Fluorescent Probes in Medicinal Chemistry
Fluorescent probes have received much attention in the chemical and life sciences due to their promising applications in biological labelling, tracking, monitoring, imaging and diagnostics. From the early use of small fluorophores for medical imaging around 50 years ago, the field has experienced a tremendous evolution, incorporating advances from chemistry, nanoscience, materials science and molecular biology. In this regard, the advent of fluorescent proteins for the genetic labelling of molecules and cells and the development of sophisticated biosensors have expanded the number of possible applications. Among them, one area that has clearly benefited from these advances is medicinal chemistry. In this chapter we will summarize the different classes of fluorescent probes as well as their current applications at the different stages of the drug discovery process, in order to illustrate how they have become invaluable tools for addressing essential questions in biomedicine.