• Phase-Change Contrast Agents for Targeting and Delivery

      Matsunaga, Terry O.; Hadinger, Kyle; Trouard, Theodore; Vagner, Josef; Witte, Russell (The University of Arizona., 2016)
      Phase-change contrast agents (PCCAs) are an innovative form of imaging agent with practical applications in both the research and clinical settings. PCCAs are derived from gaseous microbubbles, which are able to act as targeted-contrast agents through conjugation of a ligand that is selective for an overexpressed receptor or biomarker in a given disease. Gaseous microbubbles can be condensed to liquid phase nanodroplets, which should be sufficiently small to extravasate into cells and/or tissues given their size and stability. Once liquid nanodroplets have internalized within a given tissue, they can be "activated" back into gaseous microbubbles with ultrasound at clinically used frequencies and energy outputs. This is purposeful as microbubbles provide much greater ultrasound reflectivity than nanodroplets. In this study, PCCAs and/or microbubbles act as a targeting agent in multiple scenarios. The projects in this study include- examination of binding and internalization of targeted PCCAs with different gaseous cores within MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, vaporization of liquid phase nanodroplets through application of acoustic energy via focused ultrasound (FUS), and targeting vulnerable plaque in the heart with different types of targeted microbubbles under varying shear-stresses.