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A transistor-like pH nanoprobe for tumour detection and image-guided surgery

Baran Sumer, M.D.

Baran Sumer, M.D.

UT Southwestern’s Baran Sumer, M.D., Professor and Chief of the Division of Head and Neck Oncology in the Department of Otolaryngology is among other researchers to report the design and performance of a fluorescent nanoprobe with transistor-like responses (transition pH?=?6.9) for the detection of deregulated pH, which drives many of the invasive properties of cancer. There are challenges to detecting a broad range of malignant tumours at high resolution, due to profound genetic and histological differences in cancerous tissue.  The nanoprobe amplifies the fluorescence signal in the tumour over that in the surrounding normal tissues, resulting in a discretized, binary output signal with a spatial resolution smaller than 1?mm. The nanoprobe allows for the ability to:

  • Image a broad range of tumours in mouse models using a variety of clinical cameras
  • Perform real-time tumour-acidosis-guided detection and surgery of occult nodules (<1?mm3) in mice bearing head and neck or breast tumours, significantly lengthening mice survivability.
  • Show that the pH nanoprobe can be used as a reporter in a fast, quantitative assay to screen for tumour-acidosis inhibitors

The binary delineation of pH achieved by the nanoprobe promises to improve the accuracy of cancer detection, surveillance and therapy.

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