasound contrast agent specifically targeting vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), to distinguish the specific anti-VEGFR2 therapy effect of sunitinib from other anti-angiogenic effects of a therapy (imatinib) that does not directly inhibit VEGFR2. Sunitinib, imatinib and placebo were administered daily for 11 d (264 h) to 45 BalbC mice bearing ectopic CT26 murine colorectal carcinomas. During the course of therapy, B-mode ultrasound, contrast-enhanced ultrasound and VEGFR2-targeted contrast-enhanced ultrasound were performed to assess tumor morphology, vascularization and VEGFR2 expression, respectively.
- Quantitative contrast-enhanced ultrasound plays an important role in tumor characterization and treatment assessment. Besides established functional ultrasound techniques, ultrasound molecular imaging using microbubbles targeted to disease-associated markers is increasingly being applied in pre-clinical studies. Often, repeated injections of non-targeted or targeted microbubbles during the same imaging session are administered. However, the influence of repeated injections on the accuracy of the quantitative data is unclear.
- 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.