- A collaborative team developed a system for imaging, analyzing, and quantifying microbubble distribution in the brain.
- Microbubbles and ultrasound can enhance imaging or elicit mechanical bioeffects, but their distribution throughout types of brain tissue is not well understood.
- A retrospective analysis revealed quantitative differences in microbubble distribution in various brain structures, regions, and tumors.
A collaborative research team organized and led by Foundation Fellow, Francesco Prada, MD, at the University of Virginia (UVA) has developed an ultrasound-based system for imaging, analyzing, and quantifying microbubble distribution in the human brain. Although microbubbles are used with ultrasound to provide imaging or mechanical bioeffects, their distribution throughout various types of brain tissue, including primary brain tumors, is not completely understood. Seeking to solve this problem so that intra-operative Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound Imaging (CEUS) guidance can be used for microbubble-based focused ultrasound treatments, the scientists built and tested a new platform for real-time microbubble distribution imaging and analysis. A retrospective analysis of 19 ultrasound image sets of adequate length revealed clear quantitative differences in microbubble distribution, and the group was able to use the data to discern various brain structures, regional differences, and different types of brain tumors. Which had the highest levels of microbubbles – arteries, tumor tissue, or white matter regions?
How Did They Do It?
For more technical information on CEUS in the brain, Dr. Prada gathered an international group of experts to write the following position paper:
How to Perform Intra-Operative Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound of the Brain—A WFUMB Position Paper
Although CEUS is not a form of focused ultrasound, it is a type of imaging that can be used to guide focused ultrasound brain treatments in the future (along with MRI, which is the current standard, and neuronavigation, which is also used in some systems).