Compact solid-state CMOS single-photon detector array for in vivo NIR fluorescence lifetime oncology measurements

Homulle, H. and Powolny, E. and Stegehuis, P.L. and Dijkstra, J. and Li, D. and Homicsko, K. and Rimoldi, D. and Muehlethaler, K. and O. Prior, J. and Sinisi, R. and Dubikovskaya, E. and Charbon, E. and Bruschini, C. (2016) Compact solid-state CMOS single-photon detector array for in vivo NIR fluorescence lifetime oncology measurements. Biomedical Optics Express, 7 (5). pp. 1797-1814. ISSN 2156-7085

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    Abstract

    In near infrared fluorescence-guided surgical oncology, it is challenging to distinguish healthy from cancerous tissue. One promising research avenue consists in the analysis of the exogenous fluorophores’ lifetime, which are however in the (sub-)nanosecond range. We have integrated a single-photon pixel array, based on standard CMOS SPADs (single-photon avalanche diodes), in a compact, time-gated measurement system, named FluoCam. In vivo measurements were carried out with indocyanine green (ICG)-modified derivatives targeting the avb3 integrin, initially on a genetically engineered mouse model of melanoma injected with ICG conjugated with tetrameric cyclic pentapeptide (ICG􀀀E[c(RGDfK)4]), then on mice carrying tumour xenografts of U87-MG (a human primary glioblastoma cell line) injected with monomeric ICG􀀀c(RGDfK). Measurements on tumor, muscle and tail locations allowed us to demonstrate the feasibility of in vivo lifetime measurements with the FluoCam, to determine the characteristic lifetimes (around 500 ps) and subtle lifetime differences between bound and unbound ICG-modified fluorophores (10% level), as well as to estimate the available photon fluxes under realistic conditions.