Theranostic Ultrasound Lab

The Theranostic Ultrasound Laboratory at the University of Louisville performs cutting-edge bioengineering research focused on developing novel image-guided, ultrasound-targeted delivery technologies for multiple applications including 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. The overall goal of the Theranostic Ultrasound Laboratory is to develop engineering solutions that address significant biomedical problems in therapeutic delivery and cell processing. The lab has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the American Heart Association.

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).