July 5, 2007 Scientists are reporting an advance toward expanding the medical use of LOIS, an innovative new imaging technology called the laser optoacoustic imaging system that could eventually join CT, MRI and other mainstay diagnostic technologies.
In an article scheduled for the July 11 issue of ACS’ Nano Letters, a monthly journal, Massoud Motamedi and colleagues explain that LOIS uses a laser beam and ultrasound to detect early-stage cancer. LOIS, they note, has advantages over conventional optical and ultrasound imaging methods in being able to “see” deep into the body and reveal diseased tissue. Use of LOIS, however, has been limited by lack of a suitable contrast agent, a material that can be injected into the body to make diseased tissues even more visible during the imaging session.
Their research involved imaging laboratory mice with LOIS before and after an injection of gold nanorods, minute rod-shaped clusters of gold atoms that are being evaluated by other scientists for uses ranging from carriers for cancer-treatment drugs to digital data storage. Very low concentrations of the nanorods successfully enhanced the LOIS images, revealing deep tissues that cannot be visualized with other imaging techniques.
That deep insight, combined with the ability to link gold nanorods to monoclonal antibodies that specifically target cancer cells, may mean a promising new approach to early detection of cancer, the report states.
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