Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from existing vessels, is an aggressively studied process, especially in cancer research. One of the most commonly referred to angiogenic pathways involves vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptors. Numerous potential therapeutics or experimental procedures are being tested for their ability to alter the angiogenic pathways crucial to the growth of tumors. There are various types of tumor models that are of interest, including transgenic, orthotopic, and subcutaneous, all of which are well suited for imaging using ultrasound.
Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive, real-time imaging technique that allows for longitudinal studies on the same animal. Imaging sessions provide anatomical and functional data and, with the use of contrast agents, molecular data as well.
VisualSonics’ Vevo® 2100 High Resolution Ultrasound Imaging System provides axial resolution down to 30 µm. This type of resolution allows for the detection of tumorigenesis well before the lesion is palpable. MicroMarker™ contrast agents can be used to assess vascularity and molecular expression of specific targets in vessels down to the capillary level.
Ultrasound imaging is noninvasive, therefore, the same tumor can be studied over the course of an experiment, leading to stronger data and requiring fewer animals to get significant results.