Nanotechnology offers outstanding potential for future biomedical applications. In particular, due to their unique characteristics, hybrid nanomaterials have recently been investigated as promising platforms for imaging and therapeutic applications. This class of nanoparticles can not only retain valuable features of both inorganic and organic moieties, but also provides the ability to systematically modify the properties of the hybrid material through the combination of functional elements. Moreover, the conjugation of targeting moieties on the surface of these nanomaterials gives them specific targeted imaging and therapeutic properties. In this review, we summarize the recent reports in the synthesis of hybrid nanomaterials and their applications in biomedical areas. Their applications as imaging and therapeutic agents in vivo will be highlighted.
hybrid nanoparticles; therapeutic and diagnostic imaging applications; nanomedicine
Magnetic iron oxide (IO) nanoparticles with a long blood retention time, biodegradability and low toxicity have emerged as one of the primary nanomaterials for biomedical applications in vitro and in vivo. IO nanoparticles have a large surface area and can be engineered to provide a large number of functional groups for cross-linking to tumor-targeting ligands such as monoclonal antibodies, peptides, or small molecules for diagnostic imaging or delivery of therapeutic agents. IO nanoparticles possess unique paramagnetic properties, which and generate significant susceptibility effects resulting in strong T2 and T2* contrast, as well as T1 effects at very low concentrations for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is widely used for clinical oncology imaging. We review recent advances in the development of targeted IO nanoparticles for tumor imaging and therapy.
iron oxide nanoparticles; tumor imaging; MRI; therapy
We have synthesized and characterized gold nanoparticles (spheres and rods) with optical extinction bands within
the “optical imaging window.” The intense plasmon resonant driven absorption and scattering peaks of these nanoparticles
make them suitable as contrast agents for optical imaging techniques. Further, we have conjugated these gold nanoparticles
to a mouse monoclonal antibody specific to HER2 overexpressing SKBR3 breast carcinoma cells. The bioconjugation
protocol uses noncovalent modes of binding based on a combination of electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions of
the antibody and the gold surface. We discuss various aspects of the synthesis and bioconjugation protocols and the
characterization results of the functionalized nanoparticles. Some proposed applications of these potential molecular
probes in the field of biomedical imaging are also discussed.
Functionalized gold nanoparticles with controlled geometrical and optical properties are the subject of intensive studies and biomedical applications, including genomics, biosensorics, immunoassays, clinical chemistry, laser phototherapy of cancer cells and tumors, the targeted delivery of drugs, DNA and antigens, optical bioimaging and the monitoring of cells and tissues with the use of state-of-the-art detection systems. This work will provide an overview of the recent advances and current challenges facing the biomedical application of gold nanoparticles of various sizes, shapes, and structures. The review is focused on the application of gold nanoparticle conjugates in biomedical diagnostics and analytics, photothermal and photodynamic therapies, as a carrier for delivering target molecules, and on the immunological and toxicological properties. Keeping in mind the huge volume and high speed of the data update rate, 2/3 of our reference list (certainly restricted to 250 Refs.) includes publications encompassing the past 5 years.
gold nanoparticles; plasmon resonance; biosensors; biomedical diagnostics; photothermal and photodynamic therapy; targeted drug delivery; nanotoxicology
Engineering and functionalizing magnetic nanoparticles have been an area of the extensive research and development in the biomedical and nanomedicine fields. Because their biocompatibility and toxicity are well investigated and better understood, magnetic nanoparticles, especially iron oxide nanoparticles, are better suited materials as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and for image-directed delivery of therapeutics. Given tunable magnetic properties and various surface chemistries from the coating materials, most applications of engineered magnetic nanoparticles take advantages of their superb MRI contrast enhancing capability as well as surface functionalities. It has been found that MRI contrast enhancement by magnetic nanoparticles is highly dependent on the composition, size and surface properties as well as the degree of aggregation of the nanoparticles. Therefore, understanding the relationships between these intrinsic parameters and the relaxivities that contribute to MRI contrast can lead to establishing essential guidance that may direct the design of engineered magnetic nanoparticles for theranostics applications. On the other hand, new contrast mechanism and imaging strategy can be developed based on the novel properties of engineered magnetic nanoparticles. This review will focus on discussing the recent findings on some chemical and physical properties of engineered magnetic nanoparticles affecting the relaxivities as well as the impact on MRI contrast. Furthermore, MRI methods for imaging magnetic nanoparticles including several newly developed MRI approaches aiming at improving the detection and quantification of the engineered magnetic nanoparticles are described.
