Our group is actively researching emerging ultrasound applications and their translation to clinical care. These areas include nonlinear and volumetric imaging, contrast-enhanced ultrasound in interventional oncology, noninvasive pressure estimation, perfusion estimation, small animal ultrasound, ultrasound-mediated drug delivery, and photoacoustic imaging. Current research project stages span from bench-top experiments to multi-center.
Contrast-enhanced ultrasound applications in interventional oncology
The use of ultrasound contrast agents is useful for monitoring and assisting various interventional oncology procedures including ablations and embolizations of solid tumors. We are currently using both 2D and 3D ultrasound to guide, augment, and monitor responses to these therapies. The techniques include using ultrasound contrast agents for treatment planning and probe guidance, evaluating residual vascularity post treatment, and using ultrasound-triggered microbubble cavitation to sensitize tumors to therapy.
Localized drug delivery via ultrasound-sensitive drug carriers
Targeted drug delivery is beneficial for improving therapeutic effects while minimizing systemic toxicity. Our group is actively pursuing several ultrasound-sensitive drug delivery platforms for localized drug delivery. These include improving the delivery of chemotherapeutics to solid tumors with the use of drug-loaded, ultrasound sensitive microbubbles, delivering oxygen to solid tumors (via ultrasound sensitive microbubbles) to sensitize them to radiotherapies, and the development of ultrasound-triggered antimicrobial reservoirs which can be implanted during surgical procedures. These platforms provide localized, image guided, and temporally controlled delivery mechanisms for a variety of therapeutic applications.
High frequency ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging services
Our team provides high frequency ultrasound and photoacoustic support services to interested investigators in the Philadelphia area. In addition, we are pursuing novel applications for these modalities in preclinical and clinical research. High frequency (18-70 MHz) ultrasound enables high resolution imaging, quantification of vascularity, and quantification of blood dynamics in a variety of soft tissues. Photoacoustic imaging is a combination of ultrasound and optical imaging that provides visualization and quantification of optical contrast agents, blood oxygenation, and a variety of other molecular imaging applications. These services can provide fast, accurate, and noninvasive monitoring in species ranging from fruit flies to humans. For more information, please visit our core facility site.