Activity-Based Photoacoustic Probes for Detection of Disease Biomarkers beyond Oncology

Michael C. Lee, Kayla Landers, Jefferson Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The earliest activity-based photoacoustic (PA) probes were developed as diagnostic agents for cancer. Since this seminal work over a decade ago that specifically targeted matrix metalloproteinase-2, PA instrumentation, dye platforms, and probe designs have advanced considerably, allowing for the detection of an impressive list of cancer types. However, beyond imaging for oncology purposes, the ability to selectively visualize a given disease biomarker, which can range from aberrant enzymatic activity to the overproduction of reactive small molecules, is also being exploited to study a myriad of noncancerous disease states. In this review, we have assembled a collection of recent papers to highlight the design principles that enable activity-based sensing via PA imaging with respect to biomarker identification and strategies to trigger probe activation under specific conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-232
Number of pages10
JournalACS Bio and Med Chem Au
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 21 2023


  • activatable probes
  • activity-based sensing
  • biomarkers
  • biomedical imaging
  • human diseases
  • in vivo
  • molecular imaging
  • optoacoustic
  • photoacoustic
  • preclinical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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