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Making Brain Cancer Diagnoses More Precise

New fluorescent molecule for dual NIR-II fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging may help future doctors visualize brain tumors more precisely.

By
Mary Bates, Contributor
Monday, July 9, 2018

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Tumors of the central nervous system remain one of the most challenging cancers to diagnose. There are over 120 types of brain and spinal cord tumors, and, according to the National Cancer Institute, the symptoms of such tumors are not the same in every person.

Fortunately, new brain imaging modalities ­-- with good sensitivity and specificity, deep penetration, and high spatial and temporal resolution -- are emerging.

According to a recent study published in the journal Advanced Materials, one promising type of imaging for brain tumor diagnostics is near infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging. In contrast to conventional brain imaging techniques, such as CT, PET and MRI, NIR fluorescence imaging is nonhazardous, offers fast feedback and is more sensitive. A specific type of NIR fluorescence imaging called NIR-II imaging offers even deeper penetration and higher spatiotemporal resolution.

In the new study, the researchers reported the performance of a new NIR-II fluorescent molecule for dual fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging in mice with brain tumors.

The experiments revealed that bimodal NIR-II fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging with the new molecules showed high specificity and sensitivity and can accurately assess the depth of tumors within brain tissue.

The researchers say their NIR-II fluorescent imaging molecules hold great promise for monitoring and visualizing brain conditions. Use of the new molecules in dual NIR-II fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging could lead to more timely and precise brain cancer diagnoses.