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Molecular imaging using contrast-enhanced ultrasound: evaluation of angiogenesis and cell therapy.

Authors
  • Leong-Poi, Howard
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cardiovascular Research
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2009
Volume
84
Issue
2
Pages
190–200
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/cvr/cvp248
PMID: 19628466
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The field of regenerative medicine and its applications for cardiovascular diseases continues to grow rapidly, fuelled by the increasing numbers of symptomatic patients who are not candidates for conventional revascularization procedures and remain refractory to maximal medical therapy. Therapeutic angiogenesis, initially in the form of the administration of growth factor protein or gene therapy and, more recently, in the form of adult progenitor cell therapy, has emerged as a promising new method of treatment for patients with ischaemic heart disease and peripheral arterial disease. There is a growing interest in non-invasive imaging techniques to evaluate the response to angiogenic gene-and cell-based therapies. Contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEU) techniques using site-specific microbubbles have recently been developed for the molecular imaging of the vascular phenotype that characterizes angiogenesis. These methods have now been modified to allow the imaging of progenitor cell engraftment into neovessels. These molecular imaging techniques using contrast ultrasound and targeted microbubbles have the potential to further characterize the angiogenic response, aid in the optimization of gene- and cell-based strategies of therapeutic neovascularization, and ultimately serve to monitor the therapeutic effects in patients enrolled in clinical trials of regenerative therapies. This review will focus specifically on CEU molecular imaging techniques for the evaluation of angiogenesis and cell therapies in cardiovascular diseases, including: (i) an overview of the techniques and results of pre-clinical studies; (ii) a comparison of CEU molecular imaging techniques with other available molecular imaging modalities; and (iii) a discussion of the future role of CEU molecular imaging in the field of regenerative medicine.

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