Photoacoustic Molecular Imaging in Rheumatoid Arthritis

In arthritis the inflammatory activity can be visualized by optical imaging of S100A9, however, the methodology is restricted to superficial structures. Photoacoustic imaging allows to visualize the entire inflamed joint. Using a photoacoustic tracer specifically binding to S100A9 should further improve the regional assessment of inflammatory activity.
© Thomas Vogl, Sven Hermann, Mitchell Duffy, Mahesh Kondapuram

Principal investigators: Thomas Vogl, Sven Hermann
Project time: 07/2015 - 10/2017
Project code: FF-2015-12

Rheumatoid arthritis is the principal form of inflammatory arthritis, characterized by a relapsing/remitting course of disease activity, which is a serious challenge for individualised patient care. Activated phagocytes significantly contribute to the disease progression of rheumatoid arthritis by releasing high levels of S100A8/S100A9. We successfully demonstrated the feasibility of S100A9 imaging in vivo by using optical fluorescence imaging.  In this project, we aim to overcome current depth limitations of S100A9 imaging by investigating the novel imaging technology photoacoustics, which is based on ultrasound. The combination of S100A9 based photoacustic imaging and ultrasound visualization of tissue destruction hopefully allows for non-invasive monitoring of disease activity.