Bachelor of Science, Unlisted University (2002)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of British Columbia (2011)
Juergen Willmann, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Ultrasound mediated drug delivery using microbubbles is a safe and noninvasive approach for spatially localized drug administration. This approach can create temporary and reversible openings on cellular membranes and vessel walls (a process called "sonoporation"), allowing for enhanced transport of therapeutic agents across these natural barriers. It is generally believed that the sonoporation process is highly associated with the energetic cavitation activities (volumetric expansion, contraction, fragmentation, and collapse) of the microbubble. However, a thorough understanding of the process was unavailable until recently. Important progress on the mechanistic understanding of sonoporation and the corresponding physiological responses in vitro and in vivo has been made. Specifically, recent research shed light on the cavitation process of microbubbles and fluid motion during insonation of ultrasound, on the spatio-temporal interactions between microbubbles and cells or vessel walls, as well as on the temporal course of the subsequent biological effects. These findings have significant clinical implications on the development of optimal treatment strategies for effective drug delivery. In this article, current progress in the mechanistic understanding of ultrasound and microbubble mediated drug delivery and its implications for clinical translation is discussed.
View details for PubMedID 24372231
Early detection of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) allows for surgical resection and increases patient survival times. Imaging agents that bind and amplify the signal of neovascular proteins in neoplasms can be detected by ultrasound, enabling accurate detection of small lesions. We searched for new markers of neovasculature in PDAC and assessed their potential for tumor detection by ultrasound molecular imaging.Thymocyte Differentiation Antigen 1 (Thy1) was identified as a specific biomarker of PDAC neovasculature by proteomic analysis. Upregulation in PDAC was validated by immunohistochemical analysis of pancreatic tissue samples from 28 healthy individuals, 15 with primary chronic pancreatitis tissues, and 196 with PDAC. Binding of Thy1-targeted contrast microbubbles was assessed in cultured cells, in mice with orthotopic PDAC xenograft tumors expressing human Thy1 on the neovasculature, and on the neovasculature of a genetic mouse model of PDAC.Based on immunohistochemical analyses, levels of Thy1 were significantly higher in the vascular of human PDAC than chronic pancreatitis (P=.007) or normal tissue samples (P<.0001). In mice, ultrasound imaging accurately detected human Thy1-positive PDAC xenografts, as well as PDACs that express endogenous Thy1 in genetic mouse models of PDAC.We have identified and validated Thy1 as a marker of PDAC that can be detected by ultrasound molecular imaging in mice. The development of a specific imaging agent and identification of Thy1 as a new biomarker could aid in the diagnosis of this cancer and management of patients.
View details for DOI 10.1053/j.gastro.2013.06.011
View details for PubMedID 23791701
Purpose: To develop and test a molecular imaging approach that uses ultrasonography (US) and a clinically translatable dual-targeted (P- and E-selectin) contrast agent (MBSelectin) in the quantification of inflammation at the molecular level and to quantitatively correlate selectin-targeted US with fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) combined positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) in terms of visualization and quantification of different levels of inflammation in a murine acute colitis model. Materials and Methods: Animal studies were approved by the Institutional Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care at Stanford University. MBSelectin was developed by covalently binding an analog of the naturally occurring binding ligand P-selectin glycoprotein ligand 1 fused to a human fragment crystallizable(or Fc) domain onto the lipid shell of perfluorobutane and nitrogen-containing MBs. Binding specificity of MBSelectin was assessed in vitro with a flow chamber assay and in vivo with a chemically induced acute colitis murine model. US signal was quantitatively correlated with FDG uptake at PET/CT and histologic grade. Statistical analysis was performed with the Student t test, analysis of variance, and Pearson correlation analysis. Results: MBSelectin showed strong attachment to both human and mouse P- and E-selectin compared with MBControl in vitro (P ? .002). In vivo, US signal was significantly increased (P < .001) in mice with acute colitis (173.8 arbitrary units [au] ± 134.8 [standard deviation]) compared with control mice (5.0 au ± 4.5). US imaging signal strongly correlated with FDG uptake on PET/CT images (? = 0.89, P < .001). Ex vivo analysis enabled confirmation of inflammation in mice with acute colitis and high expression levels of P- and E-selectin in mucosal capillaries (P = .014). Conclusion: US with MBSelectin specifically enables detection and quantification of inflammation in a murine acute colitis model, leveraging the natural pathway of leukocyte recruitment in inflammatory tissue. US imaging with MBSelectin correlates well with FDG uptake at PET/CT imaging. © RSNA, 2013 Supplemental material: http://radiology.rsna.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1148/radiol.13122509/-/DC1.
View details for DOI 10.1148/radiol.13122509
View details for PubMedID 23371306