Charles F. Caskey, PhD
Vanderbilt University; Nashville, TN
The Caskey lab focuses on diagnostic and therapeutic applications of ultrasound with an emphasis on image-guided therapy and drug delivery. Toward this goal, we use micron-sized encapsulated bubbles (microbubbles) to target diseased vasculature and develop algorithms to specifically image these bubbles with ultrasound. Under the right ultrasound conditions, these microbubble contrast agents can also locally enhance vascular permeability, allowing them to act as therapeutic agents as well. Ultrasound can also be used to noninvasively apply heat for focal ablation or activation of temperature-sensitive drugs, and we have an ongoing project where we are performing ultrasonic heating under MR-guidance.
The major thrust of our laboratory is to utilize discoveries at the exciting interface of drug delivery, nanotechnology, and biomedical imaging to advance the field of cancer therapy. Our long-term goal is to minimize the burden of treatment on the patient. To achieve this goal, we have focused on developing multifunctional strategies in three treatment areas – ultrasound guided local drug delivery, targeted multifunctional nanobubbles for ultrasound molecular imaging and drug delivery and focused hyperthermia. These approaches have great potential for maximizing the treatment directly at the tumor site while minimizing systemic side effects.