magnetic nanoparticles; engineering; functionalizing; magnetic resonance imaging
The potential to deliver nanoparticles directly into the targeted cells is important in the therapeutic applications for infectious diseases. The possibility of therapeutic agent being attached to the nanoparticles by chemical modification has provided a novel drug delivery option. Interestingly, the discovery of carbon nanotubes and graphene has given an excellent imaging and therapeutic agent for the biomedical applications. In spite of continuous advancement in pharmaceutical drug delivery viz. micelles, vesicles and liquid crystals etc. during the past decades, their prohibitive production has limited their use. Nanomaterials with their properties of biodegradation, equal biodistribution, mass production and long time storage make them attractive alternative for future biomedical applications. Nanoparticles surface functionalized with specific biomolecules based drug delivery has driven new direction for modulating the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, biorecognition; and increasing the efficacy of targeted drugs. These new strategies are likely to minimize drug degradation and loss, increase drug availability, and opens up new vistas for drug delivery.
Nanoparticle; infectious diseases; drug delivery; therapeutic; nanotherapy
Recent progress in an emerging area of designing aptamer and nanomaterial conjugates as molecular diagnostic and drug delivery agents in biomedical applications is summarized. Aptamers specific for a wide range of targets are first introduced and compared to antibodies. Methods of integrating these aptamers with a variety of nanomaterials, such as gold nanoparticles, quantum dots, carbon nanotubes, and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, each with unique optical, magnetic, and electrochemical properties, are reviewed. Applications of these systems as fluorescent, colorimetric, magnetic resonance imaging, and electrochemical sensors in medical diagnostics are given, along with new applications as smart drug delivery agents.
DNA; aptamer; nanomaterials; diagnostics; biosensor; drug delivery; biomedical; targeted therapeutics
Noble metal nanoparticles hold great potential as optical contrast agents due to a unique feature, known as the plasmon resonance, which produces enhanced scattering and absorption at specific frequencies. The plasmon resonance also provides a spectral tunability that is not often found in organic fluorophores or other labeling methods. The ability to functionalize these nanoparticles with antibodies has led to their development as contrast agents for molecular optical imaging. In this review article, we present methods for optimizing the spectral agility of these labels. We discuss synthesis of gold nanorods, a plasmonic nanoparticle in which the plasmonic resonance can be tuned during synthesis to provide imaging within the spectral window commonly utilized in biomedical applications. We describe recent advances in our group to functionalize gold and silver nanoparticles using distinct antibodies, including EGFR, HER-2 and IGF-1, selected for their relevance to tumor imaging. Finally, we present characterization of these nanoparticle labels to verify their spectral properties and molecular specificity.
Plasmonic nanoparticles; cell imaging; microscpectroscopy; darkfield microscopy
Nanomaterials offer new opportunities for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Multifunctional nanoparticles harboring various functions including targeting, imaging, therapy, and etc have been intensively studied aiming to overcome limitations associated with conventional cancer diagnosis and therapy. Of various nanoparticles, magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles with superparamagnetic property have shown potential as multifunctional nanoparticles for clinical translation because they have been used asmagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) constrast agents in clinic and their features could be easily tailored by including targeting moieties, fluorescence dyes, or therapeutic agents. This review summarizes targeting strategies for construction of multifunctional nanoparticles including magnetic nanoparticles-based theranostic systems, and the various surface engineering strategies of nanoparticles for in vivo applications.
