Areas of hypoxia, or low oxygen in tissue, are hallmarks of fast-growing cancers and of blockages or narrowing in blood vessels, such as stroke or peripheral artery disease. University of Illinois researchers have developed a way to find hypoxic spots noninvasively in real time.The researchers developed an oxygen-sensitive molecular beacon that emits ultrasound signals in response to light, a process called photoacoustic imaging – a less invasive, higher resolution and less costly method than the current clinical standard, which uses radioactive molecules and positron emission tomography scans. In a paper published in Nature Communications, the researchers demonstrated the probe’s ability to image hypoxic tumors and constricted arteries in mice.”We could give a doctor a three-dimensional, real-time view into the tissue to guide surgical procedures and treatment plans,” said chemistry professor Jefferson Chan, the leader of the study. Graduate student Hailey Knox and bioengineering professor Wawrzyniec Lawrence Dobrucki were co-authors of the paper.”The ability to detect this in a way that doesn’t require surgery or doesn’t rely on indirect methods is really powerful, because you can actually see it as it’s developing,” Chan said.Current methods for detecting hypoxia in tissue can only identify chronic hypoxia, and thus cannot help doctors find aggressive… Read full this story
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