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Molecular detection of Gram-positive bacteria in the human lung through an optical fiber-based endoscope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Dominic Norberg
  • Sheelagh Duncan
  • Thomas Quinn
  • Irene Young
  • Nikola Krstajić
  • Helen E Parker
  • Michael G Tanner
  • Kerrianne Harrington
  • Harry A C Wood
  • Timothy A Birks
  • James M Stone

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    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY)

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Early online date11 Sep 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2020


PURPOSE: The relentless rise in antimicrobial resistance is a major societal challenge and requires, as part of its solution, a better understanding of bacterial colonization and infection. To facilitate this, we developed a highly efficient no-wash red optical molecular imaging agent that enables the rapid, selective, and specific visualization of Gram-positive bacteria through a bespoke optical fiber-based delivery/imaging endoscopic device.

METHODS: We rationally designed a no-wash, red, Gram-positive-specific molecular imaging agent (Merocy-Van) based on vancomycin and an environmental merocyanine dye. We demonstrated the specificity and utility of the imaging agent in escalating in vitro and ex vivo whole human lung models (n = 3), utilizing a bespoke fiber-based delivery and imaging device, coupled to a wide-field, two-color endomicroscopy system.

RESULTS: The imaging agent (Merocy-Van) was specific to Gram-positive bacteria and enabled no-wash imaging of S. aureus within the alveolar space of whole ex vivo human lungs within 60 s of delivery into the field-of-view, using the novel imaging/delivery endomicroscopy device.

CONCLUSION: This platform enables the rapid and specific detection of Gram-positive bacteria in the human lung.

    Research areas

  • Optical imaging, Fluorescence, Bacteria, Gram-positive, Lung, Optical endomicroscopy

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