Ultrasound Molecular Imaging of Cancer: Design and Formulation Strategies of Targeted Contrast Agents

  • Alexander L. KlibanovEmail author
Part of the Recent Results in Cancer Research book series (RECENTCANCER, volume 216)


Gas-filled particles (microbubbles) can be prepared and stabilized for intravascular use as contrast agents in ultrasound imaging. Microbubbles are used in clinics as blood pool contrast materials for the past two decades. Shell of these bubbles is made of biocompatible and biodegradable lipids, proteins, and/or polymers. Gas core is air, or, lately, a perfluorinated gas, poorly soluble in water and blood. Making them useful for molecular targeting and molecular imaging in oncology is accomplished by decorating the shell of these particles with targeting ligands, that will selectively bind to the specific markers of tumor vasculature. In this review we discuss the formulation strategy for microbubble preparation, the logic of bubble shell selection, coupling tools that are used for the attachment of targeting ligands, and examples of the application of gas-filled bubbles for molecular imaging in oncology.



A.L. Klibanov is supported in part via NIH R01 EB023055, awarded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health. The content of this publication is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiovascular Division (Department of Medicine), Robert M Berne Cardiovascular Research CenterUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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