Symposium SB10: Micro- and Nanoengineering of Biomaterials—From Precision Medicine to Precision Agriculture and Enhanced Food Security
Joyce Wong, Boston University
Molecularly Targeted Polymerized Shell Microbubbles to Treat Abdominal Surgical Adhesions
Written by Jessalyn Low
Abdominal adhesions are common occurrences following abdominal surgeries, attributed to a disruption of the healing process. Current techniques of monitoring adhesions are, however, invasive and ironically cause more adhesions. To tackle the unmet need of non-invasive early diagnosis and monitoring of abdominal adhesions post-surgery, Wong has designed novel targeted polymerized-shell microbubbles (PSMs) as ultrasound contrast agents. These PSMs are designed with cross-linked lipid shells and targeting moieties that target fibrin, an early adhesion target. One key consideration in the design of the PSMs is the need to ensure stability against gas dissolution, while ensuring that their acoustic response and ability to oscillate is not compromised, as commercial microbubbles are generally not designed with the intention of long-term use. Wong demonstrates that these can be optimized by controlling the crosslink density of the microbubbles. Results show that the various PSM formulations exhibit consistent radii and stability over 48 hours, which is the important time frame for monitoring early adhesions. Importantly, these PSMs are not cytotoxic to mesothelial cells and when conjugated to CREKA (Cys-Arg-Glu-Lys-Ala), the PSMs could bind to fibrin. These results demonstrate great potential to advance clinical trials of adhesion prevention and treatment.