Optical imaging of metastatic tumors using a folate-targeted fluorescent probe

Michael D. Kennedy, Karim N. Jallad, David H. Thompson, Dor Ben-Amotz, Philip S. Low

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


We describe the use of a tumor targeting ligand, the vitamin folic acid, to deliver an attached fluorescent probe to both primary and metastatic tumors overexpressing the folate receptor. Upon laser excitation, derived images of normal tissues generally show little or no fluorescence, whereas images of folate receptor-expressing tumors display bright fluorescence that can be easily distinguished from adjacent normal tissue. Furthermore, metastatic tumor loci of submillimeter size can also be visualized without the aid of image processing or enhancement. The sharp distinction between tumor and normal tissues provided by this technique could find application in the localization and resection of tumor tissue during surgery or in the enhanced endoscopic detection and staging of cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-641
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2003


  • Folate receptor
  • Folate-fluorescent probe conjugates
  • Optical imaging of tumors
  • Tumor targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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