Development of needle-based microendoscopy for fluorescence molecular imaging of breast tumor models

Chao Wei Chen, Tiffany R. Blackwell, Renee Naphas, Paul T. Winnard, Venu Raman, Kristine Glunde, Yu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fluorescence molecular imaging enables the visualization of basic molecular processes such as gene expression, enzyme activity, and disease-specific molecular interactions in vivo using targeted contrast agents, and therefore, is being developed for early detection and in situ characterization of breast cancers. Recent advances in developing near-infrared fluorescent imaging contrast agents have enabled the specific labeling of human breast cancer cells in mouse model systems. In synergy with contrast agent development, this paper describes a needle-based fluorescence molecular imaging device that has the strong potential to be translated into clinical breast biopsy procedures. This microendoscopy probe is based on a gradient-index (GRIN) lens interfaced with a laser scanning microscope. Specifications of the imaging performance, including the field-of-view, transverse resolution, and focus tracking characteristics were calibrated. Orthotopic MDA-MB-231 breast cancer xenografts stably expressing the tdTomato red fluorescent protein (RFP) were used to detect the tumor cells in this tumor model as a proof of principle study. With further development, this technology, in conjunction with the development of clinically applicable, injectable fluorescent molecular imaging agents, promises to perform fluorescence molecular imaging of breast cancers in vivo for breast biopsy guidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-352
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Innovative Optical Health Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Breast cancer
  • fluorescence molecular imaging
  • microendoscopy
  • optical imaging
  • tdTomato fluorescent protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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