Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular imaging technique uses ultrasound and microscopic bubbles to target cancer cells

Date:
March 6, 2010
Source:
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Summary:
An imaging technique combining ultrasound and specially modified contrast agents may allow researchers to noninvasively detect cancer and show its progression. The technique enables researchers to visualize tumor activity at the molecular level.

An imaging technique combining ultrasound and specially modified contrast agents may allow researchers to noninvasively detect cancer and show its progression, according to research published in the March issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (JNM). The technique enables researchers to visualize tumor activity at the molecular level.

"We hope this technique might be helpful for the early detection of disease," said Juergen K. Willmann, M.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. "It may help save lives by finding cancer -- such as breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer -- in the very early stages, when it is still curable."

In the study, researchers intravenously injected microbubbles -- gas-filled spheres small enough to travel through vessels -- into mice with cancers. The microbubbles, which were paired with a new peptide (a molecule that consists of a chain of amino acids), were designed to travel through the vascular system and attach to integrin -- a well-characterized molecular marker that acts as a "red flag" for tumor vessel growth, or angiogenesis. Tumor vessel growth occurs when active tumor cells create certain pathways to provide the tumor with a sufficient supply of oxygen, nutrients and other factors needed for growth.

Once the gas-filled microbubbles seek out the cancers and attach to their vessel walls, they send out strong signals that are picked up by standard clinical ultrasound scanners. The imaging signals produced by the microbubbles are reflected back to the ultrasound transducer and illuminate the areas that outline the tumor, thus providing researchers with a sonogram of tumor vessel growth on a molecular level.

"Ultrasound holds great promise for the application of molecular imaging because it is widely available, relatively inexpensive and safe. There is no exposure to radiation and repetitive imaging is not a concern," said Dr. Willmann. "Furthermore, the targeted microbubbles have great potential for translation from bench to bedside -- which will be explored in future studies," said Sanjiv Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D., director of the molecular imaging program at Stanford.

Contrast-enhanced ultrasound can be used to image blood perfusion in organs, to measure blood flow rate in the heart and other organs and to perform other applications -- such as characterization of focal lesions in the liver. Current interest is focused on modifying contrast agents to make them specifically useful for molecular imaging. The microbubbles, paired with the new peptide that binds to tumor vessel cells as studied in the current research, may be more effective than antibody molecules, which are time-intensive to produce, are costly and may cause adverse reactions in patients.

Noninvasive imaging strategies such as the one described in the JNM study may be particularly helpful for diagnosing cancer in its earliest stages as well as for developing therapeutic agents to treat cancer and monitoring whether treatment is working.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society of Nuclear Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Willmann et al. Targeted Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging of Tumor Angiogenesis with Contrast Microbubbles Conjugated to Integrin-Binding Knottin Peptides. Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 2010; DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.109.068007

Cite This Page:

Society of Nuclear Medicine. "Molecular imaging technique uses ultrasound and microscopic bubbles to target cancer cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301102751.htm>.
Society of Nuclear Medicine. (2010, March 6). Molecular imaging technique uses ultrasound and microscopic bubbles to target cancer cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301102751.htm
Society of Nuclear Medicine. "Molecular imaging technique uses ultrasound and microscopic bubbles to target cancer cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100301102751.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins