Our key objective here is to develop a platform technology focused on non-invasively eradicating pan-drug resistant bacterial infections with mechanical forces induced by ultrasound. To do so, we aim to first understand the effects of ultrasound on bacterial communities by measuring biofilm biomarkers. Other aspects of this research include engineering ultrasound-responsive cavitation agents to provide effective bacterial eradication with or without antibiotics within living hosts.
Atherosclerotic lesions that lead to myocardial infarction and stroke represent a biological barrier that impedes the delivery of drugs by passive diffusion. We hypothesize that targeted therapy for atherosclerosis is achievable using ultrasound-induced bubble oscillations (i.e., cavitation) to transport and implant drug-loaded bioresorbable cavitation agents directly at the site of the lesion. We aim to develop a proof-of-concept, yet clinically relevant, targeted controlled drug release system from remotely implanted particles. This is accomplished by combining either intravascular or extracorporeal ultrasound and novel cavitation-inducing drug-loaded bioresorbable particles that propels itself into the atherosclerotic lesions.
Recently, there has been an increasing interest in developing acoustically induced gelation for a broad range of applications. However these acoustic-gelation methods under development require ultrasound at frequencies below 50 kHz. Yet, these frequencies cause major damage to biological tissue and other sensitive materials. Thus, these techniques are inadequate at addressing a broad range of clinical and industrial challenges. We are developing ultrasound-responsive chemicals that are not only biologically inert and degradable, but will form a hydrogel only in the presence of an acoustic field or ultrasound-mediated acoustic cavitation at frequencies above 200 kHz.