Ultrasound Target Vessel Occlusion using Microbubbles

Principal Investigator: Joo Ha Hwang

Ultrasonography is a noninvasive medical imaging technique, which utilizes ultrasonic waves in order to visualize soft tissue within the body. Advances in this technology have led to a therapeutic procedure known as high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) capable of both rapidly heating small areas of tissue deep within the body and triggering cavitation induced cell damage using microbubble contrast agents. These effects can be used as minimally invasive, or even noninvasive, alternatives to some surgeries, such as for targeted vessel occlusion in the treatment of such disorders as varicose veins and esophageal and gastric varices. Unfortunately, conventional applications of this technology can only provide partial vascular occlusion.

Professor Hwang at the University of Washington has developed a technique utilizing high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and microbubble contrast agents, in conjunction with fibrinogen, to effect complete vascular occlusion as therapy for certain vascular disorders. This technique is highly targetable, using standard HIFU methodology, and offers a nonsurgical alternative for blocking the flow through blood vessels. The resulting occluding thrombus is sufficiently durable for sustained therapy.

The ability to easily and effectively occlude blood vessels, using high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), presents opportunities for new types of therapy. Many vascular disorders can be relieved with therapeutic vascular occlusion, such as varicose veins and esophageal and gastric varices, and this technology presents the means for a minimally invasive procedure that does just that. It could replace more invasive surgeries, reducing mortality and the cost and time associated with patient care.

For more info, contact: Lisa Norton

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