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UCLA Inventors Create Platform Technology to Create Customizable Materials for Imaging and Detection

UCLA researchers in the Departments of Chemistry, Physics, and Bioengineering, led by Dr. Tim Deming of the Bioengineering department, have developed a platform to create and modify nanoscale vesicles and hydrogels for use in imaging and detection.The poly-peptide based platforms created by the Deming group are customizable in nearly all physical characteristics, can be tailored in size, be loaded with hydrophobic and hydrophilic payloads, adaptable to specific delivery locations, low toxicity, are fully synthetic, possess highly reproducible properties, and are inexpensive to prepare compared to solid-phase peptide synthesis.The platform can be used to create novel, need-based nanoscale vesicles or injectable hydrogels, and can also be used to augment existing nanoparticles.

Measurement Of Blood Flow Dynamics With X-Ray Computed Tomography: Dynamic Ct Angiography

This invention identifies a method to accurately measure flow dynamics, such as velocity and volume, from Computed Tomography scans of blood vessels in a patient.

Beta-Amyloid Plaque Imaging Agents

Current imaging agents for labelling β-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFT), which are indicators for Alzheimer’s disease, suffer from drawbacks such as (but not limited to) non-specific binding, low target to non-target ratio, instability, and inefficient labelling. Researchers at UC Irvine have developed an imaging agent and its derivatives for labelling β-amyloid plaques and NFTs that overcome these problems and also provide therapeutic properties in vivo for the neural tissues. The labelling agent also binds to norepinephrine transporters (NET) and are taken up into the cells via the NET, therefore serving as suitable agents for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes involving disorders or conditions associated with NET.

Design and Synthesis of Fluoroalkylpyridyl Ethers as Potential Pet Radioligands for A4B2 Nicotinic Acetylcholine / Labeled A4B2 Ligands and Methods Therefor

Researchers have developed compounds to bind to α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors to evoke antagonistic effects both in vitro and in vivo environments.

Dynamic Contrast Optical Coherence Tomography (DyC-OCT): An improved method to quantify blood flow dynamics in deep tissue and microvasculature

Dynamic Contrast Optical Coherence Tomography (DyC-OCT) is a non-invasive technique that obtains high resolution images of blood flow dynamics in deep tissue. It involves real time imaging of the passage of a contrast agent through the vascular and capillary networks. Data analysis can then reveal detailed information on the temporal and spatial dynamics of blood flow.

Methods of Monitoring and Manipulating the Fate of Transplanted Cells

Tumor initiation and progression into metastasis are accompanied by complex structural changes in the extracellular matrix and cellular architecture that alters the stiffness in the microenvironment of the cell.

An integrated intraoperative diagnosis and therapy catheter system

In traditional cardiology and oncology, disease diagnosis and treatment are traditionally separate procedures resulting in increased costs and delayed treatment, which, in some cases, may increase morbidity. Therefore, a system that can diagnose and treat diseases simultaneously would greatly decrease costs and provide timely treatment, which may prevent death from the disease. Researchers in the Department of Engineering at UC Irvine, in collaboration with researchers at Shanghai Jio Tong University in China have invented a multimodal system for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and cardiac disease. Summary of development The present invention describes an intraoperative imaging and therapy catheter system for the accurate diagnosis and treatment of cancer and cardiac disease. This multimodal medical device combines imaging, cryosurgery, and thermal therapy thereby permitting accurate diagnosis and treatment of vulnerable plaques in blood vessels and various types of cancers. In addition, by adding low cost imaging modalities such as optical coherence tomography (OCT), ultrasound imaging, photoacoustic (PA) imaging, fluorescence imaging and thermal imaging, cryosurgery can be performed with much higher accuracy. Importantly, addition of these imaging systems enables accurate identification of lesion sites, precise depth of cryosurgery/heating probe placement, and the capability to monitor the extent of the freezing/heating process. Furthermore, the invention may include intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) facilitating visualization of cross-sectional images of the vessel wall, entire large lipid pools, and large tumor regions. These parameters are valuable for the guidance of cryoplasty regarding the treatment time, temperature and location.

Compressive Plenoptic Imaging

Functional brain imaging is capable of detecting action potentials between neurons within the brain, and is used to better understand brain architecture and the behavior of neural networks. An ideal imaging method would be capable of quantifying many neurons simultaneously, have high spatial and temporal resolution, be non-invasive, and be accurate even in deep layers of brain tissue. There are a variety of current techniques available, many of which use mechanical scanning to reduce the effects of optical scattering and therefore have low temporal resolution.   UC Berkeley researchers have developed a device capable of quantitative functional neuroimaging in the thick brain tissue of live animals. By combining a detection method with algorithmic data processing, this device achieves single neuron resolution and fast sampling rates with high spatial and temporal resolution.  

Long Wavelength Voltage Sensitive Dyes

Rapid changes in the membrane potential of neurons and cardiomyocytes are used to define cellular signaling and cell physiological profiles. The classical means to monitor membrane potentials is patch clamp electrophysiology, a low-throughput and highly invasive technique. One current alternative is to use Ca2+ imaging, as the agents are robust and sensitive, come in a variety of colors, and can be used in a wide range of biological contexts. Ca2+ imaging, however, allows only an imperfect approximation of membrane potential changes, and fast-spiking neuronal events are difficult to detect.   Fluorescent voltage sensors can achieve fast, sensitive, and non-disruptive direct readouts of membrane potentials. UC Berkeley researchers have designed and synthesized a new fluorophore called ‘Berkeley Red’ that can be used in the context of voltage-sensing scaffolds to generate fluorescent voltage sensors.  

