This patent application is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "U.S. Pat. No. 7,500,953 describes contrast agents for photo-acoustic imaging. Photo-acoustic imaging involves the excitation of acoustic (ultrasound) waves in a body of material by means of irradiation with light pulses. The light pulses lead to position dependent heating, as a function of local light absorption properties. In turn this results in the excitation of sound waves with excitation amplitudes that depend on position. After the waves have travelled through the body, the sound amplitude is detected as a function of time and position, and from this an image of absorption as a function of position is reconstructed.
"U.S. Pat. No. 7,500,953 describes the use of nanoparticles as a contrast agent for absorbing energy from the light pulses. Nanoparticles are selected on the basis of size or shape so that they are tuned to the same wavelength of irradiating light. The selected nanoparticles are applied to a patient for example, after which an image of the distribution of the nanoparticles through the patient's body can be obtained by means of photo-acoustic imaging using pulses of light at the wavelength of the nanoparticles. U.S. Pat. No. 7,500,953 describes a wide range of possible nano-particles, including any metal, metal alloy, or combinations of metals and non-metals. Gold, silver, palladium, and platinum and carbon nano tubes are mentioned, and the particles may be filled with water, nitrogen, argon, or neon, aqueous gels, and organic substances.
"U.S. Pat. No. 7,500,953 describes various further embodiments of this technique. One such embodiment involves attaching the nanoparticles to markers for specific receptor molecules in the body. In this way the nanoparticles will be concentrated in body regions where the receptor molecules are present. Hence the resulting image will show the concentration of the receptor molecules as a function of position.
"In a different embodiment, U.S. Pat. No. 7,500,953 describes the use of contrast agents that are sensitive to two different irradiation wavelengths, by using a mixture of nanoparticles with different shape, composition, and dimensions. The shape, composition, and dimensions of a first set of nanoparticles is chosen corresponding to a wavelength that is especially useful for detecting vascular tumors rich in hypoxic blood. The shape, composition, and dimensions of a second set of nanoparticles is chosen corresponding to a wavelength that is highly penetrating and is especially sensitive to tumors and other tissues containing deoxygenated blood. Comparison of the images obtained with these different wavelengths provides for differentiation between diseased tissue and either normal tissue or abnormal, but harmless, tissue."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Among others, it is an object to provide for an imaging method and system and a contrast agent that make it possible to obtain more detailed image information.
"An imaging method according to claim 1 is provided. This method uses a plurality of sets of carbon nanotubes, respective ones of the sets each comprising carbon nanotubes carrying markers for a respective receptor in a body of material, different from markers of the carbon nanotubes in other ones of the sets, or in a different combination of concentrations of markers as in the other ones of the sets, the carbon nanotubes of the respective one of the sets having a respective geometry, for example a respective chiral number, giving rise to an absorption peak for electromagnetic radiation at a wavelength different from the wavelengths of the absorption peaks corresponding to the geometries of the carbon nanotubes in the other ones of the sets. The method may be applied for example after administration of the combination of carbon nano-tubes from each of these sets to the body, as one composition of carbon nanotubes, and/or by realizing the administration of the combination by administering carbon nanotubes from individual sets separately so that they may be present in the body simultaneously. Also use may be made of carbon nanotubes that are already present in the body. The use of carbon nanotubes provides for a wide range of different geometries, e.g. different chiral numbers, that provides for a considerable number (at least three or more) of different carbon nanotubes that can selectively be made to absorb electromagnetic radiation by using different wavelengths.
"Electromagnetic radiation is transmitted to the body, substantially at the wavelengths of the absorption peaks of the sets, multiplexed with each other. The transmitted electromagnetic radiation may be infrared radiation with wavelengths in a range of 0.7-1.1 micrometer for example, but other wavelengths could be used. The wavelengths may be multiplexed by time division multiplexing for example, electromagnetic radiation of different wavelengths being transmitted at different time points, but other multiplexing techniques such as modulation frequency multiplexing may be used.
"A response to absorption of the transmitted electromagnetic radiation is detected for example in the form of ultrasound. Other responses such as inelastically scattered radiation could be used instead (e.g. Raman spectroscopy).
"From the detected response to the radiation one or more images of the absorption as a function of position in the body may be formed. When the electromagnetic radiation is visible light and ultrasound amplitude as a function of time is detected, the one or more images will be photo-acoustic images, but similar image forming techniques may be used with electromagnetic radiation at other wavelengths.
"A plurality of images may be formed for respective ones of the plurality of the wavelengths, each from the response to absorption of electromagnetic radiation at a respective one of the wavelengths. When the carbon nanotubes of different sets carry mutually different markers, each image shows the effect of binding of a different marker. These images may be combined to form a combination image for selected ones of the sets. Also combination images for selected combinations of the wavelengths may be formed directly, without images from individual wavelengths, by combining detections for the selected combinations of the wavelengths and forming the images from the combined detections. Even if the set carbon nanotubes contains carbon nanotubes with mutually different markers that are the same as markers of carbon nanotubes in different sets, a difference in the combination of concentrations of the carbon nanotubes that carry different markers, compared to the combination of concentrations in other sets still may provide for images with different information.
"In an embodiment a pulse is transmitted at the wavelength of at least one of the sets, with a higher energy than the electromagnetic radiation used for imaging. The higher energy pulse may be used to detach the markers from the carbon nanotubes. This can be used as a 'reset', prior to addition of other nanotubes, or as a trigger for measuring time dependent responses.
"In an embodiment further sets of carbon nanotubes are used, similar to the set of carbon nanotubes with markers, but with releasable substances such as drugs instead of or in addition to the markers. The carbon nanotubes in the further sets may have the same associated absorption wavelengths as those in the earlier mentioned sets or different absorption wavelengths. They may be used to trigger release of selected substances by means of transmission of electromagnetic radiation to the body, substantially at the wavelengths of the absorption peaks of a selected one or ones of the further sets. Thus for example a treatment selected based on the images may be applied immediately after imaging.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
"These and other objects and advantageous aspects will become apparent from a description of exemplary embodiments, with reference to the following FIGURE.
"FIG. 1 shows an imaging system"
URL and more information on this patent application, see: Raju, Balasundar Iyyavu; Albu,
Keywords for this news article include: Fullerenes, Nanoparticle, Nanotechnology, Carbon Nanotubes, Emerging Technologies,
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