A new imaging technique to examine the small intestine is being developed by a research team from the University of Buffalo. The novel method is based on nanoparticles suspended in a liquid ingested by the patients -- the "nano juice" -- which is expected to allow physicians to identify, understand, and treat gastrointestinal diseases.
The "nano juice" reaches the small intestine and provides physicians with an unparalleled, non-invasive, real-time view of the organ, using a harmless laser light, according to the article published in the journal Nature Nanotechlogy.“Conventional imaging methods show the organ and blockages, but this method allows you to see how the small intestine operates in real time,” explained lead investigator Jonathan Lovell, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Buffalo. “Better imaging will improve our understanding of these diseases and allow doctors to more effectively care for people suffering from them.” Lovell's research team explored naphthalcyanines, which is a family of dyes that absorb large portions of light in the near-infrared spectrum. These small molecules are able to produce the ideal range for biological contrast agents. Researchers included them in the liquid so that they could be absorbed from the intestine into the blood stream. They created "nano naps," which are