Multifunctional nanoparticles; magnetic nanoparticles; targeting ligand; bioconjugation; surface engineering; long circulation
Nanoparticles have emerged as key materials for biomedical applications because of their unique and tunable physical properties, multivalent targeting capability, and high cargo capacity1,2. Motivated by these properties and by current clinical needs, numerous diagnostic3–10 and therapeutic11–13 nanomaterials have recently emerged. Here we describe a novel nanoparticle targeting platform that uses a rapid, catalyst-free cycloaddition as the coupling mechanism. Antibodies against biomarkers of interest were modified with trans-cyclooctene and used as scaffolds to couple tetrazine-modified nanoparticles onto live cells. We show that the technique is fast, chemoselective, adaptable to metal nanomaterials, and scalable for biomedical use. This method also supports amplification of biomarker signals, making it superior to alternative targeting techniques including avidin/biotin.
Magnetic nanoparticles have become important tools for the imaging of prevalent diseases, such as cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and others. While first generation nanoparticles were fairly nonspecific, newer generations have been targeted to specific cell types and molecular targets via affinity ligands. Commonly, these ligands emerge from phage or small molecule screens, or are based on antibodies or aptamers. Secondary reporters and combined therapeutic molecules have further opened potential clinical applications of these materials. This review summarizes some of the recent biomedical applications of these newer magnetic nanomaterials.
Iron oxide; magnetic nanoparticles; peptide targeting; small molecule targeting; molecular imaging; cancer; atherosclerosis; theranostic
Nanoparticle-based contrast agents are attracting a great deal of attention for various biomedical imaging and theranostic applications. Compared to conventional contrast agents, nanoparticles possess several potential advantages to improve in vivo detection and to enhance targeting efficiency. Silica-based nanoprobes can be engineered to achieve longer blood circulation times, specific clearance pathways, and multivalent binding. In this tutorial review, we summarize the latest progress on designing silica-based nanoprobes for imaging and theranostic applications. The synthesis of both solid silica and mesoporous silica nanoparticles is described, along with different approaches used for surface functionalization. Special emphasis is placed on the application of silica-based nanoprobes in optical, magnetic resonance, and multimodal imaging. The latest breakthroughs in the applications of silica nanoparticles as theranostic agents are also highlighted.
Magnetic nanoparticles are promising molecular imaging agents due to their relative high relaxivity and the potential to modify surface functionality to tailor biodistribution. In this work we describe the synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles using organic solvents with organometallic precursors. This method results in nanoparticles that are highly crystalline, and have uniform size and shape. The ability to create a monodispersion of particles of the same size and shape results in unique magnetic properties that can be useful for biomedical applications with MR imaging. Before these nanoparticles can be used in biological applications, however, means are needed to make the nanoparticles soluble in aqueous solutions and the toxicity of these nanoparticles needs to be studied.
We have developed two methods to surface modify and transfer these nanoparticles to the aqueous phase using the biocompatible co-polymer, Pluronic F127. Cytotoxicity was found to be dependent on the coating procedure used. Nanoparticle effects on a cell-culture model was quantified using concurrent assaying; a LDH assay to determine cytotoxicity and an MTS assay to determine viability for a 24 hour incubation period. Concurrent assaying was done to insure that nanoparticles did not interfere with the colorimetric assay results.
This report demonstrates that a monodispersion of nanoparticles of uniform size and shape can be manufactured. Initial cytotoxicity testing of new molecular imaging agents need to be carefully constructed to avoid interference and erroneous results.
MRI; molecular imaging; nanoparticles; superparamagnetic agents; cytotoxicity; Colorimetric Assay; Pluronics
The emerging field of bionanotechnology aims at revolutionizing biomedical research and clinical practice via introduction of nanoparticle-based tools, expanding capabilities of existing investigative, diagnostic, and therapeutic techniques as well as creating novel instruments and approaches for addressing challenges faced by medicine. Quantum dots (QDs), semiconductor nanoparticles with unique photo-physical properties, have become one of the dominant classes of imaging probes as well as universal platforms for engineering of multifunctional nanodevices. Possessing versatile surface chemistry and superior optical features, QDs have found initial use in a variety of in vitro and in vivo applications. However, careful engineering of QD probes guided by application-specific design criteria is becoming increasingly important for successful transition of this technology from proof-of-concept studies towards real-life clinical applications. This review outlines the major design principles and criteria, from general ones to application-specific, governing the engineering of novel QD probes satisfying the increasing demands and requirements of nanomedicine and discusses the future directions of QD-focused bionanotechnology research (critical review, 201 references).
