A contrast agent is any substance able to enhance the information contained in an image derived from a medical diagnostic instrumentation concerning the traditional or digital radiology entailing the magnetic resonance, nuclear medicine, and last but not least ultrasound. The contrast agents can be administered orally or injected in the systemic circulation. Ultrasound contrast agents (UCAs) consist in dispersions of microbubbles containing air or other gases that can reflect efficiently ultrasound waves during an echo-tomographic investigation.
S.I.G.H.T., "Systems for in-situ theranostics using micro-particles triggered by ultrasound", is a project focused on the design of multifunctional UCAs as supporting devices for theranostics, i.e. for both diagnostic and therapeutic treatments, delivering drug to the right place in the body, in pathologies as thrombosis, tissue repearing and cancer therapies. The research activities of the project will concern the formulation of the devices (microballoons and microcapsules), their ultrasound and mechanical properties, tagging of the device outer surface with specific molecules for a target tissue or organ, bioadhesion and biocompatibility tests, drug release properties of the devices upon insonification of coronary artery smooth muscle, endothelial cells, clots (sonothrombolysis), hepatocellular carcinoma and colon cancer cells. Image processing and reconstruction derived from the ultrasound devices will be carried out with the design of ad hoc hardware and software.
Exploitation of microballoons and microcapsules in ex situ applications will be also tackled by formulating self - assembled microarrays for high throughput analysis. A dissemination and exploitation activity will be carried out with the final release of a prototype acting on a mimicking phantom of an organ and with the supporting know-how for "next step" actions as validation plan and pre-competitive industrialization.
Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
171 77 Solna Stockholm
100 44 Stockholm