OHSU

Breakthroughs

Myocardial Short Axis

Myocardial short axis images obtained in vivo demonstrating signal enhancement from the inflammatory response following ischemia-reperfusion injury of the left circumflex artery.

 

Detecting Atherosclerosis

One of our recent studies has demonstrated for the first time that molecular imaging with contrast-enhanced ultrasound and targeted microbubbles is effective in detecting at a very early stage inflammatory processes that lead to atherosclerosis.

If the technique, which was tested on animal models in the study, proves viable in humans, it could pave the way for therapies that could prevent the condition from progressing and bringing on coronary heart disease and stroke, two of the nation's most lethal diseases. Such therapies could be applied at the onset of inflammation years before present screening methods would detect evidence of the stealthily progressive disease.

The researchers, led by Jonathan R. Lindner, M.D., professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division of the OHSU School of Medicine, learned in the study that a vascular adhesion molecule known as VCAM-1, which shows up on the walls of blood vessels at the onset of inflammation and plays an important role in the early development of atherosclerotic plaque, could be successfully highlighted in ultrasound images by injecting lipid microbubbles into the blood which are tipped with antibodies that cause the bubbles to "stick" to the VCAM-1 molecules.