Near-infrared light emitting dyes can image tumors and others objects fairly deep within the body.
Indocyanine green is greatly in use for ophthalmic angiographies, and cardiac studies, and other applications. However, the quality of the image the indocyanine green helps to create can be quite limited.
Now, scientists at Stanford University have now developed a new set of dyes that can perform better than indocyanine green while being rapidly washed away by the body. According to the scientists, it is possible to produce sharper images from deeper within the body with the dye.
The study was led by chemistry Professor Hongjie Dai at the University.
"The difficulty is how to make a dye that is both fluorescent in the infrared and water soluble," said Alex Antaris, a graduate student in Dai's lab and the first author on a recent paper in the journal Nature Materials. "A lot of dyes can glow but are not dissolvable in water, so we can't have them flowing in human blood. Making a dye that is both is really the difficulty. We struggled for about three years or so and finally we succeeded."