What diagnostic applications, if any, are there in using bioluminescence to detect cancer or tumors (in vivo)?
closed as too broad by WYSIWYG, AliceD♦, Chris♦, fileunderwater, Nandor Poka Mar 25 '15 at 14:33
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Not in human but you can use this technique with genetically modified model organisms as described here.
The procedure is quite simple, you express the luciferase enzyme under the control of a specific promoter (specific for your cell type, like cancer) and provide luciferin via intravascular or intraperitoneal injection. The targeted cell type (for example cancer) will light up.
If you want to use that as a diagnostic tool in human you can't as the organism must express an enzyme catalyzing a bioluminescent reaction. Actually with the advance of genome engineering tools you might be able to do that even in humans (e.g. using CRISP/Cas9).
What is the advantage of bioluminescence over fluorescence? I might be wrong but I don't think there are any. I would rather express a fluorophore rather than an enzyme that requires a substrat.
In vivo, none.
Bioluminescence is cool, but it's not a powerful light source. Even if you could tag a cancer cell (all of them), unless it were on your skin or in your eye, you wouldn't be able to see it, even with some kind of scope.
Bioluminescence could not be used but it is possible to 'tag' with fluorescence to better view pathways within the body. Tagging is often used in research, a simple google search should produce a plethora of results.