We introduce a simple, versatile and robust one-step technique that enables real-time imaging of multiple intracellular caspase activities in living cells without the need for complicated synthetic protocols. Conventional fluorogenic probes or recently reported activatable probes have been designed to target various proteases but are limited to extracellular molecules. Only a few have been applied to image intracellular proteases in living cells because most of these probes have limited cell-permeability. Our platform does not need complicated synthetic processes; instead it involves a straightforward peptide synthesis and a simple mixing step with a commercial transfection agent. The transfection agent efficiently delivered the highly quenched fluorogenic probes, comprised of distinctive pairs of dyes and quenchers, to the initiator caspase-8 and the effector caspase-3 in MDA-MB-435 cells, allowing dual-imaging of the activities of both caspases during the apoptotic process induced by TNF-related apoptosis induced ligand (TRAIL). With the combination of multiple fluorogenic probes, this simple platform can be applied to multiplexed imaging of selected intracellular proteases to study apoptotic processes in pathologies or for cell-based high throughput screening systems for drug discovery.
caspase; activatable probe; fluorescence imaging; peptide; transfection agent
Increased microvascularization of the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) vessel wall has been related to AAA progression and rupture. The aim of this study was to compare the suitability of three pharmacokinetic models to describe AAA vessel wall enhancement using dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI).
Materials and Methods
Patients with AAA underwent DCE-MRI at 1.5 Tesla. The volume transfer constant (Ktrans), which reflects microvascular flow, permeability and surface area, was calculated by fitting the blood and aneurysm vessel wall gadolinium concentration curves. The relative fit errors, parameter uncertainties and parameter reproducibilities for the Patlak, Tofts and Extended Tofts model were compared to find the most suitable model. Scan-rescan reproducibility was assessed using the interclass correlation coefficient and coefficient of variation (CV). Further, the relationship between Ktrans and AAA size was investigated.
DCE-MRI examinations from thirty-nine patients (mean age±SD: 72±6 years; M/F: 35/4) with an mean AAA maximal diameter of 49±6 mm could be included for pharmacokinetic analysis. Relative fit uncertainties for Ktrans based on the Patlak model (17%) were significantly lower compared to the Tofts (37%) and Extended Tofts model (42%) (p<0.001). Ktrans scan-rescan reproducibility for the Patlak model (ICC = 0.61 and CV = 22%) was comparable with the Tofts (ICC = 0.61, CV = 23%) and Extended Tofts model (ICC = 0.76, CV = 22%). Ktrans was positively correlated with maximal AAA diameter (Spearman’s ρ = 0.38, p = 0.02) using the Patlak model.
Using the presented imaging protocol, the Patlak model is most suited to describe DCE-MRI data of the AAA vessel wall with good Ktrans scan-rescan reproducibility.
An LC/MS method was used to evaluate 2-fluoropropionyl (FP) and 4-fluorobenzoyl (FB) modified bombsin peptides: GRPR agonist [Aca-QWAVGHLM-NH2] and antagonist [fQWAVGHL-NHEt], and their hydrophilic linker modified counterparts with the attachment of GGGRDN sequence. This study developed strategies to evaluate the in vitro receptor mediated cell uptake and metabolic profile of the various GRPR agonists and antagonists. We identified the metabolites produced by rat hepatocytes, and quantitatively analyzed the uptake and internalization of the ligands in PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. The major metabolites of both GRPR agonists and antagonists were the result of peptide bond hydrolysis between WA and AV. The agonists also formed a unique metabolite resulting from hydrolysis of the C-terminal amide. The antagonists showed significantly higher stability against metabolism compared to the agonists in rat hepatocytes. The directly modified agonists (FP-BBN and FB-BBN) had higher internalization with similar cell binding compared to the unmodified agonist (BBN), whereas the hydrophilic linker modified agonists (G-BBN and FG-BBN) had much lower total cell uptake. The labeled antagonist (FP-NBBN, FB-NBBN, G-NBBN and FP-G-NBBN) displayed lower internalization. The optimal imaging agent will depend on the interplay of ligand metabolism, cellular uptake, and internalization in vivo.
