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Novel Radiotracers for Imaging Glucocorticoid Receptor in Treatment-resistant Cancer Patients

UCSF researchers have invented novel radiotracers that allow imaging of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression using positron emission tomography (PET) in patients with treatment-resistant solid cancer, including prostate, breast, ovarian and lung cancer.

A Real-time Intraoperative Fluorescent Imaging Device for Guided Surgical Excision of Microscopic Residual Tumors

This novel real-time imaging device can provide precise and rapid pathological imaging information of the tumor area by utilizing fluorescent or luminescent markers within the body to ensure complete surgical resection.

Novel Software for Generating Attenuation Correction Maps with MRI for PET Reconstruction

This invention can accurately and rapidly map patient bone structure and classify all tissue types such as fatty soft tissue, water soft tissue, lung tissue, bone, and air within a single scan using novel MRI acquisition and reconstruction techniques.

A Novel Reversible Fluorescent Protein Complementation Assay for Imaging of Protein-protein Interactions

This invention provides a method for characterizing protein-protein interactions using a novel reversible bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay.

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.

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.

Multi-color Three Dimensional Imaging Using Multi-focus Microscopy

This technology identifies an advanced imaging technique of biomicroscopy using an innovative type of a wide-field multi-focus microscope to enable fast, high-resolution 3D imaging. 

Modular Cell and Drug Delivery Cannula System

The use of cell transplantation in the brain shows great promise for the treatment of human neurological diseases, such as Parkinson's disease or stroke. Indeed, pre-clinical studies in animal models have shown significantly improved neurological function following cell grafting. However, in human trials the results have been considerably more variable. This has, in part, been attributed to concerns with poor cell distribution within the target area. A further issue that has arisen with the challenge of scaling up from animal models to humans is the increase in the number of transcortical penetrations required to deliver therapeutic agents. For surgical cell transplantation approaches, cell sedimentation and impaired graft viability are also concerns that need to be addressed to optimize the use of this therapeutic avenue.

Robotic Needle Ablation Tool and Securement Device

Tumors have historically been removed through surgical intervention but recently many tumors are instead treated with needle tumor ablation. This is a procedure in which needles are inserted manually via a small skin incision, through the muscle and inner tissue layers, towards a tumor. The tumor is destroyed by applying energy through the needle (high frequency heat in the case of radiofrequency ablation and cold energy in the case of cryotherapy). The needle’s trajectory in relation to the patient’s body must be carefully monitored by CT or MRI scans to ensure that the needle does not damage collateral tissues such as blood vessels or other organs. Any displacement of the needle during the procedure may not only result in needle placement error, but could potentially lead to bleeding or rupture of the tumor and the in-situ release of tumor cells. Improvements in CT scan and MRI scan image resolution have advanced needle ablation therapy, allowing even small tumors to be easily detected. However, the need for continual imaging by CT scan results in the use of increased doses of radiation. Indeed, doses can be between 100 to 500 times greater than those used for conventional radiography. Furthermore, as small changes in needle positioning require repeat imaging, the operator must vacate the CT suite many times, adding a significant time delay to the procedure.

Anchoring Fiduciary Site Markers for Surgical Procedures

Surgery site markers, otherwise known as fiduciary markers, are used to mark the site of a tumor in the body. Some markers are made from 24 karat gold and are implanted at the tumor site during an operation to remove a tumor so that after the operation, radiologists can locate the remains of the tumor for the purpose of providing targeted radiation therapy. The isodensity of pure gold enables the markers to be visualized by virtually any form of radiographic imaging technology. Fiduciary markers are frequently used in post-operation prostate cancer radiation therapy because the prostate gland is known to migrate within the patient’s body. However, the technology has many other applications in various tumor types. The problem with these markers is that they can easily be dislodged from their site of deposition especially in loose or delicate tissues, such as tumors.

Diagnostic Antibodies for In Vivo Visualization of Tumor Cells

Molecular imaging of cancer has the potential to facilitate early detection and to provide a more detailed assessment of disease and tumor margin.  Molecular imaging probes have been heralded by the FDA Critical Path Initiative as tools to increase the speed and cost-effectiveness of clinical trials for cancer therapies.  However, imaging probes currently in use in the clinic are limited by a lack of specificity and/or sensitivity or are limited to a small subset of cancers.  Therefore, new molecular imaging probes with more broad applications to cancer are needed.

Method of Improving Anti-angiogenic Therapy Efficacy

Current anti-angiogenic therapies for the treatment of cancer are a rapidly growing market led by Genentech’s Avastin® (bevacizumab). Avastin® and other anti-angiogenic therapies work by preventing new blood vessel formation, thus starving tumor cells of glucose and oxygen. However, due to rapid development of resistance, Avastin® has shown only modest increases in overall survival of cancer patients. Therefore, there is a significant need for therapies which can synergize with Avastin® and other anti-angiogenic agents to significantly increase patient survival.

