A new technique for eliminating particularly tough blood clots uses engineered nanodroplets and an ultrasound “drill” to break up the clots from the inside out. “We introduce nanodroplets to the site of the clot, and because the nanodroplets are so small, they are able to penetrate and convert to microbubbles within the clots when they are exposed to ultrasound,” says Leela Goel, BME PhD graduate and first author of the research paper.
After the microbubbles form within the clots, the continued exposure of the clots to ultrasound oscillates the microbubbles. The rapid vibration of the microbubbles creates holes in the clot mass that allow blood borne anti-clotting drugs to penetrate deep into the clot and further break it down. This is made possible by the ultrasound drill – which is an ultrasound transducer that is small enough to be introduced to the blood vessel via a catheter. The drill incorporates a tube that allows users to inject nanodroplets at the site of the clot.
“The use of ultrasound to disrupt blood clots has been studied for years, including several substantial studies in patients in Europe, with limited success,” says co-author Paul Dayton, BME Interim Chair and William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor. “However, the addition of the low-boiling point nanodroplets, combined with the ultrasound drill has demonstrated a substantial advance in this technology.” The paper, “Nanodroplet-Mediated Catheter-Directed Sonothrombolysis of Retracted Blood Clots,” is published open access in the journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering. A startup called SonoVascular, Inc. has licensed the ultrasound “drill” technology from NC State. The low-boiling point nanodroplets, co-invented by Dayton, have also been issued a U.S. patent and licensed by spinout company Triangle Biotechnology, Inc., co-founded by Dayton. For the full article, visit NC State News website here.