Office for Technology Commercialization

Radiopaque Bioresorbable Microspheres for Vessel Embolization

Technology #20160386

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Radiopaque MicrospheresUterine FibroidTumor
Jafar Golzarian, MD
Professor, Department of Radiology
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Lihui Weng, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Radiology
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Managed By
Kevin Nickels
Technology Licensing Officer 612-625-7289
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending

Uterine Fibroids, Vascular Malformations, Endoleaks and Other Uncontrolled Bleeding

A next-generation method produces embolic microspheres that are both radiopaque and bioresorbable, making them trackable and easily broken down by the body. A radiopaque contrast agent (e.g., Lipiodol, tantalum, tungsten, barium, etc.) is suspended within the microspheres during preparation; for example, Lipiodol can be mixed with the aqueous phase thoroughly, and when the mixture is later added to the oil phase, the microspheres are formed. Moreover, the polymer matrix of these microspheres is bioresorbable: the beads are created from chitosan and cellulose compounds that eventually break down into molecules the body can easily dispose of. With their radiopaque and bioresorbable properties, these microspheres can be used for not only occluding blood vessels, but also better tumor targeting, less non-target embolization, repeatable treatments, uterine fibroids, vascular malformations, endoleaks and uncontrolled bleeding.

Microspheres are Radiopaque and Bioresorbable

The main drawback to current microsphere embolization technology is that the body cannot eliminate the microspheres after administration. The beads remain in the body forever and may compromise future treatments. In addition, currently used radiolucent embolic microspheres must be co-administered with a surgical contrast in order to guide their administration. However, the surgical contrast does not allow precise identification of the location of the embolic microspheres, which can cause non-target embolization as well as difficulties in tracking the microspheres at follow-up since they are not visible under CT. The microspheres in this technology feature two unique properties: 1) they are resorbable by the body and can therefore be eliminated, and 2) they contain the contrast component within them, making it easy to track their location in the vasculature under fluoroscope or CT, thus reducing risk of non-target embolization and allowing for easier microsphere tracking at follow-up.


  • Radiopaque; contrast inside the bead
  • Bioresorbable; break down in the body
  • Created from chitosan and cellulose compounds
  • Visible under fluoroscope or CT
  • May reduce non-target embolizations


  • Any type of vascular embolization
  • Treatment of tumors (e.g., liver tumors) or uterine fibroids
  • Used with drug loading (chemoembolization) or without (bland embolization)
  • Vascular malformations (e.g., arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs))
  • Seal endoleaks into aneurysm sacs
  • Stop uncontrolled bleeding; bleeding prior to surgery

Phase of Development - Prototype. Bench work has proved feasibility of making the radiopaque microspheres.