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Mol Cancer Ther. 2003 May;2(5):489-96.

Near-infrared optical imaging of proteases in cancer.

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  • 1Center for Molecular Imaging Research, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.


Near-infrared optical imaging is a newer imaging technique that, coupled with sensitive enzymatically specific fluorescent beacons, shows much promise for earlier detection of many cancers and their in situ characterization. On the basis of animal studies demonstrating visualization of micrometastasis-sized tumors and the ability to evaluate therapeutic enzyme inhibition real-time, such imaging may be incorporated in the clinical imaging paradigm in the future, both to improve cancer screening as well as for monitoring therapy in individual patients. This review details some of the related biology, optical probe design, and required hardware, with in vivo cathepsin and matrix metalloprotinease imaging used as examples.

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