A type of probe that may allow higher quality imaging of tumours than is currently possible is reported in Nature Communications this week. The near-infrared emitting probe may overcome some of the problems associated with traditional probes, including low imaging sensitivity and specificity.
Jianghong Rao and colleagues develop a nanoparticle that does not need to be illuminated to emit near-infrared light, which is known to improve tumour-to-background imaging ratios. The probe does not contain heavy toxic metals, which may facilitate medical application. Evaluation in mice showed long circulation times, high serum stability, and produced strong near infrared emission.
Fluorescent imaging has become a useful tool for visualising biological systems in their native state and in medical imaging, for example to guide surgery. New, effective probes may continue to expand the utility of fluorescent imaging.