LC/MS; Gastrin releasing peptide receptor (GRPR); Bombesin (BBN); Agonist; antagonist; PET
Theranostics; carbon dots; chlorin e6 (Ce6); fluorescence imaging; photodynamic therapy
A combination of molecular-targeted cancer imaging and therapy is an emerging strategy to improve cancer diagnosis and minimize the side effects of conventional treatments. Here, we generated a recombinant protein, EC1-GLuc-p53C, by fusing EC1 peptide, an artificial ligand of ErbB2, with Gaussia luciferase (GLuc) and a p53-activating peptide, p53C. EC1-GLuc-p53C was expressed and purified from E. coli BL21. In vitro experiments showed that EC1-GLuc-p53c was stable in luminescent activity and selectively targeted ErbB2-overexpressing BT474 cells for bioluminescence imaging. Moreover, the internalized EC1-GLuc-p53C in BT474 cells exerted its function to reactivate p53 and significantly inhibited cellular proliferation. In tumor-bearing mice, the ErbB2-targeted bioluminescence imaging and therapeutic effect of EC1-GLuc-p53C were also observed specifically in BT474 tumors but not in MCF7 tumors, which does not overexpress ErbB2. Thus, the present study demonstrates EC1-GLuc-p53C to be an effective theranostic reagent targeting ErbB2 for bioluminescence imaging and cancer therapy.
Imaging of β-amyloid (Aβ) plaques in the brain may facilitate the diagnosis of cerebral β-amyloidosis, risk prediction of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), and effectiveness of anti-amyloid therapies. The purpose of this study was to evaluate novel 123I-labeled pyridyl benzofuran derivatives as SPECT probes for Aβ imaging. The formation of a pyridyl benzofuran backbone was accomplished by Suzuki coupling. [123I/125I]-labeled pyridyl benzofuran derivatives were readily prepared by an iododestannylation reaction. In vitro Aβ binding assays were carried out using Aβ(1–42) aggregates and postmortem human brain sections. Biodistribution experiments were conducted in normal mice at 2, 10, 30, and 60 min postinjection. Aβ labeling in vivo was evaluated by small-animal SPECT/CT in Tg2576 transgenic mice injected with [123I]8. Ex vivo autoradiography of the brain sections was performed after SPECT/CT. Iodinated pyridyl benzofuran derivatives showed excellent affinity for Aβ(1–42) aggregates (2.4 to 10.3 nM) and intensely labeled Aβ plaques in autoradiographs of postmortem AD brain sections. In biodistribution experiments using normal mice, all these derivatives displayed high initial uptake (4.03–5.49% ID/g at 10 min). [125I]8 displayed the quickest clearance from the brain (1.30% ID/g at 60 min). SPECT/CT with [123I]8 revealed higher uptake of radioactivity in the Tg2576 mouse brain than the wild-type mouse brain. Ex vivo autoradiography showed in vivo binding of [123I]8 to Aβ plaques in the Tg2576 mouse brain. These combined results warrant further investigation of [123I]8 as a SPECT imaging agent for visualizing Aβ plaques in the AD brain.
The use of MR contrast agents allows accurate diagnosis by exerting an influence on the longitudinal (T1) or transverse (T2) relaxation time of the surrounding tissue. In this study, we combined the use of iron oxide (IO) particles and nonspecific extracellular gadolinium chelate (Gd) in order to further improve the sensitivity and specificity of lesion detection.
With a 7-Tesla scanner, pre-contrasted, IO-enhanced and dual contrast agent enhanced MRIs were performed in phantom, normal animals, and animal models of lymph node tumor metastases and orthotopic brain tumor. For the dual-contrast (DC) MRI, we focused on the evaluation of T2 weighted DC MRI with IO administered first, then followed by the injection of a bolus of gadolinium diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA).
Quantified with C/N ratios and MRI relaxometry, the synergistic effect of coordinated administration of Gd-DTPA and IO was observed and confirmed in phantom, normal liver and tumor models. At 30 min after administration of Feridex, Gd-DTPA further decreased T2 relaxation in liver immediately after the injection. Additional administration of Gd-DTPA also immediately increased the signal contrast between tumor and brain parenchyma and maximized the C/N ratio to −4.12 ± 0.71. Dual contrast MRI also enhanced the delineation of tumor borders and small lesions.
DC-MRI will be helpful to improve diagnostic accuracy and decrease the threshold size for lesion detection.
MRI; Gd-DTPA; Iron oxide; RGD; Dual Contrast
The purpose of this study was to synthesize, characterize and tailor the surface properties of magnetic nanoparticles with biocompatible copolymer coatings and to evaluate the efficiency of the resulting nanoconjugates as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents for liver imaging.
Magnetic nanoparticles with core diameters of 10 and 30 nm were synthesized by pyrolysis and were subsequently coated with a copolymer containing either carboxyl (SHP) or methoxy groups (SMG) as termini. All four formulas, and ferumoxides (Feridex I.V.®), were individually injected intravenously into separate, normal Balb/C mice (at 2.5, 1.0, and 0.56 mg Fe/kg), and the animals underwent T2-weighted MRI at multiple time points post injection (p.i.) to evaluate the hepatic uptake and clearance. Furthermore, we compared the abilities of the new formulas and Feridex to detect tumors in an orthotropic Huh7 tumor model.
TEM revealed a narrow size distribution of both the 10 nm and 30 nm nanoparticles, in contrast to a wide size distribution of Feridex. MTT, apoptosis and Cyclin/DNA flow cytometry assays showed that the polymer coated nanoparticles had no adverse effect on cell growth. Among all the tested formulas, including Feridex, SHP-30 showed the highest macrophage uptake at the in vitro level. In vivo MRI studies on normal mice confirmed the superiority of SHP-30 in inducing hypointensities in the liver tissue, especially at clinical dose (0.56 mg Fe/kg) and 3T field. SHP-30 showed better contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) than Feridex on the orthotropic Huh7 tumor model.
SHP-30 was found to be an efficient contrast agent for liver MR imaging. The success of this study suggests that by improving the synthetic approach and by tuning the surface properties of IONPs, one can arrive at better formulas than Feridex for clinical practice.
Iron oxide nanoparticle (IONP); hepatocarcinoma (HCC); magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); liver contrast agent
Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is an emerging class of therapeutics, working by regulating the expression of a specific gene involved in disease progression. Despite the promises, effective transport of siRNA with minimal side effects remains a challenge. In this study, a non-viral nanoparticle gene carrier has been developed and its efficiency for siRNA delivery and transfection has been validated at both in vitro and in vivo levels. Such a nanocarrier, abbreviated as Alkyl-PEI2k-IO, was constructed with a core of iron oxide (IO) and a shell of alkylated PEI2000 (Alkyl-PEI2k). It was found to be able to bind with siRNA, resulting in well-dispersed nanoparticles with a controlled clustering structure and narrow size distribution. Electrophoresis studies showed that the Alkyl-PEI2k-IOs could retard siRNA completely at N/P ratios above 10, protect siRNA from enzymatic degradation in serum and release complexed siRNA efficiently in the presence of polyanionic heparin. The knockdown efficiency of the siRNA loaded nanocarriers was assessed with 4T1 cells stably expressing luciferase (fluc-4T1) and further, with a fluc-4T1 xenograft model. Significant downregulation of luciferase was observed, and unlike the high molecular weight analogs, the Alkyl-PEI2k coated IOs showed a good biocompatibility. In conclusion, Alkyl-PEI2k-IOs demonstrate highly efficient delivery of siRNA and an innocuous toxic profile, making it a potential carrier for gene therapy.
Biomaterials; Superparamagnetic nanoparticles; Polytehyleneimine; Small interfering RNA
RGD peptides, radiolabeled with 18F, have been used in the clinic for PET imaging of tumor angiogenesis in cancer patients. RGD peptides are typically labeled using a prosthetic group such as N-succinimidyl 4-[18F]-fluorobenzoate ([18F]SFB) or 4-nitrophenyl 2-[18F]-fluoropropionate ([18F]NPFP). However, the complex radiosynthetic procedures have impeded their broad application in clinical studies. We previously radiolabeled proteins and peptides with the prosthetic group, N-succinimidyl 4-[18F]-fluoromethylbenzoate ([18F]SFMB), which was prepared in a simple one-step procedure. In this study, we labeled a PEGylated cyclic RGD peptide dimer, PEG3-E[c(RGDy K)]2 (PRGD2), using [18F]SFMB and evaluated for imaging tumor αvβ3 integrin expression with positron emission tomography (PET). [18F]SFMB was prepared in one step using [18F]fluoride displacement of a nitrobenzenesulfonate leaving group under mild reaction conditions followed by HPLC purification. The 18F-labeled peptide, [18F]FMBPR GD2 was prepared by coupling PRGD2 with [18F]SFMB in pH 8.6 borate buffer and purified with HPLC. The direct labeling on BMBPRGD2 was also attempted. A Siemens Inveon PET was used to image the uptake of the [18F]FMBPRGD2 into a U87MG xenograft mouse model. [18F]FMBPRGD2, was prepared with a 15% overall radiochemical yield (uncorrected) in a total synthesis time of 90 min, which was considerably shorter than the preparation of [18F]SFB- and [18F]NPFP-labeled RGD peptides. The direct labeling, however, was not successful. High quality microPET images using [18F]FMBPRGD2 clearly visualized tumors by 15 min with good target to background ratio. Early tracer accumulation in the bladder suggests fast renal clearance. No obvious bone uptake can be detected even at 4-h time point indicating that fluorine attachment is stable in mice. In conclusion, N-succinimidyl 4-[18F]-fluoromethylbenzoate ([18F]SFMB) prosthetic group can be a good alternative for labeling RGD peptides to image αvβ3 integrin expression and for labeling other peptides.
Integrin αvβ3; RGD peptide dimer; Positron emission tomography; N-Succinimidyl 4-[18F]-fluoromethylbenzoate ([18F]SFMB)
The imaging of sentinel lymph nodes (SLNs), the first defense against primary tumor metastasis, has been considered as an important strategy for noninvasive tracking tumor metastasis in clinics. In this study, we report the development and application of mesoporous silica-based triple-modal nanoprobes that integrate multiple functional moieties to facilitate near-infrared optical, magnetic resonance (MR) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. After embedding near-infrared dye ZW800, the nanoprobe was labeled with T1 contrast agent Gd3+ and radionuclide 64Cu through chelating reactions. High stability and long intracellular retention time of the nanoprobes was confirmed by in vitro characterization, which facilitate long-term in vivo imaging. Longitudinal multimodal imaging was subsequently achieved to visualize tumor draining SLNs up to 3 weeks in a 4T1 tumor metastatic model. Obvious differences in uptake rate, amount of particles, and contrast between metastatic and contralateral sentinel lymph nodes were observed. These findings provide very helpful guidance for the design of robust multifunctional nanomaterials in SLNs’ mapping and tumor metastasis diagnosis.
Mesoporous silica nanoparticles; Multimodality imaging; Tumor metastasis; Magnetic resonance imaging; Positron emission tomography; Near-infrared fluorescence imaging
Bioanalytical methods have experienced unprecedented growth in recent years, driven in large part by the need for faster, more sensitive, more portable (“point of care”) systems to detect protein biomarkers for clinical diagnosis. Electrochemical detection strategies, used in conjunction with immunosensors, offer advantages, because they are fast, simple, and low cost. Recent developments in electrochemical immunosensors have significantly improved the sensitivity needed to detect low concentrations of biomarkers present in early stages of cancer. Moreover, the coupling of electrochemical devices with nanomaterials, such as gold nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes, magnetic particles, and quantum dots, offers multiplexing capability for simultaneous measurements of multiple cancer biomarkers. This review will discuss recent advances in the development of electrochemical immunosensors for the next-generation of cancer diagnostics, with an emphasis on opportunities for further improvement in cancer diagnostics and treatment monitoring. Details will be given for strategies to increase sensitivity through multi-label amplification, coupled with high densities of capture molecules on sensor surfaces. Such sensors are capable of detecting a wide range of protein quantities, from ng to fg (depending on the protein biomarkers of interest), in a single sample.
Biomarkers; Electrochemistry; Immunoassay; Amplification; Microfluidics; Nanomaterials; Multiplexing
The aim of this study is to evaluate the quality of I-124 PET images with and without prompt gamma compensation (PGC) by comparing the recovery coefficients (RC), the signal to noise ratios (SNR) and the contrast to F-18 and Ga-68. Furthermore, the influence of the PGC on the quantification and image quality is evaluated.
