Hailey, Jamila, Tom and Kian's paper is accepted in Nature Communications!
A Bioreducible N-oxide-based Probe for Photoacoustic Imaging of Hypoxia
Hypoxia occurs when limited oxygen supply impairs physiological functions and is a pathological hallmark of many diseases including cancer and ischemia. Thus, detection of hypoxia can guide treatment planning and serve as a predictor of patient prognosis. Unfortunately, current methods suffer from invasiveness, poor resolution and low specificity. To address these limitations, we present Hypoxia Probe 1 (HyP-1), a hypoxia-responsive agent for photoacoustic imaging. This emerging modality converts safe, non-ionizing light to ultrasound waves, enabling acquisition of high-resolution 3D images in deep tissue. HyP-1 features an N-oxide trigger that is reduced in the absence of oxygen by haem proteins such as CYP450 enzymes. Reduction of HyP-1 produces a spectrally distinct product, facilitating identification via photoacoustic imaging. HyP-1 exhibits selectivity for hypoxic activation in vitro, in living cells and in multiple disease models in vivo. HyP-1 is also compatible with NIR fluorescence imaging, establishing its versatility as a multimodal imaging agent.