Skin cancers, excluding melanoma, are often tracked by placing small tattoos near lesions that have been selected for further treatment. While they do their job as intended, the tattoos remain on the skin long after they’re needed and sometimes the inks can cause inflammation. Moreover, these tattoos can be confused as being lesions themselves at a later time.
A team headed by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles has come up with a new ink that can be used to temporarily mark the spot, and that is only visible when a light of specific wavelength (465 nanometers) is shined over it. Additionally, the ink is eventually washed away by the body so that it doesn’t create confusion in the future.
The new dye consists of cross-linked fluorescent supramolecular nanoparticles with a fluorescent conjugated polymer center. They have been shown to have a retention time by the body of around three months, a period similar to the time it takes in some places to go from a biopsy to treatment.
So far the researchers tested the new dye in laboratory mice, demonstrating that it works for three months and disappears thereafter, while not causing any nearby inflammation.