An ultrasound imaging device is one of the most widely used medical diagnostic technologies, with its excellent mobility and accessibility. It is the safest and fastest diagnostic technique compared to others such as magnetic resonance imaging(MRI) and computed tomography(CT).

Despite such advantages, one of the limitations of ultrasound is that the image quality is quite low compared to other techniques. Hence, various ultrasound contrast agents have been developed and is being developed to improve image quality.

An ultrasound contrast agent is a form of microbubble or nanobubble with inner hydrophobic gas core surrounded by shell of either proteins, lipids, or polymers.  When the “bubbles” enters the bloodstream and is exposed to ultrasound, resonance and ultrasound dispersion occurs. This increases image signals and results in clearer image.

It is crucial that the contrast agents for ultrasound to be highly stable and not burst due to interferences such as temperature, tensions, or pressure and at the same time, not be influenced by the body’s immune system.

Our BRIXELLE-SHINE technology is very unique and goes beyond conventional ultrasound contrast agents. The bilirubin nanoparticle when loaded or chelated with metals, hydrophobic gas, or hydrophobic fine particles, can provide theranostics; perform diagnosis and treatment simultaneously. As the bilirubin nanoparticle has reactive oxygen species(ROS) scavenging properties, it can effectively be used to obtain images and exert therapeutic anti-inflammatory effects at the site of patient’s disease. In other words, diagnosis will be more accurate as the bilirubin nanoparticle will release the contrast agents at the exact location of the disease site when it breaks down into water soluble PEGylated biliverdin monomers by ROS in inflammatory tissue or tumor tissue. By this mechanism, the signals of microbubble will increase at target sites resulting in more accurate imaging and diagnosing.

The diagram shows the concept to explain the possibility of combining BRIXELLE-SHINE and BRIXELLE-ONCO platforms to diagnose and treat cancer.