(ImagingTechnologyNews.Online) Oxygen is essential for human life, but within the body, certain biological environmental conditions can transform oxygen into aggressively reactive molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can damage DNA, RNA, and proteins.
Since oxidative stress is associated with various serious diseases, its detection within living organs offers a route to early diagnosis and preventive treatment, and is, thus, a matter of considerable interest to scientists working in the field of biomedicine. Recent international collaboration between the Japanese National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (QST), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski in Bulgaria led to a promising technology for this purpose: a novel quantum sensor.
According to lead scientist Rumiana Bakalova, M.D., and her colleague Ichio Aoki, M.D., of QST, “the new sensor is appropriate for the early diagnosis of pathologies accompanied by inflammation, such as infectious diseases, cancer, neurodegeneration, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and kidney dysfunction.”
This work is in its initial stages and much research is required before these sensors can be ready for medical use. But these findings reveal the potential of such technology. Bakalova noted: “Our sensor is suitable for analyzing even small redox imbalances associated with the overproduction of ROS, via MRI. And while MRI and CT by themselves have been able to diagnose advanced stage kidney damage, they have not yet been able to visualize early stages of dysfunction. The use of our probe could help clinicians identify patients in the early stage of renal damage before they need hemodialysis or kidney transplantation. With further research, our sensor could be the next generation of redox-sensitive contrast probes for early diagnosis of kidney dysfunction, and perhaps, a number of other diseases that are accompanied by inflammation.”