Can tattoo inks improve cancer detection?

Sept. 4, 2020

Researchers have developed new imaging contrast agents using common dyes — such as tattoo ink and food dye — that can attach to nanoparticles and illuminate cancers.

The research, conducted at the University of Southern California's Viterbi Department of Biomedical Engineering, could allow medical professionals to better differentiate between cancer cells and normal adjacent cells.

Currently, there are a limited amount of optical contrast agents approved for clinical use due to the safety challenges of imaging using nanoparticles. The Viterbi team discovered a unique source of optical contrasting agents from coloring agents that already had FDA approvals, which researchers hope may enable them to be more easily and safely implemented in imaging practice.

Read the research