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Fluorescent Wide-Field Imaging of Nanoparticles In Vivo


IGERT fellow Stacey Markovic has developed a broad-field fluorescence imaging approach using nanoparticle mediated fluorescence for two applications. In the first project, the research is to quantify nanoparticle diffusion in tumors in vivo. To carry out these studies, near infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging systems was built to evaluate the in vivo efficacy of NPs. Working in the NIR range provides minimal absorption particularly of hemoglobin and water in biological tissue. The penetration depth of the light can reach several centimeters making NIR fluorescence imaging applicable to a variety of pre-clinical animal studies. Monitoring both disease progression and treatment responses are possible on these systems which can help in many biomedical research areas, the diagnosis and treatment of cancer are specific goals for these two imaging systems. The second project is enumeration of rare circulating cells in vivo. The non-invasive broad-field fluorescence imaging addresses the problem of rarely found cells in the blood stream. The increased volume of blood observed and an automated computer vision counting approach push the limits of current cell counting techniques.

Address Goals

Fluorescence imaging has increased in pre-clinical biomedical research providing unique advantages over current diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. In general, imaging of mice is done with many modes including: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and optical imaging. The drawbacks of MRI, PET and SPECT are the need for expensive instrumentation and radioactive contrast agents. Contrast agents can be harmful if used repeatedly in patients and the limited lifetimes also do not allow safe, repetitive measurements. The combination of nanomedicine with fluorescence imaging allows researchers to monitor NPs in vivo, non-invasively, and serially. Fluorescence imaging in pre-clinical research of NPs is advantageous because of the relatively low cost of the setup, ability to perform serial imaging, and the development of biocompatible and long circulating NPs. Findings from this research will help push the field of cancer nanomedicine further along resulting in commercialization of more nanomedicine products.