Scientists have designed gold nanoparticles, no bigger than 100 nanometres, which can be coated and used to track blood flow in the smallest blood vessels in the body.

By improving our understanding of blood flow in vivo the nanoprobes represent an opportunity to help in the early diagnosis of disease.
Light microscopy is a rapidly evolving field for understanding in vivo systems where high resolution is required. It is particularly crucial for cardiovascular research, where clinical studies are based on ultrasound technologies which inherently have lower resolution and provide limited information.

The ability to monitor blood flow in the sophisticated vascular tree (notably in the smallest elements of the microvasculature – capillaries) can provide invaluable information to understand disease processes such as thrombosis and vascular inflammation. There are further applications for the improved delivery of therapeutics, such as targeting tumours.

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