VisualSonics announces next-generation in vivo imaging technology for cancer

“With photoacoustics, we can see at the molecular level what effect a drug is having on cancer cells – it provides unparalleled insights into how cancer sustains itself and it’s only a matter time before we begin seeing practical application in humans.”
-Stanislav Emelianov, Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Research, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin
VisualSonics Inc., a leader in real-time, in vivo, high-resolution micro-imaging systems and a wholly-owned subsidiary of SonoSite Inc., is demonstrating the recently announced Vevo® LAZR Photoacoustics Imaging system at the American Association of Cancer Research’s annual conference (April 2-6, 2011, Orlando, FL).
The new system has been designed for use in pre-clinical research and could herald major breakthroughs in cancer research; however, human applications of the technology are envisioned in the near future.
“The Vevo LAZR is a crucial breakthrough with wide ranging implications for cancer research,” said Dr. Emelianov. “In recent years, the fight against cancer has centered on stopping growth using drugs (anti-angiogenesis therapeutics, for instance). If angiogenesis can be stopped or prevented from occurring, tumor growth can be controlled and significantly reduce harm to their hosts.”
Furthermore, the ability to see the effect that a drug is having on the tumor growth is an invaluable asset in the development of cancer therapeutics. In practical terms, this means researchers will be able to observe tumor biology in a living host organism (mice and rats) without having to biopsy the actual tumor itself. Currently, researchers are often required to rely on ex vivo techniques such as histology and immunohistochemistry to obtain molecular information inside a tumor. The in vivo approach reduces the amount of animals required for research studies by allowing the same animal to be followed throughout the disease development and treatment.
Dr. Emelianov continued, “Being able to look at molecular level cell physiology, and to do so in a living organism, will greatly facilitate our understanding of how cancer spreads from the micro to the macro level, giving unparalleled insights into how tumors grow and metastasize within human tissue.”
“The Vevo LAZR photoacoustics system is a breakthrough in vivo imaging technology,” said Anil Amlani, VisualSonics’ President and CEO. “Advancements featured in this product will enable oncology researchers to accelerate their research into understanding the inner workings of the cancerous cell and the host tissue in which it resides. The ability to conduct this microscopic level research in a living organism, non-invasively and in real-time, will help our customers to turn groundbreaking science into lifesaving care at an even greater speed.”
“The launch of the Vevo LAZR technology further demonstrates our commitment in providing game changing imaging technology to advance pre-clinical research,” said Kevin M. Goodwin, SonoSite’s President and CEO. “We are confident that the photoacoustics technology will provide never-before-seen insights into cancer research and will have a strong impact on the discovery of new therapeutics.”
The Vevo LAZR system supports VisualSonics’ continuous efforts to provide researchers with innovative solutions to improving pre-clinical research. Applications for the Vevo LAZR system range from lymph node imaging, study of hemoglobin and oxygen saturation, and targeted imaging of tumor biomarkers. In addition to cancer biology, this cutting-edge imaging system will benefit other areas of research such as diabetes, neurosciences, as well as developmental and reproductive biology.