SINGAPORE: A research team led by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has created polymer nanoagents that can "light up" tiny areas of diseased tissues that conventional methods fail to detect.
The nanoagents can track down and lock on to diseased tissues in the body such as cancerous cells, sending back near-infrared signals which can be received and interpreted by standard imaging equipment, NTU said in its press release on Thursday (Nov 9).
When tested in mice, the method provided results 20 to 120 times more sensitive than current optical imaging methods and 10 times faster in showing up diseased tissues, the statement said.
Published recently in the scientific journal Nature Biotechnology, it could lead to future potential applications in image-guided surgery and in monitoring the effects of drugs that are seeking regulatory approval.
Associate Professor Pu Kanyi from NTU’s School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, who led the research team said: “The new polymer nanoagents we have designed and built show a great deal of promise for clinical applications. They can detect diseased tissue much faster than current optical imaging techniques, and are much safer to use."
“We hope this may lead to technology that allows doctors to diagnose and treat patients much earlier than is possible at present," he added.