Synthesis and characterization of image-able polyvinyl alcohol microspheres for image-guided chemoembolization

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine








© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA). Therapeutic embolization of blood vessels is a minimally invasive, catheter-based procedure performed with solid or liquid emboli to treat bleeding, vascular malformations, and vascular tumors. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) affects about half a million people per year. When unresectable, HCC is treated with embolization and local drug therapy by transarterial chemoembolization (TACE). For TACE, drug eluting beads (DC Bead®) may be used to occlude or reduce arterial blood supply and deliver chemotherapeutics locally to the tumor. Although this treatment has been shown to be safe and to improve patient survival, the procedure lacks imaging feedback regarding the location of embolic agent and drug coverage. To address this shortcoming, herein we report the synthesis and characterization of image-able drug eluting beads (iBeads) from the commercial DC Bead® product. Two different radiopaque beads were synthesized. In one approach, embolic beads were conjugated with 2,3,5-triiodobenzyl alcohol in the presence of 1,1′-carbonyldiimidazol to give iBead I. iBead II was synthesized with a similar approach but instead using a trimethylenediamine spacer and 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid. Doxorubicin was loaded into the iBeads II using a previously reported method. Size and shape of iBeads were evaluated using an upright microscope and their conspicuity assessed using a clinical CT and micro-CT. Bland and Dox-loaded iBeads II visualized with both clinical CT and microCT. Under microCT, individual bland and Dox loaded beads had a mean attenuation of 7904 ± 804 and 11,873.96 ± 706.12 HU, respectively. These iBeads have the potential to enhance image-guided TACE procedures by providing localization of embolic-particle and drug.

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