Abstract

Fluorescence imaging is severely limited by the background and autofluorescence of tissues for in vivo detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). Time-gated luminescence (TGL) imaging, in combination with luminescent probes that possess hundreds of microsecond emission lifetimes, can be used to effectively suppress this background, which has predominantly nanosecond lifetimes. This Letter demonstrates the feasibility of TGL imaging using luminescent probes for the in vivo real time imaging and tracking of single CTCs circulating freely in the blood vessels with higher accuracy given by substantially higher signal-to-noise ratio. The luminescent probe used in this Letter was a commercial ${\rm Eu}^{3+}$ chelate (EuC) nanosphere with a super-long lifetime of near 800 µs, which enabled TGL imaging to achieve background-free detection with ${\sim}{5}$ times higher SNR versus steady state. Phantom and in vivo mouse studies indicated that EuC labeled tumor cells moving in medium or bloodstream at the speed of 1–2 mm/s could be captured in real time.

© 2020 Optical Society of America

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Supplementary Material (2)

NameDescription
» Visualization 1       This media shows time-gated luminescence imaging of a labeled cancer cell moving in a tubing. A syringe pump was employed to continuously delivering medium containing ~105 MDA-MB-231 cells labeled with EuC in a tubing to mimic blood stream in blood v
» Visualization 2       This media shows time-gated luminescence imaging of a labeled cancer cell circulating in blood vessel. A nude mouse was intravenously injected with 105 EuC labeled MDA-MB-231 tumor cells in a 200 µL bolus via lateral tail vein. A blood vessel with di

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Figures (4)

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