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Photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging for theranostic purposes


Photoacoustic imaging, along with conventional ultrasound, is a hybrid medical imaging modality with unique characteristics. It allows obtaining both physiological events and the molecular composition of tissues together with anatomical information. During the Young Researcher Award (2013/18854-6), a research laboratory dedicated to the development of photoacoustic imaging technologies was established, where several studies have already been conducted. Spectroscopic photoacoustic images to quantify dyes, nanoparticles, and endogenous chromophores, as well as thermal images to monitor hyperthermia procedures are a couple of examples. Magnetic hyperthermia has been proposed as a promising cancer treatment modality. However, challenges such as localizing the magnetic nanoparticles within tissues and monitoring the temperature during the treatment hinder this technique to be effectively translated into a clinical routine. In this research project, platforms combining ultrasonic techniques with optics (photoacoustic imaging) and magnetism (magnetomotive ultrasound) in theranostic systems will be developed, with the objective of increasing the sensitivity to map the spatial distribution of magnetic nanoparticles and temperature during the magnetic hyperthermia procedure. The combination of these techniques will allow the assessment of other parameters such as oxygen saturation and viscoelasticity during the hyperthermia procedure. These hybrid methods will be evaluated with tissue-mimicking phantoms and with subcutaneous tumors in mice. (AU)

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