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A dye to try: New compound provides improved imaging, safety

A team of Stanford-led researchers has created a dye capable of identifying tumors in a variety of tissues and providing surgeons with real-time video feedback during surgery.

And the best part of this molecular fluorescent dye? It's much safer for humans than many other existing dyes because it can be excreted through urine within 24 hours, the researchers say.

They explain in a recent Stanford News article:

"The difficulty is how to make a dye that is both fluorescent in the infrared and water soluble," said Alex Antaris, a chemistry graduate student 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."

The new dye also provides more detailed images than were previously available, making it helpful for diagnostics or for guiding surgery, Antaris said.

The paper's senior authors are Hongjie Dai, PhD, professor of chemistry, and Zhen Cheng, PhD, associate professor of radiology, and Xuechan Hong, PhD, of Wuhan University, China.

Previously: Better tumor-imaging contrast agent: the surgical equivalent of "cut along dotted line"?, Stanford instructor called out for his innovative — and beautiful — imaging work and New molecular imaging could improve bladder-cancer detection  
Image by Alexander Antaris

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