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Claims for Patent: 5,686,060

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Claims for Patent: 5,686,060

Title: Stable microbubble suspensions comprising saturated phospholipids for ultrasound echography
Abstract:Disclosed are injectable suspensions of gas filled microbubbles in an aqueous carrier liquid usable as contrast agents in ultrasonic echography. The suspensions comprise amphipathic compounds of which at least one may be a laminarized phospholipid as a stabilizer of the microbubbles against collapse with time and pressure. The concentration of phospholipids in the carrier liquid is below 0.01% wt but is at least equal to or above that at which phospholipid molecules are present solely at the gas microbubble-liquid interface. Also disclosed is a method of preparation of the stable suspensions of air or gas filled microbubbles.
Inventor(s): Schneider; Michel (Troinex, CH), Brochot; Jean (Feigeres, FR), Puginier; Jerome (Le Chable-Beaumont, FR), Yan; Feng (Meyrin, CH)
Assignee: Bracco International BV (NL)
Application Number:08/420,677
Patent Claims: 1. An injectable suspension for ultrasonic echography comprising a carrier liquid containing at least 10.sup.7 microbubbles per milliliter and at least one saturated phospholipid, wherein the concentration of the phospholipid(s) is below 0.01% by weight.

2. The injectable suspension of claim 1, in which the concentration of microbubbles per milliliter is between 10.sup.8 and 10.sup.10.

3. The injectable suspension of claim 1, in which the concentration of phospholipids is above 0.00013% wt.

4. The injectable suspension of claim 1, in which the liquid carrier further comprises a stabilizer selected from the group consisting of water soluble poly- and oligosaccharides, sugars and hydrophilic polymers.

5. The injectable suspension according to claim 4, wherein a hydrophilic polymer is a polyethylene glycol.

6. The injectable suspension of claim 1, in which the phospholipids are at least partially in lamellar or laminar form and are selected from the group consisting of lecithins such as phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylinositol, cardiolipin and sphingomyelin.

7. The injectable suspension of claim 4, further containing a substance affecting the properties of phospholipid selected from the group consisting of phosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidic acid, dicetylphosphate, cholesterol, ergosterol, phytosterol, sitosterol, lanosterol, tocopherol, propylgallate, ascorbyl palmitate and butylated hydroxytoluene.

8. The injectable suspension of claim 1, in which the phospholipid is in the form of powders obtained by freeze-drying or spray-drying.

9. The injectable suspension of claim 1, containing about 10.sup.8- 10.sup.9 microbubbles per milliliter with the microbubble size between 0.5-10 .mu.m showing little or no variation under storage.

10. The injectable suspension of claim 1, in which the liquid carrier further comprises up to 50% by weight non-laminar surfactants selected from the group consisting of fatty acids, esters and ethers of fatty acids and alcohols with polyols such as polyalkalene glycols, polyalkylenated sugars and other carbohydrates, and polyalkylenated glycerol.

11. The injectable suspension of claim 1, in which the microbubbles are filled with SF.sub.6, CF.sub.4, freons or air.
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