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Multimodality Contrast Agents For Molecular Imaging

Submitted by Elizabeth Huynh, Dr. Zheng Lab, University of Toronto

Converting nanoparticles or monomeric compounds into larger supramolecular structures by endogenous or external stimuli is increasingly popular because these materials are useful for imaging and treating diseases. However, conversion of microstructures to nanostructures is less common.

Here, Elizabeth shows the conversion of porphyrin microbubbles to nanoparticles using low-frequency ultrasound and their potential application in tumor imaging and therapy. The initial idea for a porphyrin microbubble was conceived through an international collaboration requiring a trimodal contrast agent for ultrasound, photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging. The contrast agent needed to have a micrometre-size gas core for ultrasound imaging and additional optical properties for photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging. The porphyrin–phospholipid building block developed in the Zheng lab met all the requirements for this type of multimodal contrast agent and it was used to synthesize porphyrin-based microbubbles.

Elizabeth goes on to explain the genesis of this idea in her article in the March issue of Nature Nanotechnology. Read about Elizabeth's Journey here.

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