For measuring the image quality the NEMA NU2-2001 PET/SPECT-Phantom was used containing 6 spheres with a diameter between 10 mm and 37 mm placed in water with different levels of background activity. Each sphere was filled with the same activity concentration measured by an independently cross-calibrated dose calibrator. The “hot” sources were acquired with a full 3D PET/CT (Biograph mCT®, Siemens Medical USA). Acquisition times were 2 min for F-18 and Ga-68, and 10 min for I-124. For reconstruction an OSEM algorithm was applied. For I-124 the images were reconstructed with and without PGC. For the calculation of the RCs the activity concentrations in each sphere were determined; in addition, the influence of the background correction was studied.
The RCs of Ga-68 are the smallest (79%). I-124 reaches similar RCs (87% with PGC, 84% without PGC) as F-18 (84%). showing that the quantification of I-124 images is similar to F-18 and slightly better than Ga-68. With background activity the contrast of the I-124 PGC images is similar to Ga-68 and F-18 scans. There was lower background activity in the I-124 images without PGC, which probably originates from an overcorrection of the scatter contribution. Consequently, the contrast without PGC was much higher than with PGC. As a consequence PGC should be used for I-124.
For I-124 there is only a slight influence on the quantification depending on the use of the PGC. However, there are considerable differences with respect to I-124 image quality.
The present work demonstrates that Cy5.5 conjugated Fe3O4/SiO2 core/shell nanoparticles could allow us to control movement of human natural killer cells (NK-92MI) by an external magnetic field. Required concentration of the nanoparticles for the cell manipulation is as low as ~20 μg Fe/mL. However, the relative ratio of the nanoparticles loaded NK-92MI cells infiltrated into the target tumor site is enhanced by 17-fold by applying magnetic field and their killing activity is still maintained as same as the NK-92MI cells without the nanoparticles. This approach allows us to open alternative clinical treatment with reduced toxicity of the nanoparticles and enhanced infiltration of immunology to the target site.
Fe3O4/SiO2 core/shell nanoparticles; Multifunctional nanoparticles; Magnetic field guided cell control; Natural killer cells; Tumor killing activity
Despite their immense potential in biomedicine, carbon nanomaterials suffer from inefficient dispersion and biological activity in vivo. Here we utilize a single, yet multifunctional, hyaluronic acid-based biosurfactant to simultaneously disperse nanocarbons and target single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) to CD44 receptor positive tumor cells with prompt uptake. Cellular uptake was monitored by intracellular enzyme-activated fluorescence and localization of SWCNTs within cells was further confirmed by Raman mapping. In vivo photoacoustic, fluorescence and positron emission tomography imaging of coated SWCNTs display high tumor targeting capability while providing long-term, fluorescence molecular imaging of targeted enzyme events. By utilizing a single biomaterial surfactant for SWCNT dispersion without additional bioconjugation, we designed a facile technique that brings nanocarbons closer to their biomedical potential.
Carbon nanomaterials; one-step functionalization; hyaluronic acid; nanotubes; molecular
Carcinocinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 6 (CEACAM6) is overexpressed in a number of human malignancies, especially in pancreatic cancer. It has been demonstrated that CEACAM6 is a potential target for monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy with a safe therapeutic index. Here, we labeled three anti-CEACAM6 antibodies of different sizes, including a single-domain antibody 2A3 (16 kDa), a heavy chain antibody 2A3-mFc (80 kDa) and a full length antibody 9A6 (150 kDa), with 64Cu to image CEACAM6 expression in a xenografted pancreatic tumor model. For positron emission tomography (PET) imaging, the tumor mice were intravenously injected with 64Cu-DOTA-antibodies and static scans were obtained at 5 min, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 24 h post-injection (p.i.). All three antibodies showed strong CEACAM6 binding. Ex vivo immunostaining on tumor sections at 24 h after Ab injection demonstrated specific tumor targeting of both 2A3-mFc and 9A6. 64Cu-DOTA-2A3 showed fast BxPC3 tumor uptake and rapid whole-body clearance. At 24 h p.i., the tumor uptakes were 98.2 ± 6.12 %ID/g for 64Cu-DOTA-2A3-mFc and 57.8 ± 3.73 %ID/g for 64Cu-DOTA-9A6, respectively. Compared with the full length antibody 9A6, the heavy chain antibody 2A3-mFc showed higher tumor uptake, lower liver uptake and shorter circulation half-life. All the data supported that the heavy chain antibody 2A3-mFc is superior to the single domain antibody and the full-length antibody with regard to tumor detection and pharmacokinetics, which has great potential to be developed for CEACAM6-targeted pancreatic cancer imaging and therapy.