Fluorescent nanoparticle-based imaging probes have advanced current labelling technology and are expected to generate new medical diagnostic tools based on their superior brightness and photostability compared with conventional molecular probes. Although significant progress has been made in fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystal-based biological labelling and imaging, the presence of heavy metals and the toxicity issues associated with heavy metals have severely limited the application potential of these nanocrystals. Here, we report a fluorescent carbon nanoparticle-based, alternative, nontoxic imaging probe that is suitable for biological staining and diagnostics. We have developed a chemical method to synthesise highly fluorescent carbon nanoparticles 1–10 nm in size; these particles exhibit size-dependent, tunable visible emission. These carbon nanoparticles have been transformed into various functionalised nanoprobes with hydrodynamic diameters of 5–15 nm and have been used as cell imaging probes.
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are a new class of fluorescent labels with broad applications in biomedical imaging, disease diagnostics, and molecular and cell biology. In comparison with organic dyes and fluorescent proteins, quantum dots have unique optical and electronic properties such as size-tunable light emission, improved signal brightness, resistance against photobleaching, and simultaneous excitation of multiple fluorescence colors. Recent advances have led to multifunctional nanoparticle probes that are highly bright and stable under complex in vitro and in vivo conditions. New designs involve encapsulating luminescent QDs with amphiphilic block copolymers, and linking the polymer coating to tumor-targeting ligands and drug-delivery functionalities. These improved QDs have opened new possibilities for real-time imaging and tracking of molecular targets in living cells, for multiplexed analysis of biomolecular markers in clinical tissue specimens, and for ultrasensitive imaging of malignant tumors in living animal models. In this article, we briefly discuss recent developments in bioaffinity QD probes and their applications in molecular profiling of individual cancer cells and clinical tissue specimens.
nanoparticle; nanocrystal; semiconductor; cancer; tumor; tissue section; live cell
Because magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents play a vital role in diagnosing diseases, demand for new MRI contrast agents, with an enhanced sensitivity and advanced functionalities, is very high. During the past decade, various inorganic nanoparticles have been used as MRI contrast agents due to their unique properties, such as large surface area, easy surface functionalization, excellent contrasting effect, and other size-dependent properties. This review provides an overview of recent progress in the development of nanoparticle-based T1-weighted MRI contrast agents. The chemical synthesis of the nanoparticle-based contrast agents and their potential applications were discussed and summarized. In addition, the recent development in nanoparticle-based multimodal contrast agents including T1-weighted MRI/computed X-ray tomography (CT) and T1-weighted MRI/optical were also described, since nanoparticles may curtail the shortcomings of single mode contrast agents in diagnostic and clinical settings by synergistically incorporating functionality.
T1-weighted magnetic resonance; molecular imaging; nanoparticles; contrast agents
Nanoparticles are being developed as delivery vehicles for therapeutic pharmaceuticals and contrast imaging agents. Polymersomes (mesoscopic polymer vesicles) possess a number of attractive biomaterial properties that make them ideal for these applications. Synthetic control over block copolymer chemistry enables tunable design of polymersome material properties. The polymersome architecture, with its large hydrophilic reservoir and its thick hydrophobic lamellar membrane, provides significant storage capacity for both water soluble and insoluble substances (such as drugs and imaging probes). Further, the brush-like architecture of the polymersome outer shell can potentially increase biocompatibility and blood circulation times. A further recent advance is the development of multi-functional polymersomes that carry pharmaceuticals and imaging agents simultaneously. The ability to conjugate biologically active ligands to the brush surface provides a further means for targeted therapy and imaging. Hence, polymersomes hold enormous potential as nanostructured biomaterials for future in vivo drug delivery and diagnostic imaging applications.
