Special Collection: Ultrafast Contrast Imaging
- Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) utilising microbubbles shows great potential for visualising lymphatic vessels and identifying sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs) which are valuable for axillary staging in breast cancer patients. However, current CEUS imaging techniques have limitations that affect the accurate visualisation and tracking of lymphatic vessels and SLN. (i) Tissue artefacts and bubble disruption can reduce the image contrast. (ii) Limited spatial and temporal resolution diminishes the amount of information that can be captured by CEUS.
- Molecular targeted nanodroplets that can extravasate beyond the vascular space have great potential to improve tumor detection and characterisation. High-frame-rate ultrasound, on the other hand, is an emerging tool for imaging at a frame rate one to two orders of magnitude higher than those of existing ultrasound systems. In this study, we used high-frame-rate ultrasound combined with optics to study the acoustic response and size distribution of folate receptor (FR)-targeted versus non-targeted (NT)-nanodroplets in vitro with MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells immediately after ultrasound activation.
- Angiogenesis, the formation of new vessels, is one of the key mechanisms in tumor development and an appealing target for therapy. Non-invasive, high-resolution, high-sensitivity, quantitative 3-D imaging techniques are required to correctly depict tumor heterogeneous vasculature over time. Ultrafast Doppler was recently introduced and provides an unprecedented combination of resolution, penetration depth and sensitivity without requiring any contrast agents. The technique was further extended to three dimensions with ultrafast Doppler tomography (UFD-T).
- Quantification of 3-D intravascular flow is valuable for studying arterial wall diseases but currently there is a lack of effective clinical tools for this purpose. Divergence-free interpolation (DFI) using radial basis function (RBF) is an emerging approach for full-field flow reconstruction using experimental sparse flow field samples. Previous DFI reconstructs full-field flow from scattered 3-D velocity input obtained using phase-contrast magnetic resonance imaging with low temporal resolution.
- Plane-wave ultrasound contrast imaging offers a faster, less destructive means for imaging microbubbles compared with traditional ultrasound imaging. Even though many of the most acoustically responsive microbubbles have resonant frequencies in the lower-megahertz range, higher frequencies (>3 MHz) have typically been employed to achieve high spatial resolution. In this work we implement and optimize low-frequency (1.5-4 MHz) plane-wave pulse inversion imaging on a commercial, phased-array imaging transducer in vitro and illustrate its use in vivo by imaging a mouse xenograft model.
- Bubble-seeded histotripsy (BSH) is a newly developed ultrasound-based mechanical fractionation technique using locally injected phase change nanodroplets (PCNDs) as sensitizers. The PCNDs are a kind of microbubble precursor compressed into submicron-size in droplets form, which were designed for local administration and will expand into microbubbles under ultrasound exposure. Previously, we reported that a combination of PCNDs injection and pulsed high-intensity focused ultrasound (pHIFU) with an acoustic intensity as low as about 3 kW/cm2 at 1.1 MHz, which is similar to the acoustic intensity of currently available HIFU coagulation therapy, was enough to induce tissue fractionation after significant antitumor effects in an in vivo study.