Photoacoustic Imaging for Early Detection of Cardiovascular Plaque

Life Sciences : Medical Devices

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Stanislav Emelianov, Ph.D. , Biomedical Engineering
  • Andrei Karpiouk, Ph.D. , Biomedical Engineering
  • Shriram Sethuraman, Ph.D. , Biomedical Engineering
  • Richard Smalling, M.D. , University of Texas Medical School at Houston
  • Bo Wang, M.S. , Biomedical Engineering
  • Salavat Aglyamov, Ph.D. , Biomedical Engineering

Background/unmet need

Almost 81 million individuals in the United States suffer from a form of cardiovascular disease that cost over $400 billion yearly in the United States alone. Coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in America. Market priorities are to obtain accurate representations of the cardiovascular and circulatory systems to facilitate earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Earlier detection and better diagnosis is key to decreasing the number of deaths and also to saving our nation billions of healthcare treatment dollars each year, from a disease which produces lasting damage to the heart muscle and other parts of the vascular system. Imaging of vessels is critical to determine the status of arterial health and the timing for intervention to achieve effective therapy.

Existing catheter-based intravascular ultrasound imaging plays a major role in cardiovascular plaque detection and diagnosis. Intravascular ultrasound imaging provides high-resolution, real-time visualization of plaques in the arterial wall and is used to assess vessel narrowing. However, recent study shows that the composition of the plaques, rather than the severity of vessel occlusion, determine the vulnerability of plaques. Inventors from UT Austin have recognized that imaging technology that can provide functional information about the cardiovascular plaques is in demand.

Invention Description

University of Texas at Austin researchers have achieved dramatic improvements in cardiovascular plaque composition visualization through the integration of photoacoustic techniques into intravascular ultrasound catheter devices. This novel invention allows for quicker, more sensitive analyses of blood vessels using a single, integrated catheter. Contrast in different plaque constituents is achieved, while acoustic techniques gather plaque structural information, empowering physicians to determine the nature and status of plaque vulnerability. One of the key advantages of this approach is it offers the option to perform arterial visualization in the presence of intraluminal blood, greatly facilitating its operational potential.

The inventors portfolio of technologies allows a broad range of imaging needs to be executed by a single device, ranging from survey of all potential affected vessels to high-resolution imaging and compositional analysis of particular, high-risk plaques.

Interested parties will benefit by the UT Austin inventors’ funding by the American Heart Association Grant plus National Institute of Health funding. Additionally, the inventors are collecting pre-clinical data through UT Medical School at Houston. An industry partner will also benefit from current funding for a research group of 18 doctoral and post-docs.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Provides compositional information of the cardiovascular plaques
  • Utilizes a non-ionizing imaging modality
  • Provides real time combined photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging
  • Integrates well with current commercially available medical equipment

Market potential/applications

This novel method and device combination fits into the medical imaging segment of a market driven by dollars spent on heart disease and the emphasis placed on earlier detection of cardiovascular disease.

Inventors from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Texas Medical School Houston have received an American Heart Association Grant, Center for Biomedical Engineering Seed Grant, plus National Institute of Health funding and possess over 20 years of research in the cardiovascular arena.

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype