Accurate in vivo localisation of minimal amounts of functionalised gold-nanoparticles, enabling e.g. early-tumour diagnostics and pharmacokinetic tracking studies, requires a precision imaging system offering very high sensitivity, temporal and spatial resolution, large depth penetration, and arbitrarily long serial measurements. X-ray fluorescence imaging could offer such capabilities; however, its utilisation for human-sized scales is hampered by a high intrinsic background level. Here we measure and model this anisotropic background and present a spatial filtering scheme for background reduction enabling the localisation of nanoparticle-amounts as reported from small-animal tumour models. As a basic application study towards precision pharmacokinetics, we demonstrate specific localisation to sites of disease by adapting gold-nanoparticles with small targeting ligands in murine spinal cord injury models, at record sensitivity levels using sub-mm resolution. Both studies contribute to the future use of molecularly-targeted gold-nanoparticles as next-generation clinical diagnostic and pharmacokinetic tools.
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