International researchers have reported a nanoparticle (74 nm in diameter) that can be used as a contrast agent for six different medical imaging techniques:
  1. Near IR
  2. CT Scanning
  3. Fluorescence Imaging
  4. Photoacoustic Imaging
  5. PET Scanning
  6. Cerenkov-Luminescence Imaging
The core of the particle is covered by a porphyrin-phospholipid (PoP) wrapper. The initial tests were conducted on a turkey breast as the closest simulator to the human breast tissue.

  1. Addition of a targeting molecule to the surface of the nanoparticles, allowing them to be absorbed by cancerous cells. This will allow for better mapping of tumour cells.
  2. Imbibing the best properties of six important scanning techniques in current use into one procedure.

Expert Speak:
  • David Cormode, a radiologist at UPenn says, "I look forward to future work where the agent is used for targeted imaging." He also cautioned, "Safety and excretion (of the contrast) will have to be studied prior to translation to patients."
  • Guanying Chen, of University of Buffalo and a part of the research team, says, "An advantage of this imaging contrast agent is that it could enable biomedical imaging at multiple scales - from single-molecule to cell imaging, as well as from vascular and organ-imaging to whole-body bioimaging."
  • A single imaging machine capable of performing all the six scans has not yet been built but Chen's teammate, biomedical engineer Jonathan Lovell says, "Creating a higher-order integrated scanner is not a simple task, but luckily there has been a lot of R&D into this topic in recent times."

Read full research at Advanced Materials
Read full news at Physics World