CEACAM6; pancreatic cancer; heavy chain antibody; 64Cu; positron emission tomography (PET)
Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) has been introduced in head and neck cancers. Due to limitations in the performance of laryngeal DWI, including the complex anatomical structure of the larynx leading to susceptibility effects, the value of DWI in differentiating benign from malignant laryngeal lesions has largely been ignored. We assessed whether a threshold for the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) was useful in differentiating preoperative laryngeal carcinomas from precursor lesions by turbo spin-echo (TSE) DWI and 3.0-T magnetic resonance.
We evaluated DWI and the ADC value in 33 pathologically proven laryngeal carcinomas and 17 precancerous lesions.
The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were 81.8%, 64.7%, 76.0% by laryngostroboscopy, respectively. The sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of conventional magnetic resonance imaging were 90.9%, 76.5%, 86.0%, respectively. Qualitative DWI analysis produced sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy values of 100.0, 88.2, and 96.0%, respectively. The ADC values were lower for patients with laryngeal carcinoma (mean 1.195±0.32×10−3 mm2/s) versus those with laryngeal precancerous lesions (mean 1.780±0.32×10−3 mm2/s; P<0.001). ROC analysis showed that the area under the curve was 0.956 and the optimum threshold for the ADC was 1.455×10−3 mm2/s, resulting in a sensitivity of 94.1%, a specificity of 90.9%, and an accuracy of 92.9%.
Despite some limitations, including the small number of laryngeal carcinomas included, DWI may detect changes in tumor size and shape before they are visible by laryngostroboscopy. The ADC values were lower for patients with laryngeal carcinoma than for those with laryngeal precancerous lesions. The proposed cutoff for the ADC may help distinguish laryngeal carcinomas from laryngeal precancerous lesions.
Noninvasive imaging techniques have been considered important strategies in the clinic to monitor tumor early response to therapy. In the present study, we applied RGD peptides conjugated to iron oxide nanoparticles (IONP-RGD) as contrast agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to noninvasively monitor the response of a vascular disrupting agent VEGF121/rGel in an orthotopic glioblastoma model. RGD peptides were firstly coupled to IONPs coated with a crosslinked PEGylated amphiphilic triblock copolymer. In vitro binding assays confirmed that cellular uptake of particles was mainly dependent on the interaction between RGD and integrin αvβ3 of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). The tumor targeting of IONP-RGD was observed in an orthotopic U87 glioblastoma model. Finally, noninvasive monitoring of the tumor response to VEGF121/rGel therapy at early stages of treatment was successfully accomplished using IONP-RGD as a contrast agent for MRI, a superior method over common anatomical approaches which are based on tumor size measurements. This preclinical study can accelerate anticancer drug development and promote clinical translation of nanoprobes.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs); RGD peptides; Tumor targeting; Therapy response
Nanotheranostics, the integration of diagnostic and therapeutic function in one system using the benefits of nanotechnology, is extremely attractive for personalized medicine. Because treating cancer is not a one-size-fits-all scenario, it requires therapy to be adapted to the patient’s specific biomolecules. Personalized and precision medicine (PM) does just that. It identifies biomarkers to gain an understanding of the diagnosis and in turn treating the specific disorder based on the precise diagnosis. By predominantly utilizing the unique properties of nanoparticles to achieve biomarker identification and drug delivery, nanotheranostics can be applied to noninvasively discover and target image biomarkers and further deliver treatment based on the biomarker distribution. This is a large and hopeful role theranostics must fill. However, as described in this expert opinion, current nanotechnology-based theranostics systems engineered for PM applications are not yet sufficient. PM is an ever-growing field that will be a driving force for future discoveries in biomedicine, especially cancer theranostics. In this article, the authors dissect the requirements for successful nanotheranostics-based PM.
