Echocardiography Shows Promise in Guiding Gene Therapy for Disease Prevention and Treatment

Cardiovascular ultrasound used to guide delivery of multiple genes

Jun 13, 2011, 09:59 ET from American Society of Echocardiography

MONTREAL, June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers today announced the results of a study that show echocardiography can improve the success rate of gene therapy and increase growth, function and sustainability of regenerated vessels. The study will be presented at the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) 22nd Annual Scientific Sessions, June 11-15, 2011.

"This study showed that echo-mediated gene therapy will be beneficial for individuals suffering from chronic vascular disease," said Alexandra Smith, from Howard Leong-Poi's lab at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

Gene therapy is the insertion, alteration, or removal of genes within an individual's cells and biological tissues to treat disease. Researchers hypothesized that a strategy of multi-gene therapy using a combination of vascular growth factors would improve blood flow to muscle with chronically compromised flow. In this study, cardiovascular ultrasound with carrier microbubble agents was used to enhance gene delivery to rats with chronic vascular occlusion. Results showed an increased and sustained level of blood flow, vessel density and flow reserve.

"We now know that multi-gene delivery at separate time-points results in improved stability and functionality of new blood vessels," said Ms. Smith. "If our research is successful, the improvement in blood flow and flow reserve that we found could potentially translate to improved exercise tolerance and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of North Americans suffering from peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease."  

The study was conducted by Alexandra H. Smith, Michael A. Kuliszewski, Christine Liao, Dmitriy Rudenko and Howard Leong-Poi at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, ON, Canada.

About the American Society of Echocardiography

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) is a professional organization of physicians, cardiac sonographers, nurses and scientists involved in echocardiography, the use of ultrasound to image the heart and cardiovascular system. The organization was founded in 1975 and is the largest international organization for cardiovascular ultrasound imaging. For more information on ASE, visit or ASE's public information site,

Cathy Kerr
Vice President of Communications

SOURCE American Society of Echocardiography