Methods And Utilizations For Tissue Staining And Digital Microscopy

The current state of the art in digital pathology is whole-slide imaging, in which tissues are fixed in formalin, processed and paraffin-embedded, cut, stained with standard reagents for tissue histochemistry, and placed on glass slides.  The glass slides are then scanned to create a digital image of the tissue.  Although this represents the current state-of-the-art, it is a very expensive, and time, and space-consuming process. 

Double Tuned Phase Array Coils for Simultaneous Proton and Heteronuclear MRI

UCSF researchers have developed a new double-tuned radiofrequency (RF) coil for simultaneous proton and heteronuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This novel coil design allows for independent frequency adjustments of the two magnetic resonance modes.

Raman Macro Imaging System for Fast Biocompatible Tissue Characterization

UCLA researchers in the Department of Electrical Engineering have developed a novel optical imaging system to detect early stages of abnormal bone formation in flesh.

A Simple, Area-Efficient Ripple-Rejection Technique for Chopped Bio-Signal Amplifiers

The Markovic group at UCLA has designed a chopping amplification technique with passive ripple-rejection that improves on the state-of-the-art in monitoring electrophysiological signals.

Automated Comparison of 3D Images

UCLA researchers in the Department of Radiology have developed an accurate and automatic segmentation algorithm for contouring cerebral blood vessels.

Real-Time Acoustic Measurement and Feedback for Surgical Implants

UCLA researchers have recently developed a method of measuring the proper fit and placement of medical implants based on the acoustic reverberations from hammering the implant into place.

Image Filtering Algorithm for Enhanced Noise Removal and Feature Preservation

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry have developed a novel image filtering algorithm that removes image noise while preserving image features with unprecedented fidelity.   

Advanced Tagging Method for Real-Time MRI of Heart Function

UCLA researchers in the Department of Radiology have developed an advanced MRI technique that significantly reduces image acquisition times during dynamic cardiac imaging, thereby enabling real-time strain imaging of heart tissue during exercise-induced stress. 

Precise Neural Circuit Probe with Reversible Functionality

A neural circuit probe microscope attachment that uses atomic force microscope technology to apply tiny, precisely controlled forces to axons or axon bundles to interfere reversibly with neural transmission on a multielectrode array.

Integrated Ultrasound And Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) Endoscope For Image Guided Cancer Biopsy

Gastrointestinal cancers are very difficult to diagnosis due to poor biopsy and diagnosis techniques. The invention is a device that is minimally invasive and improves biopsy technique by enabling the physician to visualize a tissue in real time prior to its biopsy. This allows for improved biopsy collection and thereby increases the diagnosis accuracy.

4D Volumetric Echo Particle Image Velocimetry Reconstruction of Cardiac Flows

Echo Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) is a non-invasive ultrasonic technique used to image blood flow in patients. Currently, 2D blood flow information obtained by echocardiography is widely used to diagnose cardiac dysfunction. While this 2D echocardiography method is useful, it does not provide sufficient accuracy for characterizing complex 3D and volumetric flows in the heart. For example, it is difficult to accurately image flow patterns in the right heart or hearts of patients with congenital defects or quantify mitral regurgitation. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a new method that acquires blood flow in three spatial dimensions and in real-time. This method uses blood natural speckles without the need for IV contrast. This method may be used to image and assess blood flows from the heart chambers in real-time therefore allowing volumetric 4D imaging of blood flows in the heart.

Nanoscale Imaging

Cathodoluminescence (CL) is used for nanoscale imaging by detecting the light generated in the sample by the application of an electron beam. Direct CL has also been used to image biological samples, but typically causes damage to the sample and can result in poor imaging quality.  Methods which incorporate inorganic cathodoluminescent nanoparticle labels into a biological sample result in less sample damage, but imaging with nanoparticle labels requires the electron beam to penetrate into the sample, which precludes repeated measurements or observations of dynamics. A UC Berkeley researcher has developed an optical imaging system and method for producing nanoscale images with high resolution, images of fragile samples without damaging the samples and that can be used for repeated imaging of a sample which allows observation of sample dynamics.  

Method To Predict Three-Dimensional Radiotherapy Dose Distribution

A painting is not the amount of blue, yellow, and red paint on a canvas; it is their arrangement that makes it art.The advent of knowledge-based planning (KBP) represents a critical step forward in clinical radiotherapy, comfortably mentioned in the company of the other major advances  in  treatment planning (2D àà 3D-conformal àà IMRT/RapidArc àà KBP). While incredibly powerful, current knowledge-based methods result in dose-volume histogram (DVH) predictions  that  are  ultimately limited  by  the  inherent  loss  in  spatial  information  of  a  DVH.  In  current  incarnations  of  KBP  (e.g. Varian’s RapidPlanTM), these predictions must be converted into DVH-based optimization parameters to enact automated planning, and when treatment plan DVHs differ from their knowledge-based DVH predictions it requires significant expertise to discern the origin of the deviation. Troublingly, the investigation and resolution of these discrepancies necessarily falls into  the  hands  of  the  same human treatment planners that knowledge-based planning purports to outperform. 

Molecular vibrational resonance

Modification of scanning probe microscope for direct measurement of both, amplitude and phase of vibration of a single molecule.

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