The Korea Basic Science Institute and the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology announced on July 4 that their research team led by Dr. Hong Kwan-soo, Park Hye-seon, Seo Young-deok and Nam Sang-hwan developed upconversion nanoparticles that have high levels of biocompatibility and stability and allow near-infrared imaging along with a high-sensitive biometric tracking imaging technique with which a path of movement of these particles can be tracked.
When injected with low energy (long wavelength), the upconversion nanoparticles with a size of 20 nanometers emit high energy (short wavelength), allowing their path of movement to be monitored for an extended period of time. In addition, the particles absorb and release near-infrared rays penetrating the human body while being free from photobleaching in spite of a long time of exposure to a light source, and thus quantitative analysis can be carried out even in a living body.
Furthermore, the level of sensitivity of these nanoparticles is more than four times those of existing nano substances. This means that precise observation can be conducted with a smaller amount and sentinel lymph nodes, which are important in cancer metastasis analysis, can be seen much more accurately than with optical images.
“Images obtained by biometric tracking are required for a long period of time during monitoring of cell therapy processes using stem cells or immune cells and metastatic cancer diagnosis,” said Dr. Hong Kwan-soo, adding, “As such, these upconversion nanoparticles will be extensively utilized in quantitative image analysis.” Details of the research are available in the June 6 edition of the Scientific Reports.