Polymersome; Diblock copolymer; Vesicle; Drug delivery; Cancer diagnosis; Cancer therapy; Nanoparticle; Targeting; Optical imaging; Near-infrared
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are tiny light-emitting particles on the nanometer scale, and are emerging as a new class of fluorescent labels for biology and medicine. In comparison with organic dyes and fluorescent proteins, they have unique optical and electronic properties, with size-tunable light emission, superior signal brightness, resistance to photobleaching, and broad absorption spectra for simultaneous excitation of multiple fluorescence colors. QDs also provide a versatile nanoscale scaffold for designing multifunctional nanoparticles with both imaging and therapeutic functions. When linked with targeting ligands such as antibodies, peptides or small molecules, QDs can be used to target tumor biomarkers as well as tumor vasculatures with high affinity and specificity. Here we discuss the synthesis and development of state-of-the-art QD probes and their use for molecular and cellular imaging. We also examine key issues for in vivo imaging and therapy, such as nanoparticle biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, and toxicology.
Quantum dots; nanocrystals; nanoparticles; nanotechnology; fluorescence; molecular imaging; cellular imaging; drug delivery; cancer; biomarkers; toxicology
Iron oxide nanoparticles with unique magnetic properties have a high potential for use in several biomedical, bioengineering and in vivo applications, including tissue repair, magnetic resonance imaging, immunoassay, drug delivery, detoxification of biologic fluids, cell sorting, and hyperthermia. Although various surface modifications are being done for making these nonbiodegradable nanoparticles more biocompatible, their toxic potential is still a major concern. The current in vitro study of the interaction of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles of mean diameter 30 nm coated with Tween 80 and murine macrophage (J774) cells was undertaken to evaluate the dose- and time-dependent toxic potential, as well as investigate the role of oxidative stress in the toxicity. A 15–30 nm size range of spherical nanoparticles were characterized by transmission electron microscopy and zeta sizer. MTT assay showed >95% viability of cells in lower concentrations (25–200 μg/mL) and up to three hours of exposure, whereas at higher concentrations (300–500 μg/mL) and prolonged (six hours) exposure viability reduced to 55%–65%. Necrosis-apoptosis assay by propidium iodide and Hoechst-33342 staining revealed loss of the majority of the cells by apoptosis. H2DCFDDA assay to quantify generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) indicated that exposure to a higher concentration of nanoparticles resulted in enhanced ROS generation, leading to cell injury and death. The cell membrane injury induced by nanoparticles studied using the lactate dehydrogenase assay, showed both concentration- and time-dependent damage. Thus, this study concluded that use of a low optimum concentration of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles is important for avoidance of oxidative stress-induced cell injury and death.
superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; cytotoxicity; MTT assay; J774 cell line
Nanoparticle-based platforms have drawn considerable attention for their potential impact on oncology and other biomedical fields. However, their in vivo application is challenged by insufficient accumulation and retention within tumors due to limited specificity to the target, and an inability to traverse biological barriers. Here we present a nanoprobe that demonstrates an ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and specifically target brain tumors in a genetically engineered mouse model, as established through in vivo MR and biophotonic imaging, and histological and biodistribution analyses. The nanoprobe is comprised of an iron oxide nanoparticle coated with biocompatible PEG-grafted chitosan, to which a tumor targeting agent, chlorotoxin and a near infrared fluorophore are conjugated. The nanoprobe demonstrates an innocuous toxicity profile and sustained retention in tumors. With the versatile affinity of the targeting ligand and the flexible conjugation chemistry for alternative diagnostic and therapeutic agents, this nanoparticle platform can be potentially used for diagnosis and treatment of a variety of tumor types.
nanoparticle; brain tumor; MRI; targeting; blood brain barrier
For biomedical applications, emerging nanostructures requires stringent evaluations for their biocompatibility. Core/shell iron/carbon nanoparticles (Fe@CNPs) are nanomaterials that have potential applications in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), magnetic hyperthermia and drug delivery. However, their interactions with biological systems are totally unknown. To evaluate their potential cellular perturbations and explore the relationships between their biocompatibility and surface chemistry, we synthesized polymer grafted Fe@CNPs with diverse chemistry modifications on surface and investigated their dynamic cellular responses, cell uptake, oxidative stress and their effects on cell apoptosis and cell cycle. The results show that biocompatibility of Fe@CNPs is both surface chemistry dependent and cell type specific. Except for the carboxyl modified Fe@CNPs, all other Fe@CNPs present low toxicity and can be used for further functionalization and in a wide range of biomedical applications.
