Medical research

Mapping blood flow with bubbles and ultrasound

Microbubbles are being used with ultrasound to create microscopic maps of blood vessels, in a new technique being developed by King's College London and Imperial College London. This new approach, which generates much more ...

Medical research

Opening the brain to new treatments

One of the trickiest parts of treating brain conditions is the blood brain barrier, a blockade of cells that prevent both harmful toxins and helpful pharmaceuticals from getting to the body's control center. But, a technique ...

Oncology & Cancer

Microbubble ultrasound and breast biopsies

Using "microbubbles" and ultrasound can mean more targeted breast biopsies for patients with early breast cancer, helping to determine treatment and possibly saving those patients from undergoing a second breast cancer surgery, ...

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Microbubbles are bubbles smaller than one millimetre in diameter, but larger than one micrometre. They are used in medical diagnostics as a contrast agent for ultrasound imaging. The gas-filled, e.g. air or perfluorocarbon, microbubbles oscillate and vibrate when a sonic energy field is applied and may reflect ultrasound waves. This distinguishes the microbubbles from surrounding tissues. In practice, because gas bubbles in liquid lack stability and would therefore quickly dissolve, microbubbles must be encapsulated with a solid shell. The shell is made from either a lipid or a protein such as Optison microbubbles which consist of perfluoropropane gas encapsulated by a serum albumin shell.

Microbubbles may also be used for drug delivery and water/waste water treatment purposes. .

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