More people die from melanoma after a Stage I diagnosis than after a Stage IV diagnosis, because the tools available to clinicians do not readily identify which early-stage cancers will be aggressive. Near-infrared pump-probe microscopy detects fundamental differences in melanin structure between benign human moles and melanoma, and also correlates with metastatic potential. However, the biological mechanisms of these changes have been difficult to quantify, as many different mechanisms can contribute to the pump-probe signal. Here we use model systems (sepia, squid and synthetic eumelanin), cellular uptake studies, and a range of pump and probe wavelengths to demonstrate that the clinically observed effects come from alterations of the aggregated mode from “thick oligomer stacks” to “thin oligomer stacks” (due to changes in monomer composition) and de-aggregation of the assembled eumelanin structure. This provides the opportunity to use pump-probe microscopy for the detection and study of melanin-associated diseases.
Warren S. Warren, "Pump-probe imaging illuminates molecular changes in metastatic melanoma (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10882, Multiphoton Microscopy in the Biomedical Sciences XIX, 108821M (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 06, 2019; Published: 4 March 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2506803.6008547366001.
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