Methodology to Measure Transvalvular Energy Loss Using Doppler Echocardiography

In patients with stenosed heart valves, hemodynamic performance of the heart valve is routinely assessed to determine risk stratification and timing of intervention. Hemodynamic performance is also used to evaluate the success of a valve transplant and monitor the performance of the valve over time. Current measures of hemodynamic performance include measures of transvalvular pressure gradient, effective orifice area, and blood flow velocity.  These common criteria only allow assessment of forward flow and do not take into account paravalvular leak and paravalvular regurgitation (backward flow). Leak and regurgitation are commonly seen in stenosed valves, deformed prostheses, and particularly in transcatheter valves. Assessment of valvular hemodynamics during both forward and backward flow would improve risk stratification of patients and timing of interventions.      Valve hemodynamics during both forward and backward flow can be assessed by measuring energy loss. Until now, routine clinical application of energy loss measurement has been hindered by its invasive nature and a lack of simple tools to obtain the data. Energy loss measurement currently requires catheterization and placement of pressure transducers inside the artery on opposite sides of the valve in question.  A non-invasive and simple way to measure energy loss would provide clinicians with a tool to improve assessment of hemodynamics and improve patient care.     

Improved and adjustable hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method

Researchers at UCSF and Stanford have developed an improved method for hyperpolarized magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) that increases the observation window while minimally disturbing substrates, allowing for optimal imaging of both substrates and metabolic products. This method can also be tailored to control the parameters required for optimal imaging of individual compounds


Physicians at UCSF have invented an improved radiographic marker for use during open surgical procedures. The improved marker overcomes the migratory tendencies of surgical clips and gold markers seeds and is suitable for use with almost any tissue types. In addition, the marker can be used as a delivery platform for local chemical, thermal, or radiofrequency therapy to the operative site. One embodiment of this invention consists of an accessory which can place current commercially available markers and clips.


Patients suffering from moderate to severe cardiac failure can enjoy substantial improvements in quality of life and survival, when provided with cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT). However, this treatment has a 30% failure rate due in part to difficulties in characterizing intraventricular synchrony. Improvements in methodology could lead to appropriate patient selection and improved pacemaker positioning, resulting in enhanced therapeutic effectiveness. To redress these problems, UCSF researchers have developed software that permits the visualization and quantification of relevant parameters using a number of different imaging tools. Their novel method employs first harmonic imaging to the blood pool study, yielding a quantitative basis for treatment and evaluation.


Magnetic resonance angiography and arterial spin label perfusion techniques are currently used for imaging the vasculature and hemodynamic state of the brain. These techniques have important applications in the detection and treatment of various diseases such as stroke, tumors, vascular malformations, Alzheimers, and epilepsy. However, current techniques require background suppression methods to increase the contrast-to-noise ratio during imaging. This involves the subtraction of label and control images to remove background noise. As a result, image time is increased, leading to a greater chance of movement from the patient, thus further degrading the images.An imaging sequence developed by a UCSF investigator provides a new spin-lock method of background suppression for time-of-flight imaging. While previous methods have used the spin-lock technique to store angiographic signal, this novel method uses spin-lock to eliminate static tissue signal. Additionally, the use of this method could be extrapolated to other organ systems, such as the heart.

Highly Specific Antibody to Human MT-SP1 (Matriptase)

Membrane type serine protease 1 (MT-SP1), or matriptase, is a serine protease that is over-expressed on the surface of epithelial cells involved in a variety of cancers, including breast, colon and prostate. UCSF inventors have developed a novel antibody inhibitor of MT-SP1 (A11) which gains potency and specificity through interactions with the protease surface loops and binds in the active site in a catalytically non-competent manner.  The A11 antibody has applications as a therapeutic, diagnostic, and research tool.


UCSF investigators have discovered a novel MR method which uses a non-resonant device to perform MR imaging and spectroscopy. The non-resonant device is used to excite and receive MR signal. The method is frequency insensitive, highly efficient, yields excellent decoupling, and suits a wide variety of RF coil designs. The resulting instrument can operate at any frequency for any nucleus at any magnetic field strength. Also, the electromagnetic coupling obstacle inherent with resonant devices is overcome without the use of sensitivity-decreasing decoupling circuits. This novel non-resonance technology for MR signal excitation and reception has a potential to overcome all the technical difficulties and design complexities encountered in current MR methodology and may even replace the current technology.

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