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Innovative Answers to Biomedical Research Questions

Quantitative near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence detection can help you find solutions to your complex research questions. Rely on NIR detection for developing efficient drug delivery systems, targeted therapeutics, surgical contrast agents, or even for monitoring the molecular basis of disease.

Advance scientific understanding with LI-COR near-infrared technology

Probes are useful targeting agents that can provide insight into your research goals, such as evaluating molecular marker expression or monitoring disease progression and treatment efficacy in animals.

There are two major aspects in probe development: probe design and validation solutions. Both can incorporate innovative NIR technology, such as infrared dyes and NIR detection imagers, which can help improve your experimental results.

Probe design

A labeled probe is conjugated with a directly detectable fluorophore, which can then be excited with a specific wavelength to emit light. This light is in a wavelength that differs slightly from the one with which it is excited. You can convert your targeting molecules into labeled probes or labeled therapeutic agents by conjugating them with IRDye® Infrared Dye fluorophores. A protein target molecule can be labeled using an IRDye Protein Labeling Kit.

steps of probe design illustration

Validation solutions

Before moving your dye-conjugated probes and therapeutic agents into clinical experiments, validate them in vitro and ex vivo with the Odyssey® CLx Imaging System or in vivo and ex vivo with the Pearl® Trilogy Small Animal Imaging System.

steps of probe validation illustration


Once a dye is conjugated to a molecule, it allows the probe’s activity to be tracked, and subsequent imaging provides sensitive, consistent detection for in vitro and in vivo use. For future clinical translation, evaluate dyes with potential for human applications.

Innovative probe design solutions

Get one step ahead of the game

Take your imaging probes and therapeutic agents from bench to clinic with versatile dye technology.

IRDye Infrared Dyes are optimized for NIR detection (Fig. 1), where light absorption and autofluorescence of cellular and tissue components are low. IRDye Infrared Dye fluorophores consequently provide high signal-to-noise ratios for detection and quantification. Probes labeled with these fluorophores allow for biochemical activity measurements of in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo assays with exceptionally high sensitivity and photostability. IRDye Infrared Dyes are available for multiple conjugation chemistries, such as NHS esters, maleimides, carboxylates, and Click Chemistry.

Additionally, probes and therapeutic agents conjugated to these dyes have propelled more than 20 Phase I and Phase II clinical trials worldwide.

near-infrared imaging window graph
Figure 1. Image in the NIR imaging window for optimal sensitivity. Hemoglobin (Hb) and other tissue components strongly absorb visible light. In NIR wavelengths, tissue absorbance is dramatically reduced, allowing for deeper penetration of light through the tissue. Above 820 nm, light absorbance by water increases. Imaging between 700 and 800 nm is therefore optimal for in vivo assays because interference from water, tissue, and other cellular components is minimal.

“Among the fluorophores that we've used, the LI-COR dye, IRDye 800CW, seems to provide the ability to detect the tumors while maintaining suitable pharmacokinetics for use in vivo. It has worked quite well with our preclinical models.”

Dr. Martin G. Pomper, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Assess the biological performance of your molecular probe or therapeutic agent in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo. Maximize your success with NIR dyes and detection technology that can help produce quantitative and consistent data (Fig. 2).

  • Screen for specificity and binding affinity with in vitro cell-based assays, then move your potential candidates to animal studies with confidence.
  • Evaluate pharmacokinetics or dynamics with biodistribution and clearance studies in vivo.
  • Measure uptake and localization in tissues and organs in vivo and ex vivo.
on-cell western
A. in vitro
tumor specificity
B. in vivo
tissue sections
C. ex vivo
Figure 2: NIR Probe Validation using Preclinical Studies. A) An On-Cell Western Assay analyzes drug binding affinity with the Odyssey CLx. B) NIR labeled probes exhibit tumor specificity in vivo with the Pearl Trilogy Small Animal Imaging System. C) Probe localization was confirmed in tissue sections ex vivo with the Odyssey CLx.

Robust bioassay imaging solutions

Improve productivity

Use one powerful NIR detection technology for all your bioassays.

The Odyssey CLx Infrared Imaging System and the Pearl Trilogy Small Animal Imaging System provide an ideal NIR detection platform for complete analysis of the performance of your probe or therapeutic agent in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo.

Equipped with laser-based NIR detection, the Odyssey CLx imager allows for accurate quantification of minute biochemical responses in a variety of assay formats. This expedites the screening process for target specificity and binding affinity by using higher throughput cell-based assays, such as the In-Cell Western™ Assay and the On-Cell Western Assay.

With its 21 μm scanning resolution, the Odyssey CLx enables you to screen for probe or therapeutic agent uptake, localization, and biodistribution in tissue sections and organs excised from animals. This facilitates macroscopic analysis without the need for an additional NIR microscope.

Engineered with single-camera optics and uniform illumination, the Pearl Trilogy imager provides an optimal imaging setup for small animal studies. The same laser-based NIR detection makes animal tissue virtually transparent, which aids in tracking the biodistribution and clearance of probes or therapeutic agents in vivo and ex vivo.

“Data from the Odyssey and Pearl Systems completely complement each other, which makes it easier to transition from cells to animals and back. We get more out of one animal compared to traditional methods.”

Jelena Janjic, Duquesne University
accurate data illustration

Complete your story with accurate data

Your data is the foundation of your research discoveries. Get organized with Image Studio™ Software for acquiring, analyzing, quantifying, and archiving data images from LI-COR instruments.

Configured with a user-friendly, ribbon-based interface, Image Studio enables you to analyze and quantify data from micro-well plates, tissue sections, organs, animals, and more.

Drive Your Research Further

Keep making headway with your research. Team up with a research partner that not only understands your targeted therapeutics development needs and research goals but can help you achieve them, too.

LI-COR offers tools that can help you conjugate dyes to molecules and perform quantitative Western blots or cell-based assays and in vivo experiments. Validate your dye-conjugated probes and targeted therapeutics in vitro and ex vivo with the Odyssey CLx or in vivo and ex vivo with the Pearl Trilogy imager. So although the therapeutic development process can be long, LI-COR is here to help you with each step of your research.

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