Fluorescence imaging, in combination with tumor-avid near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent molecular probes, provides high specificity and sensitivity for cancer detection in preclinical animal models, and more recently, assistance during oncologic surgery. However, conventional camera-based fluorescence imaging techniques are heavily surface-weighted such that surface reflection from skin or other nontumor tissue and nonspecific fluorescence signals dominate, obscuring true cancer-specific signals and blurring tumor boundaries. To address this challenge, we applied structured illumination fluorescence molecular imaging (SIFMI) in live animals for automated subtraction of nonspecific surface signals to better delineate accumulation of an NIR fluorescent probe targeting α4β1 integrin in mice bearing subcutaneous plasma cell xenografts. SIFMI demonstrated a fivefold improvement in tumor-to-background contrast when compared with other full-field fluorescence imaging methods and required significantly reduced scanning time compared with diffuse optical spectroscopy imaging. Furthermore, the spatial gradient mapping enhanced highlighting of tumor boundaries. Through the relatively simple hardware and software modifications described, SIFMI can be integrated with clinical fluorescence imaging systems, enhancing intraoperative tumor boundary delineation from the uninvolved tissue.
Proc. SPIE. 9723, Reporters, Markers, Dyes, Nanoparticles, and Molecular Probes for Biomedical Applications VIII
KEYWORDS: Near infrared, Green fluorescent protein, Data modeling, Tumors, Tissues, Luminescence, Bone, Flow cytometry, Multispectral imaging, Receptors, Molecular imaging, In vivo imaging, Signal detection, In vitro testing
Multiple myeloma is a plasma cell malignancy characterized by monoclonal gammopathy and osteolytic bone lesions. Multiple myeloma is most commonly diagnosed in late disease stages, presenting with pathologic fracture. Early diagnosis and monitoring of disease status may improve quality of life and long-term survival for multiple myeloma patients from what is now a devastating and fatal disease. We have developed a near-infrared targeted fluorescent molecular probe with high affinity to the α4β1 integrin receptor (VLA-4)overexpressed by a majority of multiple myeloma cells as a non-radioactive analog to PET/CT tracer currently being developed for human diagnostics. A near-infrared dye that emits about 700 nm was conjugated to a high affinity peptidomimmetic. Binding affinity and specificity for multiple myeloma cells was investigated in vitro by tissue staining and flow cytometry. After demonstration of sensitivity and specificity, preclinical optical imaging studies were performed to evaluate tumor specificity in murine subcutaneous and metastatic multiple myeloma models. The VLA-4-targeted molecular probe showed high affinity for subcutaneous MM tumor xenografts. Importantly, tumor cells specific accumulation in the bone marrow of metastatic multiple myeloma correlated with GFP signal from transfected cells. Ex vivo flow cytometry of tumor tissue and bone marrow further corroborated in vivo imaging data, demonstrating the specificity of the novel agent and potential for quantitative imaging of multiple myeloma burden in these models.
Optical imaging with fluorescent contrast agents is highly sensitive for molecular imaging but is limited in depth to a few centimeters below the skin. Planar fluorescence imaging with full-field, uniform illumination and scientific camera image capture provides a portable and robust configuration for real-time, sensitive fluorescence detection with scalable resolution, but is inherently surface weighted and therefore limited in depth to a few millimeters. At the NIR region (700–1000 nm), tissue absorption and autofluorescence are relatively reduced, increasing depth penetration and reducing background signal, respectively. Optical imaging resolution scales with depth, limiting microscopic resolution with multiphoton microscopy and optical coherence tomography to < 3 mm depth. Unfortunately, patient skin and peri-tumoral tissues are not uniform, varying in thickness and color, complicating subsurface fluorescence measurements. Diffuse optical imaging methods have been developed that better quantify optical signals relative to faster full-field planar reflectance imaging, but require long scan times, complex instrumentation, and reconstruction algorithms. Here we report a novel strategy for rapid measurement of subsurface fluorescence using structured light illumination to improve quantitation of deep-seated fluorescence molecular probe accumulation. This technique, in combination with highly specific, tumor-avid fluorescent molecular probes, will easily integrate noninvasive diagnostics for superficial cancers and fluorescence guided surgery.