Molecular probes that selectively highlight pancreatic cancer (PC) tissue have the potential to improve pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) margin assessment through the selective highlighting of individual PC cells. Herein, we report a simple and unique family of systematically modified red and near-infrared fluorescent probes that exhibit a field-effect-derived redshift. Two of thirteen probes distributed to the normal mouse pancreas following systemic administration. One selectively accumulated in genetically modified mouse models of PDAC. The probe exhibited intracellular accumulation and enabled visualization of four levels of the structure, including the whole organ, resected tissue, individual cells, and subcellular organelles. In contrast to the small-molecule probes reported previously, it possesses an inherent affinity toward PDAC cells and thus does not require conjugation to any targeting agent. The fluorescent probe can thus promote new strategies not only for precision image-guided surgery, but also for PC detection, monitoring of therapeutic outcomes, and basic research.

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