University of Central Florida chemists, led by Professor Kevin Belfield, used near infrared light and fluorescent dye to take pictures of cells and tumors deep within tissue. The probes specifically target lysosomes, which act as cells' thermostats and waste processors and which have been linked to a variety of diseases, including types of mental illnesses and cancers.
The probes can be adapted to search for certain proteins found in tumors, which means they someday may help doctors diagnose and potentially treat tumors.
"This is a game-changer," Belfield said. "Until now, there was no real way to study lysosomes because existing techniques have severe limitations. But the probe we developed is stable, which allows for longer periods of imaging."
Current imaging probes work for only a few minutes. They cannot penetrate deep tissue, are sensitive to pH levels and have poor water solubility. Belfield's technique gets around those problems by using near infrared light. Once researchers identified the correct light frequency, they took images of lysosomes for hours.
The new approach will allow researchers to see lysosomes at work and to piece together their role in diseases such as cancer and Tay-Sachs, a genetic disorder from which children typically die by age 4.
"We've come up with something that should make a huge difference in finding answers to some very complicated conditions," Belfield said.
Belfield's findings, which include comparisons to the only two existing probes on the market today, are published in this month's Journal of the American Chemical Society, one of the most highly ranked journals in chemistry.
Belfield published three other papers this summer looking at probes that were adapted to search for proteins found in tumors. Those articles were published in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry and the Journal of Organic Chemistry.
The National Institutes of Health's National Institute for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering funded the project.
Belfield's team is continuing its research with NIH funding. The UCF researchers are working with the Sanford-Burnham Institute for Medical Research on the tests required before clinical studies can begin.UCF Stands For Opportunity --The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the 3rd largest in the nation with 56,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information visit http://news.ucf.edu
Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala | EurekAlert!
'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy