Fluorescence can be used for instance to analyze the regulation and expression of genes, to locate proteins in cells and tissues, to follow metabolic pathways and to study the location and migration of cells. Of particular importance is the combination of fluorescence imaging with novel techniques that allow tomographic three-dimensional visualization of objects in living organisms.
At the Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health together with the Technische Universität München an own institute is concerned with the development and refinement of such new technologies: the Institute for Biological and Medical Imaging headed by Professor Vasilis Ntziachristos.
The quality of optical imaging in tissues is naturally limited, since beyond a penetration depth of a few hundred micrometers the photons are massively scattered due to interactions with cell membranes and organelles which results in blurred images. In the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Prof. Ntziachristos and his team, together with colleagues from the Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA, report on the use of the so-called early arriving photons together with tomographic principles. Early photons are the first photons that arrive onto a photon detector after illumination of tissue by an ultra-short photon pulse and undergo less scattering in comparison to photons arriving at later times. Compared to continuous illumination measurements a combination of these less scattered photons with 360-degree illumination-detection resulted in sharper and more accurate images of mice under investigation.
With this technique, called ‚Early Photon Tomography’ (EPT), the scientists imaged lung tumors in living mice. For this purpose they injected a substance into to the animals, which normally does not fluoresce, but becomes fluorescent after contact with certain cysteine proteases such as cathepsins. The amount of these proteases is enriched in lung tumors which allows fluorescence imaging of the tumor tissue. Comparison with conventional x-ray tomography showed, that EPT is not only a very sensitive technique for imaging of lung tumors in living organisms, but also has the potential to reveal biochemical changes that reflect the progression of the disease, which could not be detected by conventional X-ray imaging.
While early-photons are typically associated with reduced signal available for image formation, the authors demonstrated that due to the wide-field implementation, EPT operates with very small reduction in average signal strength as in conventional tomographic methods operating using continuous light illumination. In this respect EPT is a practical method for significantly improving the performance of fluorescence tomography in animals over existing implementations. At present EPT is practicable only with small animals, but – as stated by the authors of the paper – further development of the equipment can allow niche applications of the technique also with larger organisms including humans.
Michael van den Heuvel | alfa
'Neuron-reading' nanowires could accelerate development of drugs for neurological diseases
12.04.2017 | University of California - San Diego
PET radiotracer design for monitoring targeted immunotherapy
10.04.2017 | Society of Nuclear Medicine
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy