Tag Archives: Jim Piper

New nanoparticles help detect deep-tissue cancers

6 August 2018:

Researchers have developed a new form of nanoparticle and associated imaging technique that can detect multiple disease biomarkers, including those for breast cancer, found in deep-tissue in the body.

Reported in the science journal ‘Nature Nanotechnology’, the research opens up a new avenue in minimally invasive disease diagnosis and will potentially have widespread use both for biomedical research and for clinical applications.

“The use of nanoparticles for bio-imaging of disease is an exciting and fast-moving area of science,” says research author Dr Yiqing Lu (pictured) at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), Macquarie University.

“Specially designed nanoparticles can be placed in biological samples or injected into specific sites of the body and then ‘excited’ by introduced light such as that from a laser or an optical fibre,” he says.

“Disease biomarkers targeted by these nanoparticles then reveal themselves, by emitting their own specific wavelength signatures which are able to be identified and imaged.”

A major limitation however is that only a single disease biomarker at a time is able to be distinguished and quantified in the body using this type of detection technique.

“Detection of multiple biomarkers (known as multiplexing) in the body has been a major challenge for researchers,” says Dr Lu.

“The tissue environment is extremely complex—full of light absorbing and scattering elements such as blood, muscle and cartilage. And introducing multiple nanoparticles to a site, operating at multiple wavelengths to detect multiple biomarkers, produces too much interference. It makes it extremely difficult to determine accurately if a range of disease biomarkers are present.”

What Dr Lu and the research team have done to solve this issue has been to engineer innovative nanoparticles that emit light at the same frequency (near infrared light) but that are able to be coded to emit light for set periods of time (in the microsecond-to-millisecond time range).

“It is the duration of the light-emission and the biomarker reaction to this timed amount of light (known as luminescence lifetime) that produces a clearly identifiable molecular signature,” he says.

“Multiple disease biomarkers can be clearly identified and imaged based on this approach as there are no overlapping wavelengths interfering with the reading.”

“This enables high-contrast optical biomedical imaging that can detect multiple disease biomarkers all at the one time.” says Dr Lu.

In an exciting breakthrough in laboratory testing, the innovative nanoparticles have been able to detect multiple forms of breast cancer tumours in mice.

“We’re extremely excited where this work is taking us,” says Professor Fan Zhang at Fudan University (China) and joint-lead author on the research publication.

“We were able to successfully detect and identify key biomarkers for a number of different sub-types of breast cancer.”

“This technique has the potential to provide a low-invasive method of determining if breast cancer is present, as well as the form of breast cancer, without the need to take tissue samples via biopsy.”

“Ultimately our novel nanoparticles will enable quantitative assessment for a wide range of disease and cancer biomarkers, all at one time. The technique will be able to be used for early-stage disease screening and potentially utilised in integrated therapy,” says Professor Fan Zhang.

Professor Jim Piper, CNBP node leader at Macquarie University and also an author on the paper is similarly upbeat with the results that have been obtained.

“This is a major advance in a long-term effort at our Centre at Macquarie University to develop innovative techniques for simultaneous detection of multiple disease markers in humans and animals,” he says.

“Next steps in our research collaboration are to further refine the nanoparticles, to examine issues related to a clinical roll-out of the technology and to explore further applications and disease areas where this technique could be best utilised.”

Reported in the prestigious journal ‘Nature Nanotechnology’, the international team of researchers involved with the study are based at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), Macquarie University and Fudan University, China.

Notably, the work is an extension of previous nanoparticle-imaging research undertaken by Dr Lu at Macquarie University which has been awarded a patent in the United States and China, and which has already been licensed with commercial partners.

Journal: Nature Nanotechnology.

Publication title: Lifetime-engineered NIR-II nanoparticles unlock multiplexed in vivo imaging.

Authors: Yong Fan, Peiyuan Wang, Yiqing Lu, Rui Wang, Lei Zhou, Xianlin Zheng, Xiaomin Li, James A. Piper & Fan Zhang.

Below: A stylised image of cancer detecting nanoparticles in the body. Credit: Yong Fan.

CNBP at ‘Science meets Business’

9 November 2017:

As silver sponsor at the annual STA ‘Science meets Business’ event held in Sydney, November 9th 2017, CNBP was extremely well represented, supporting a push to improve engagement and collaboration between the research sector and Australian industry.

In addition to having numerous Centre scientists in attendance – those with a strong interest and focus on commercialisation and translation of research, CNBP also had  senior personnel speak and present in a variety of capacities.

