Preclinical Ultrasound

UltrasoundThe UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Small Animal Ultrasound Imaging service provides expertise and equipment that enable researchers to quickly, easily, and inexpensively answer technical questions related to in vivo events in small animal rodent models.

Ultrasound imaging:

  • Provides primarily structural information in real time, so allowing non-invasive determination of organ paramaters (such as tumor size) in three dimensions, as well as following events related to cardiac function and blood flow.
  • Use of targeted or non-targeted contrast agents can provide additional information regarding perfusion rates, receptor biodistribution, etc.
  • Use of targeted microbubble disruption allows targeted delivery of drugs or genes to specific organs.

The technical experts provide training for investigators using in vivo models to study cancer biology and therapy response including consultation, training, and support.

Examples of cancer-relevant uses include:

  • Three-dimensional volumetric reconstruction of tumors
  • Application of contrast-enhanced ultrasound to determine tumor vascularity and perfusion rates prior to and after therapeutic intervention
  • Targeted delivery of genes to tumors in mouse or rat models


Ultrasound Imaging Equipment and Services

The laboratory is equipped with:

  • Vevo 770 small animal ultrasound (Visual Sonics), enabling 3D volume rendering (for tumor measurement) and contrast enhanced ultrasound (for receptor-ligand biodistribution profiling or vascularity and perfusion quantitation). Three transducers designed for use in different rat or mouse models.
  • Microbubble disruptor (SoniGene) device allows the focused disruption of microbubbles carrying small molecule or gene-based therapeutics in a living animal.