Deep Tissue Photoacoustic Imaging with Degradable Inorganic Nanoparticles
A lack of effective treatments for preeclampsia persists due, in part, to the inability to detect the abnormal placental vascular development and remodeling that is a driver of the disease. Insufficient placental development is an important factor in the initiation and progression of the hypertension and proteinuria that characterizes preeclampsia. While ultrasound imaging and Doppler ultrasound indicate placental size and blood flow through the larger maternal vessels supplying the placenta, they do not correlate well with the progression of preeclampsia. While preclinical results, obtained at 1-2 cm depth, are promising, strategies are needed for translation to the deeper tissue depths (5-6 cm) necessary for human clinical imaging. Therefore, there is a critical need for strategies to increase photoacoustic imaging to clinically-relevant imaging depths.
This project’s long-term goal is to develop clinically-translatable imaging tools to assess vascular growth and remodeling. The overall objective of this proposal is to demonstrate biocompatible inorganic nanoparticles (BIONPs) as photoacoustic imaging contrast agents detectable at clinically-relevant imaging depths. The team hypothesizes that these nanoparticles will be detectable as photoacoustic contrast agents at 5-6 cm depth, increasing both imaging sensitivity and accuracy. This project’s rationale is that the development of strategies to image deep vasculature provides a key technology necessary to improve imaging of placental vasculature remodeling and growth, providing a tool for clinical translation for bedside detection of abnormal placental development.