This included CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson (pictured top left), who together with  Andrew Grant (Availer) discussed CNBP’s commercialisation success and the taking of ideas from ‘boom to the showroom.’  Deep dive (idea creation), value-add solutions, solving pain points and interesting new jobs were all touched upon in a quick fire exchange of views.

Additionally, Centre Investigator and Miniprobes founder Prof Robert McLaughlin participated in the ‘soapbox sesssion’ where three competitively-selected ‘soapbox leaders’ made compelling pitches, sparking robust discussion as they quizzed delegates for perspectives on new ideas to create useful collaboration.

“It was great to be at this years ‘Science meets Business’, bringing CNBP science and innovation to industry and learnings back again,” concluded Prof Hutchinson. “I look forward to hearing about other successful collaborations at next year’s STA event.”

Below – CNBP Investigator and founder of Miniprobes Prof Robert McLaughlin pitches his smart needle to a science/business audience.

 

 

New nanoparticle discovery to aid super-resolution imaging

Prof Jim Piper26 April 2017:

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), Macquarie University, the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Peking University and Shanghai Jiao-tong University have made a breakthrough in the development of practical super-resolution optical microscopy that will pave the way for the detailed study of live cells and organisms, on a scale 10 times smaller than can currently be achieved with conventional microscopy.

Reported in Nature, the international team of researchers has demonstrated that bright luminescent nanoparticles can be switched on and off using a low-power infrared laser beam, and used to achieve images with a super resolution of 28nm.

Professor Jim Piper (pictured), leader of the research team at Macquarie University and the CNBP sees these nanoparticles as having new unique properties. “These allow researchers to see well beyond normal limits of standard microscopes. It will let you see deeper and more clearly at the cellular and intra- cellular level—where proteins, antibodies and enzymes ultimately run the machinery of life.”

The research featured in BioPhotonics World.

New nanoparticle discovery to aid super-resolution imaging

23 February 2017:

Our researchers and collaborators have made a breakthrough in the development of practical super-resolution optical microscopy that will pave the way for the detailed study of live cells and organisms, on a scale 10 times smaller than can currently be achieved  with conventional microscopy.

Reported in Nature, it was demonstrated that bright luminescent nanoparticles can be switched on and off using a low-power infrared laser beam, and used to achieve images with a super resolution of 28nm (about 1/36 the wavelength of light).

Find out more by accessing the paper online.

Journal: Nature

Title: Amplified stimulated emission in upconversion nanoparticles for super-resolution nanoscopy.

Authors: Yujia Liu, Yiqing Lu, Xusan Yang, Xianlin Zheng, Shihui Wen, Fan Wang, Xavier Vidal, Jiangbo Zhao, Deming Liu, Zhiguang Zhou, Chenshuo Ma, Jiajia Zhou, James A. Piper, Peng Xi & Dayong Jin.

 

Life membership of AOS

jimpiper8 December 2015:

Prof Jim Piper, CNBP Macquarie University Node Leader has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of the Australian Optical Society (AOS) following the organisation’s annual general meeting, held in 2015.

The award recognizes Jim’s contribution to the society over many years. His signature was on the Memorandum of Association that established the AOS as an association in 1983. He took over the AOS presidency in 1984-1985, and was the recipient of the AOS W.H. (Beattie) Steel Medal – in 1997.

Also awarded life membership at the December 2015 meeting were Macquarie University’s Prof. Brian Orr and Prof. Ross McPhedran from the University of Sydney.

All continue to be involved with the AOS on an ongoing basis.

CNBP Node Director presents in US

jimpiper11 May 2015:

CNBP Director, Macquarie University Node, Prof Jim Piper has attended the ‘Enabling Technologies Technical Exchange Meeting 2015’, recently held in Arlington, Virginia.

The event, held under the auspices of the 2015 United States-Australia Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology, looks to enhance strategic scientific dialogue between the two countries as well as promote joint efforts in addressing complex problems facing the world today.

This year’s theme was ‘Enabling Technologies’ with Prof Piper giving two well received talks – ‘Supporting Structures for Australian Discovery Research’ and ‘Time-coded Luminescent Nanoparticles for High Contrast Detection of Specific (sub) Cellular Targets’.

 

Publication in Scientific Reports

opticscomembryonicstemcell13 October 2014: Time Gated Luminescence

Practical Implementation, Characterization and Applications of a Multi-Colour Time-Gated Luminescence Microscope

Authors: Lixin Zhang,  Xianlin Zheng, Wei Deng, Yiqing Lu, Severine Lechevallier, Zhiqiang  Ye, Ewa M. Goldys, Judith M. Dawes, James A. Piper, Jingli Yuan, Marc Verelst & Dayong Jin

For the article see: Scientific Reports 4,: 6597