Adipose-specific fluorescent dyes for in vivo imaging

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Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have developed novel adipose-specific fluorescent dyes for use in image-guided surgery of anatomical structures, such as nerves, that are surrounded by adipose tissue. The generated fluorophores exhibit reduced nerve accumulation, and demonstrate higher adipose-to-nerve and adipose-to-muscle contrast than existing adipose-selective dyes. 

Technology Overview

The identification of normal and diseased tissues during surgical procedures is largely dependent upon a surgeon’s experience and skill level.  However, surgeries can become challenging when the normal location, appearance, or physical properties of anatomical structures, such as nerves, is altered.  Although the specific labeling of nerves would aid in their identification, many existing nerve-specific fluorophores also accumulate in adipose tissues, making it difficult to distinguish between the two different tissues.  Thus, there is a need to develop fluorophores that are adipose-specific with minimal nerve accumulation.

A novel Nile Red derivative generated by Dr. Gibbs and her team exhibits adipose-specific contrast and decreased nerve accumulation, as compared to the parent Nile Red compound. Notably, in vivo tissue staining and ratiometric imaging using this derivative demonstrates improved adipose-to-nerve and adipose-to-muscle contrast, compared to Nile Red. This novel adipose-specific fluorophore could be used in combination with existing nerve-specific fluorophores in ratiometric imaging to enhance nerve-specific fluorescent contrast during fluorescence-guided surgery. 

Licensing Opportunity

This technology is available for exclusive licensing and/or collaborative co-development.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Anne Carlson
Assoc Dir, Tech Dev & Licensing
Oregon Health & Science University
Jesse Korber
Connor Barth
Summer Dowell (Gibbs)
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