Congratulations to Dr. Kang Kim who was recently awarded a new NHLBI R01. Dr. Kim has been awarded annual direct costs of nearly $500,000 for his grant titled, “Super Resolution Ultrasound Imaging of Vasa Vasorum to Characterize the Progression of Atherosclerotic Plaques and Predict Rupture Vulnerability.” This proposal was submitted in response to the competitive funding opportunity titled NIH Research Project Grant (Parent R01) under funding opportunity number PA-20-185.
The objective of this project is to validate an innovative diagnostic ultrasound imaging technology that will allow for noninvasively detecting atherosclerotic plaques that have high chance of rupturing, which will result in heart attacks and strokes. The innovative technology so called super resolution ultrasound imaging provides unprecedented high resolution that enables to image abnormal growth of microvessels in atherosclerotic plaques at great details, which is well known as a key indicator of plaque rupture. If successfully validated through novel rabbit plaque rupture model that is known to be most close to human plaques, the technology development and findings through this project will provide strong foundation and potential for future clinical translation. Upon successful clinical validation in future on human subjects, an immediate clinical application will be for carotid atherosclerosis clinics where this imaging technology incorporated into a current ultrasound scanner will be able to identify plaques at high risk of rupture for most appropriate interventions or/and treatments to prevent strokes and save life. The immediate outcomes from this project include an accurate, affordable, well-validated robust animal imaging tool for important diseases which are associated with microvessel abnormalities such as atherosclerotic plaques proposed in this project, cancer angiogenesis, and kidney diseases to name a few.