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New imaging agent provides better picture of the gut
Date:7/24/2014

MADISON A multi-institutional team of researchers has developed a new nanoscale agent for imaging the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This safe, noninvasive method for assessing the function and properties of the GI tract in real time could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of gut diseases.

Illnesses such as small bowel bacterial overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease all occur in the intestine and can lead to serious side effects in patients with diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's.

Until now, there hasn't been a good way to functionally image the intestine. However, in a paper published on July 6 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers demonstrated that through a complementary approach using photoacoustic imaging and positron emission tomography (PET), they have created a multimodal functional imaging agent that could be used to perform noninvasive functional imaging of the intestine in real time.

Weibo Cai an associate professor of radiology, medical physics and biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison worked collaboratively with Jonathan Lovell, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Chulhong Kim, an assistant professor of creative information technology engineering at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea. The team developed a family of nanoparticles that can provide good optical contrast for imaging yet avoid absorption into the body and withstand the harsh conditions of the stomach and intestine.

Currently, patients drink a chalky liquid called barium and technicians view the intestine through X-rays and ultrasound. These methods, however, have many limitations, including accessibility and the possibility of radiation exposure.

The researchers' nanoparticles contain bright dyes. Patients still will drink a liquid, but it will contain the na
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Contact: Weibo Cai
wcai@uwhealth.org
608-262-1749
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Source:Eurekalert

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