23 December 2012
Recent efforts using perfluorocarbon (PFC) nanoparticles in conjunction with acoustic droplet vaporization has introduced the possibility of expanding the diagnostic and therapeutic capability of ultrasound contrast agents to beyond the vascular space. Our laboratories have developed phase-change nanoparticles (PCNs) from the highly volatile PFCs decafluorobutane (DFB, bp =-2 °C) and octafluoropropane (OFP, bp =-37 °C ) for acoustic droplet vaporization. Studies with commonly used clinical ultrasound scanners have demonstrated the ability to vaporize PCN emulsions with frequencies and mechanical indices that may significantly decrease tissue bioeffects. In addition, these contrast agents can be formulated to be stable at physiological temperatures and the perfluorocarbons can be mixed to modulate the balance between sensitivity to ultrasound and general stability. We herein discuss our recent efforts to develop finely-tuned diagnostic/molecular imaging agents for tissue interrogation. We discuss studies currently under investigation as well as potential diagnostic and therapeutic paradigms that may emerge as a result of formulating PCNs with low boiling point PFCs.