The tissue microenvironment consists of a dynamic population of cellular and non-cellular components which form a multifaceted network. Our research aims to manipulate the microenvironment using soundwaves in order to create an unprecedented opportunity to facilitate tissue regeneration, stem cell homing and permeation, and immune cell modulation with, or without, locoregional delivery of therapies. In the setting of cancer, soundwaves can also manipulate the stroma around cancer cells, as well as alter tumor blood vessel integrity thereby helping therapies to cross the vasculature and effectively access tumor cells.
Pulsed Focus Ultrasound
Although ultrasound is commonly used for diagnostic imaging, it has been adopted for a variety of therapeutic applications since the 1950s. Therapeutic ultrasound often utilizes acoustic pressures and intensities well above those of diagnostic ultrasound in order to elicit some form of biological effect or response. Typically, the ultrasound beam is focused to a point within the body, thereby selectively targeting a specific tissue-of-interest and avoiding bioeffects in the tissues lying between the ultrasound transducer and the target tissue.
Pulsed focused ultrasound (pFUS) is a therapeutic ultrasound method that uses short-duration, high-intensity pulses to non-destructively target tissues-of-interest. While high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), also known as continuous focused ultrasound, generates extreme temperatures to ablate tissue, pFUS avoids tissue damage and temperature elevation. pFUS primarily elicits mechanical stimulation of the tissue, which upregulates inflammatory and other chemoattractive molecules. These molecular changes are short-lived, lasting only around 24-36 hours, and can promote MSC homing to the sonicated area. We have been examining
examining the effects of using pFUS at the target tissue in upregulating the expression of homing factors for cell therapies as well as the effect of pFUS on the stem cells themselves.