Theranostic Ultrasound Lab

The Theranostic Ultrasound Laboratory at the University of Louisville performs cutting-edge bioengineering research focused on image-guided, ultrasound-targeted delivery of molecular therapeutics for treatment of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Located within the Institute of Molecular Cardiology at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, the Theranostic Ultrasound Laboratory houses a fully-programmable ultrasound system for imaging and therapy with clinical probes. In addition, the laboratory also contains resources for custom synthesis of ultrasound imaging contrast and therapeutic delivery agents such as microbubbles and perfluorocarbon nanodroplet emulsions. The overall goal of the Theranostic Ultrasound Laboratory is to develop engineering solutions to solve biomedical problems in therapeutic delivery.

Illustration of Ultrasound-Targeted Therapeutic Delivery

Ultrasound and microbubbles can overcome barriers to delivery of therapeutic nucleic acids.

(1) Microbubbles protect nucleic acids against nuclease degradation in circulation.

(2) Ultrasound and microbubbles transiently increase vascular permeability at the target site.

(3) Ultrasound and microbubbles form transient pores in cell membranes allowing direct delivery of therapeutics to the cytoplasm, bypassing the need for endocytosis and release from intracellular vesicles (4).