Medical imaging breakthrough uses light and sound to see microscopic details inside our bodies

November 22, 2010

See it for yourself: a new breakthrough in imaging technology using a combination of light and sound will allow health care providers to see microscopic details inside the body. Access to this level of detail potentially eliminates the need for some invasive biopsies, but it also has the potential to help health care providers make diagnoses earlier than ever before--even before symptoms arise. Details describing this advance are published online in the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org/content/early/2010/11/19/fj.10-171728.abstract).

In the online research report, researchers from St. Louis describe how they combined photoacoustic tomography (PAT) with gold nanobeacons (GNB) to achieve an unprecedented level of imaging detail. Specifically, the researchers were able to identify the first signs of new blood vessel growth, which is necessary for new tumors to form. Specifically, not only were the newest blood vessels with initial blood flow imaged, but pre-vessel formation of inter-vessel bridges and vessel off-shoot sprouts in which blood flow had yet to begin also were captured. This is the first time that the angiogenic process was imaged in such clear detail without a microscope. The scientists anticipate that the combined use of PAT and GNB will be able to further pinpoint precise molecular disease markers.

According to one of the researchers involved in the work, Dipanjan Pan, Ph.D. from the Consortium for Translational Research in Advanced Imaging and Nanomedicine at the Washington University School of Medicine, "This study further establishes the opportunity provided by molecular imaging and photoacoustic tomography to identify, characterize, and guide the rational management of high-risk patients with life-threatening disease earlier when treatment is the most likely to help and quality of life is best preserved."

To make this advance, the researchers implanted mice with a gel (Matrigel™) that stimulates natural capillary formation, mimicking the same process occurring in an aggressive cancer or unstable atherosclerotic plaque. Then they used GNB to target a prominent molecular indicator of proliferating new vessels. Unlike common ultrasound techniques that send in a sound wave and "listen" for the echo, PAT sends in a light beam that excites and warms certain proteins, such as the hemoglobin in red blood cells. The minutely heated proteins emit a sound wave that is then detected by the ultrasound transducer.

"This type of imaging verges on Star Trek territory," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. "We're now exploring inner space with tools developed for outer space.

Early tumors and latent infections give rise to microscopic changes in blood vessels that no one could pick up until this technique came along. It's the new age of nanomedicine."
-end-
Receive monthly highlights from the FASEB Journal by e-mail. Sign up at http://www.faseb.org/fjupdate.aspx. The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) is published by the Federation of the American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). The journal has been recognized by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential biomedical journals of the past century and is the most cited biology journal worldwide according to the Institute for Scientific Information.

FASEB comprises 23 societies with more than 100,000 members, making it the largest coalition of biomedical research associations in the United States. FASEB enhances the ability of scientists and engineers to improve--through their research--the health, well-being and productivity of all people. FASEB's mission is to advance health and welfare by promoting progress and education in biological and biomedical sciences through service to our member societies and collaborative advocacy.

Details: Dipanjan Pan, Manojit Pramanik, Angana Senpan, John S. Allen, Huiying Zhang, Samuel A. Wickline, Lihong V. Wang, and Gregory M. Lanza
Molecular photoacoustic imaging of angiogenesis with integrin-targeted gold nanobeacons
FASEB J. doi:10.1096/fj.10-171728 ; http://www.fasebj.org/content/early/2010/11/19/fj.10-171728.abstract

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Related Blood Vessels Articles from Brightsurf:

Biofriendly protocells pump up blood vessels
In a new study published today in Nature Chemistry, Professor Stephen Mann and Dr Mei Li from Bristol's School of Chemistry, together with Associate Professor Jianbo Liu and colleagues at Hunan University and Central South University in China, prepared synthetic protocells coated in red blood cell fragments for use as nitric oxide generating bio-bots within blood vessels.

Specific and rapid expansion of blood vessels
Upon a heart infarct or stroke, rapid restoration of blood flow, and oxygen delivery to the hypo perfused regions is of eminent importance to prevent further damage to heart or brain.

Flexible and biodegradable electronic blood vessels
Researchers in China and Switzerland have developed electronic blood vessels that can be actively tuned to address subtle changes in the body after implantation.

Lumpy proteins stiffen blood vessels of the brain
Deposits of a protein called ''Medin'', which manifest in virtually all older adults, reduce the elasticity of blood vessels during aging and hence may be a risk factor for vascular dementia.

Cancer cells take over blood vessels to spread
In laboratory studies, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Johns Hopkins University researchers observed a key step in how cancer cells may spread from a primary tumor to a distant site within the body, a process known as metastasis.

Novel function of platelets in tumor blood vessels found
Scientists at Uppsala University have discovered a hitherto unknown function of blood platelets in cancer.

Blood vessels can make you fat, and yet fit
IBS scientists have reported Angiopoietin-2 (Angpt2) as a key driver that inhibits the accumulation of potbellies by enabling the proper transport of fatty acid into general circulation in blood vessels, thus preventing insulin resistance.

Brothers in arms: The brain and its blood vessels
The brain and its surrounding blood vessels exist in a close relationship.

Feeling the pressure: How blood vessels sense their environment
Researchers from the University of Tsukuba discovered that Thbs1 is a key extracellular mediator of mechanotransduction upon mechanical stress.

Human textiles to repair blood vessels
As the leading cause of mortality worldwide, cardiovascular diseases claim over 17 million lives each year, according to World Health Organization estimates.

Read More: Blood Vessels News and Blood Vessels Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.