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Molecular photoacoustic imaging of stem-cell driven tissue regeneration

Final Report Summary - MOPIT (Molecular photoacoustic imaging of stem-cell driven tissue regeneration)

During this five year project, we developed novel methods and technologies that will enable the unambiguous detection and 3D visualisation of contrast agents using photoacoustic tomography, an emerging biomedical imaging technology. The new methods have shown that fluorescent contrast agents and genetically expressed absorbing proteins can be detected with high specificity in high resolution 3D images acquired in living organisms. These approaches not only enable the detection of cells that normally provide insufficient contrast for photoacoustic imaging. They also pave the way for the development of novel molecular probes and methods that allow the study of how the environmental conditions, such as pH and local oxygen concentration, affect cells and tissues. In addition, genetic reporters will provide the opportunity to ‘spy on cells’, i.e. to obtain information on how genes and gene products affect internal cellular biochemical processes and allow the study of complex biological processes, such as cell growth and differentiation.