Researchers are close to commercializing a new type of medical imaging technology that could diagnose cardiovascular disease b measuring ultrasound signals from molecules exposed to a fast-pulsing laser.
Credit: Purdue University Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering image/Ji-Xin Cheng
The system takes precise three-dimensional images of plaques lining arteries and identifies deposits that are likely to rupture and cause heart attacks, said Ji-Xin Cheng (pronounced Jee-Shin), a professor in Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and Department of Chemistry.
The imaging reveals the presence of carbon-hydrogen bonds making up lipid molecules in arterial plaques that cause heart disease. Research findings are detailed in a paper in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.
“This allows us to see the exact nature of plaque formation in the walls of arteries so we can define whether plaque is going to rupture,” said Michael Sturek, co-author of the paper and a professor and chair of the Department of Cellular & Integrative Physiology at Indiana University School of Medicine. “Some plaques are more dangerous than others, but one needs to know the chemical makeup of the blood vessel wall to determine which ones are at risk of rupturing.”
The near-infrared laser causes enough heating to generate ultrasound but not enough to damage the tissues. The research was conducted with intact pig tissue and will expand to research with live animals and then clinical studies with humans.
Source by : Medical News Today