Bachelor of Arts, Trinity University (2002)
Bachelor of Science, Trinity University (2002)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Missouri Columbia (2014)
Tumor-lymph node (LN) metastasis is the dominant prognostic factor for tumor staging and therapeutic decision-making. However, concurrently visualizing metastasis and performing imaging-guided lymph node surgery is challenging. Here, a multiplexed-near-infrared-II (NIR-II) is reported in vivo imaging system using nonoverlapping NIR-II probes with markedly suppressed photon scattering and zero-autofluorescence, enabling visualization of the metastatic tumor and the tumor metastatic proximal LNs resection. A bright and tumor-seeking donor-acceptor-donor (D-A-D) dye, IR-FD, is screened for primary/metastatic tumor imaging in the NIR-IIa (1100-1300 nm) window. This optimized D-A-D dye exhibits greatly improved quantum yield of organic D-A-D fluorophores in aqueous solutions (6.0%) and good in vivo performance. Ultrabright PbS/CdS core/shell quantum dots (QDs) with dense polymer coating are used to visualize cancer-invaded sentinel LNs in the NIR-IIb (>1500 nm) window. Compared to clinically used indocyanine green, the QDs show superior brightness and photostability (no obvious bleaching even after continuous laser irradiation for 5 h); thus, only a picomolar dose is required for sentinel LNs detection. This combination of dual-NIR-II image-guided surgery can be performed under bright light, adding to its convenience and appeal in clinical use.
View details for DOI 10.1002/adma.201907365
View details for PubMedID 32022975
Hypoxia (pO2 ≤ ~1.5%) is an important characteristic of tumor microenvironments that directly correlates with resistance against first-line therapies and tumor proliferation/infiltration. The ability to accurately identify hypoxic tumor cells/tissue could afford tailored therapeutic regimens for personalized treatment, development of more-effective therapies, and discerning the mechanisms underlying disease progression. Fluorogenic constructs identifying aforesaid cells/tissue operate by targeting the bioreductive activity of primarily nitroreductases (NTRs), but collectively present photophysical and/or physicochemical shortcomings that could limit effectiveness. To overcome these limitations, we present the rational design, development, and evaluation of the first activatable ultracompact xanthene core-based molecular probe (NO 2 -Rosol) for selectively imaging NTR activity that affords an "OFF-ON" near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence response (> 700 nm) alongside a remarkable Stokes shift (> 150 nm) via NTR activity-facilitated modulation to its energetics whose resultant interplay discontinues an intramolecular d-PET fluorescence-quenching mechanism transpiring between directly-linked electronically-uncoupled π-systems comprising its components. DFT calculations guided selection of a suitable fluorogenic scaffold and nitroaromatic moiety candidate that when adjoined could (i) afford such photophysical response upon bioreduction by upregulated NTR activity in hypoxic tumor cells/tissue and (ii) employ a retention mechanism strategy that capitalizes on an inherent physical property of the NIR fluorogenic scaffold for achieving signal amplification. NO 2 -Rosol demonstrated 705 nm NIR fluorescence emission and 157 nm Stokes shift, selectivity for NTR over relevant bioanalytes, and a 28-/12-fold fluorescence enhancement in solution and between cells cultured under different oxic conditions, respectively. In establishing feasibility for NO 2 -Rosol to provide favorable contrast levels in solutio/vitro, we anticipate NO 2 -Rosol doing so in preclinical studies.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.snb.2019.127446
View details for PubMedID 32265579
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7138224
An optical molecular imaging contrast agent that is tailored toward lymphatic mapping techniques implementing near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence image-guided navigation in the planning and surgical treatment of cancers would significantly aid in enabling the real-time visualization of the potential metastatic tumor-draining lymph node(s) for their needed surgical biopsy and/or removal, thereby ensuring unmissed disease to prevent recurrence and improve patient survival rates. Here, the development of the first NIR fluorescent rosol dye (THQ-Rosol) tailored to overcome the limitations arising from the suboptimal properties of the generic molecular fluorescent dyes commonly used for such applications is described. In developing THQ-Rosol, we prepared a progressive series of torsionally restrictive N-substituted non-NIR fluorescent rosol dyes based on density functional theory (DFT) calculations, wherein we discerned high correlations amongst their calculated energetics, modeled N-C3' torsion angles, and evaluated properties. We leveraged these strong relationships to rationally design THQ-Rosol, wherein DFT calculations inspired an innovative approach and synthetic strategy to afford an uncharged xanthene core-based scaffold/molecular platform with an aptly elevated p Ka value alongside NIR fluorescence emission (ca.700-900 nm). THQ-Rosol exhibited 710 nm NIR fluorescence emission, a 160 nm Stokes shift, robust photostability, and an aptly elevated p Ka value (5.85) for affording pH-insensitivity and optimal contrast upon designed use. We demonstrated the efficacy of THQ-Rosol for lymphatic mapping with in vitro and in vivo studies, wherein it revealed timely tumor drainage and afforded definitive lymph node visualization upon its administration and accumulation. THQ-Rosol serves as a proof-of-concept for the effective tailoring of an uncharged xanthene core-based scaffold/molecular platform toward a specific imaging application using rational design.
View details for PubMedID 30669835
NIR-II fluorescence imaging greatly reduces scattering coefficients for nearly all tissue types at long wavelengths, benefiting deep tissue imaging. However, most of the NIR-II fluorophores suffer from low quantum yields and/or short circulation time that limit the quality of NIR-II imaging. Here, we engineered a supramolecular assembly of protein complex with lodged cyanine dyes to produce a brilliant NIR-II fluorophore, providing a NIR-II quantum yield of 21.2% with prolonged circulation time. Computational modeling revealed the mechanism for fluorescence enhancement and identified key parameters governing albumin complex for NIR-II fluorophores. Our complex afforded high-resolution microvessel imaging, with a 3-hour imaging window compared to 2 min for free dye alone. Furthermore, the complexation strategy was applied to an antibody-derived assembly, offering high-contrast tumor imaging without affecting the targeting ability of the antibody. This study provides a facile strategy for producing high-performance NIR-II fluorophores by chaperoning cyanine dyes with functional proteins.
View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.aaw0672
View details for PubMedID 31548981
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6744268
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