nanomaterials; core/shell nanoparticles; biocompatibility; RT-CES; cytotoxicity
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) have found wide range of applications in electronics, biomedical engineering, and chemistry owing to their exceptional opto-electrical properties. Biological synthesis of gold nanoparticles by using plant extracts and microbes have received profound interest in recent times owing to their potential to produce nanoparticles with varied shape, size and morphology. Marine microorganisms are unique to tolerate high salt concentration and can evade toxicity of different metal ions. However, these marine microbes are not sufficiently explored for their capability of metal nanoparticle synthesis. Although, marine water is one of the richest sources of gold in the nature, however, there is no significant publication regarding utilization of marine micro-organisms to produce gold nanoparticles. Therefore, there might be a possibility of exploring marine bacteria as nanofactories for AuNP biosynthesis.
In the present study, marine bacteria are exploited towards their capability of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) production. Stable, monodisperse AuNP formation with around 10 nm dimension occur upon exposure of HAuCl4 solution to whole cells of a novel strain of Marinobacter pelagius, as characterized by polyphasic taxonomy. Nanoparticles synthesized are characterized by Transmission electron microscopy, Dynamic light scattering and UV-visible spectroscopy.
The potential of marine organisms in biosynthesis of AuNPs are still relatively unexplored. Although, there are few reports of gold nanoparticles production using marine sponges and sea weeds however, there is no report on the production of gold nanoparticles using marine bacteria. The present work highlighted the possibility of using the marine bacterial strain of Marinobacter pelagius to achieve a fast rate of nanoparticles synthesis which may be of high interest for future process development of AuNPs. This is the first report of AuNP synthesis by marine bacteria.
Marine bacteria; Marinobacter pelagius; Gold nanoparticles; Biological synthesis; Polyphasic taxonomy
Multimodal molecular imaging can offer a synergistic improvement of diagnostic ability over a single imaging modality. Recent development of hybrid imaging systems has profoundly impacted the pool of available multimodal imaging probes. In particular, much interest has been focused on biocompatible, inorganic nanoparticle–based multimodal probes. Inorganic nanoparticles offer exceptional advantages to the field of multimodal imaging owing to their unique characteristics, such as nanometer dimensions, tunable imaging properties, and multifunctionality. Nanoparticles mainly based on iron oxide, quantum dots, gold, and silica have been applied to various imaging modalities to characterize and image specific biologic processes on a molecular level. A combination of nanoparticles and other materials such as biomolecules, polymers, and radiometals continue to increase functionality for in vivo multimodal imaging and therapeutic agents. In this review, we discuss the unique concepts, characteristics, and applications of the various multimodal imaging probes based on inorganic nanoparticles.
Semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) are light-emitting particles on the nanometer scale that have emerged as a new class of fluorescent labels for chemical analysis, molecular imaging, and biomedical diagnostics. Compared with traditional fluorescent probes, QDs have unique optical and electronic properties such as size-tunable light emission, narrow and symmetric emission spectra, and broad absorption spectra that enable the simultaneous excitation of multiple fluorescence colors. QDs are also considerably brighter and more resistant to photobleaching than are organic dyes and fluorescent proteins. These properties are well suited for dynamic imaging at the single-molecule level and for multiplexed biomedical diagnostics at ultrahigh sensitivity. Here, we discuss the fundamental properties of QDs; the development of next-generation QDs; and their applications in bioanalytical chemistry, dynamic cellular imaging, and medical diagnostics. For in vivo and clinical imaging, the potential toxicity of QDs remains a major concern. However, the toxic nature of cadmium-containing QDs is no longer a factor for in vitro diagnostics, so the use of multicolor QDs for molecular diagnostics and pathology is probably the most important and clinically relevant application for semiconductor QDs in the immediate future.
nanotechnology; fluorescence imaging; cellular dynamics; multiplexing; cancer detection; single-cell analysis