As part of the DFG project "Micromorphological functional and molecular characterization of tumor vessels by tracking microbubbles", ultrasound imaging techniques are being developed that can reconstruct the vascularization of e.g., tumors, in high resolution using contrast agents.

Ultrasound contrast agents generally consist of gas bubbles of a few micrometers in diameter (microbubbles) that alter the ultrasound echo. At suitable concentrations, it is possible to detect individual microbubbles and track their motion in image sequences by using tracking algorithms.

Since microbubbles are much smaller (1-5 µm) than the resolution of the imaging system (50-200 µm), finer vascular structures can be imaged better than with conventional US imaging techniques. This is referred to as "super-resolution." Tracking also provides additional information such as blood flow velocities and directions.

Which new morphological and functional parameters are relevant for diagnostics or for therapy control of tumors is being investigated in cooperation with the Institute "Experimental Molecular Imaging" at RWTH Aachen university.

Contact: Stefanie Dencks und Thomas Lisson

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