In vivo imaging

Photoacoustic imaging
Miroslav Vecheta

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Photoacoustic imaging

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Photoacoustics is a powerful emerging biomedical imaging modality and add-on to the high-frequency Vevo ultrasound technology. It works in combination with ultrasound – in real-time and non-invasively – to go beyond basic imaging, enhancing the level of information researchers can obtain from a B-Mode provides structural information while PD-Mode maps the spatial distribution of blood flow.

During photoacoustic imaging, optical contrast from tissues is detected with ultrasound to provide deeper information about the oxygen saturation and hemoglobin concentration, or hypoxic state of the tumor microenvironment to measure hypoxia and angiogenesis in cancer imaging; vascular networks; obstetrics, including fetal and maternal physiology or stroke/ischemia and functional brain imaging studies.

All tissue can be imaged in real time and in vivo down to 2 cm in depth with a resolution down to 45 μm.

In addition, the optical imaging capabilities of photoacoutics can be used for contrast applications with dyes as well as molecular imaging applications with nanoparticles. Both ultrasound and optical photoacoustic signals are co-registered, allowing users to track the location of multiple molecular signals detected with dyes or nanoparticles back to the animal’s anatomy.

How does it work?

The Vevo LAZR photoacoustic imaging platform uses an innovative ultrasound transducer that has been fused with a laser beam to deliver non-ionizing laser pulses into tissues. The delivered energy is absorbed by tissues and converted into heat, causing a “thermoelastic expansion”. This expansion generates ultrasound waves that are returned to and detected by the transducer to produce images of optical absorption contrast within tissues.

Optical signals, which are co-registered on an ultrasound image for anatomical localization, are generated either from endogenous molecules, such as hemoglobin, or exogenous contrast agents, such as dyes or nanoparticles. The Vevo LAZR is also able to simultaneously display multiple contrast agents representing different targets, all in one imaging plane.

Why photoacoustics on the Vevo LAZR for small animal research? 

Next generation molecular imaging research has generated publications on photoacoustic imaging to better understand complex disease mechanisms. Non- invasive photoacoustic imaging on the Vevo LAZR has benefitted research in the following ways: i) Real- time co-registration of molecular events to anatomy; ii) Rapid detection and volume quantitation of microtargets in minutes; iii) Multi-target detection and quantitation from one live scan; iv) Real- time visualization of microtargets within the abdominal and pelvic cavity.

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