Scientists from the University of Granada (UGR) in southern Spain have developed a new fluorescent dye capable of detecting, in a single test lasting just 20 minutes, the presence of phosphate and biothiol inside living cells. This scientific breakthrough could contribute significantly to the early diagnosis of diseases such as osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and prostate cancer, because abnormal levels of both substances are associated with these diseases. In a paper published online on October 2, 2015 in Chemistry-A European Journal, the researchers, who work at the UGR’s Department of Physical Chemistry, illustrate the design, synthesis, and photophysical studies carried out with this new fluorescent dye. The article is titled “New Dual Fluorescent Probe for Simultaneous Biothiol and Phosphate Bioimaging.” The senior and corresponding author of the study, Luis Crovetto González, Ph.D., explains: “We have successfully managed to create, for the first time, a dual-function dye capable of detecting both substances in the same test. Until now, this procedure has been conducted using two separate fluorescent dyes and/or two separate tests.” In 2014, the same research group patented a new non-invasive method that allows for the measurement, in real-time, of concentration levels of phosphate ions inside living cells. This new dye that they have developed is, in effect, the continuation of this previous research and subsequent patent. The importance of being able to measure phosphate ions stems precisely from the fact that these measurements can be employed to assess the bioavailability of drugs used to treat certain diseases, including osteoporosis.
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