Nanodroplets Enhance Focused Ultrasound Ablation


Last August, we profiled external award recipient Paul Dayton, PhD and the nanodroplet research being conducted by his team at the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Paul Dayton PhDThe project is now complete, and several scientific publications document this important work. The group found that the use of nanodroplets could potentially reduce focused ultrasound procedure times as much as five-fold by more safely and quickly ablating a larger region of tissue.

The study’s key findings include:

  • Mixed perfluorocarbon nanodroplets significantly enhance high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) ablation when compared to HIFU alone.
  • Although microbubbles can also enhance HIFU ablation, they resulted in unintended pre-focal thermal delivery and skin burns that were not found with the nanodroplets.
  • An agent with an activation threshold matching the delivered focal acoustic pressure can help contain the thermal delivery enhancement in a spatially selected region of interest.
  • Phase change nanodroplets can potentially make HIFU safer and shorten procedure times by enhancing ablation speed and volume.
  • The nanodroplets formulation developed for this study may already have passed many FDA approval requirements.

BME Logo FINAL v2 smPublished results from this project will appear in four different scientific journals: