Wash U in St. Louis researchers integrating ultrasound imaging with ultrasound therapy for precision drug delivery
Researchers at the McKelvey School of Engineering and the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis are developing the tools necessary to allow precise delivery of a certain amount of drugs to an exact location, according to a university article.Using focused ultrasound with its contrast agent, microbubbles, to deliver drugs across the blood-brain barrier (FUS-BBBD), the research team, led by Hong Chen, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at McKelvey School of Engineering, and assistant professor of radiation oncology at the School of Medicine, was able to overcome some of the uncertainty of drug delivery, according to the article. Chen is a BMES member.
Their research was published online this week in Scientific Reports.
This method takes advantage of the microbubbles expanding and contracting when they interact with the ultrasound, essentially pumping the intravenously-delivered drug to wherever the ultrasound is pointing, the article states.
To determine where and how much of the drugs were being delivered, the researchers used nanoparticles tagged with radio labels to represent drug particles, then used positron emission tomography (PET) imaging to track their whereabouts and concentrations.
They could then create a detailed image, showing where the nanoparticles were going and in what concentrations.
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