chemotherapy; drug delivery; molecular imaging; molecular profiling; nanotechnology; nanotheranostics; prodrugs
Nanoformulations have shown great promise for delivering chemotherapeutics and hold tremendous clinical relevance. However nuclear mapping of the chemo drugs is important to predict the success of the nanoformulation. Herein in this study fluorescence microscopy and a subcellular tracking algorithm were used to map the diffusion of chemotherapeutic drugs in cancer cells. Positively charged nanoparticles efficiently carried the chemo drug across the cell membrane. The algorithm helped map free drug and drug loaded nanoparticles, revealing varying nuclear diffusion pattern of the chemotherapeutics in drug-sensitive and resistant cells in a live dynamic cellular environment. While the drug-sensitive cells showed an exponential uptake of the drug with time, resistant cells showed random and asymmetric drug distribution. Moreover nanoparticles carrying the drug remained in the perinuclear region while the drug got accumulated in the cell nuclei. The tracking approach has enabled us to predict the therapeutic success of different nanoscale formulations of doxorubicin.
iron oxide nanoparticles; doxorubicin; drug resistance; computational; nuclear mapping; live cell imaging; cancer
Photoacoustic imaging is a unique modality that overcomes to a great extent the resolution and depth limitations of optical imaging while maintaining relatively high-contrast. However, since many diseases will not manifest an endogenous photoacoustic contrast, it is essential to develop exogenous photoacoustic contrast agents that can target diseased tissue(s). Here we present a family of novel photoacoustic contrast agents that are based on the binding of small optical dyes to single walled carbon nanotubes (SWNT-dye). We synthesized five different SWNT-dye contrast agents using different optical dyes, creating five “flavors” of SWNT-dye nanoparticles. In particular, SWNT that were coated with either QSY21 (SWNT-QSY) or Indocyanine Green (SWNT-ICG) exhibited over 100-times higher photoacoustic contrast in living animals compared to plain SWNTs, leading to subnanomolar sensitivities. We then conjugated the SWNT-dye conjugates with cyclic Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) peptides to molecularly target the αvβ3 integrin, which is associated with tumor angiogenesis. Intravenous administration of these tumor-targeted imaging agents to tumor-bearing mice showed significantly higher photoacoustic signal in the tumor than in mice injected with the untargeted contrast agent. Finally, we were able to spectrally separate the photoacoustic signals of SWNT-QSY and SWNT-ICG in living animals injected subcutaneously with both particles in the same location, opening the possibility for multiplexing in vivo studies.
carbon nanotubes; SWNT; molecular imaging; photoacoustic imaging; multiplexing
18F-FPPRGD2, which was approved for clinical study recently, has favorable properties for integrin targeting and showed potential for antiangiogenic therapy and early response monitoring. However, the time-consuming multiple-step synthesis may limit its widespread applications in the clinic. In this study, we developed a simple lyophilized kit for labeling PRGD2 peptide (18F-AlF-NOTA-PRGD2, denoted as 18F-alfatide) using a fluo-ride–aluminum complex that significantly simplified the labeling procedure.
Nine patients with a primary diagnosis of lung cancer were examined by both static and dynamic PET imaging with 18F-alfatide, and 1 tuberculosis patient was investigated using both 18F-alfatide and 18F-FDG imaging. Standardized uptake values were measured in tumors and other main organs at 30 min and 1 h after injection. Kinetic parameters were calculated by Logan graphical analysis. Immunohisto-chemistry and staining intensity quantification were performed to confirm the expression of integrin αvβ3.
Under the optimal conditions, the whole radiosynthesis including purifica-tion was accomplished within 20 min with a decay-corrected yield of 42.1% ± 2.0% and radiochemical purity of more than 95%. 18F-alfatide PET imaging identified all tumors, with mean standardized uptake values of 2.90 ± 0.10. Tumor-to-muscle and tumor-to-blood ratios were 5.87 ± 2.02 and 2.71 ± 0.92, respectively.
18F-alfatide can be produced with excellent radiochemical yield and purity via a simple, 1-step, lyophilized kit. PET scanning with 18F-alfatide allows specific imaging of αvβ3 expression with good contrast in lung cancer patients. This technique might be used for the assessment of angiogene-sis and for planning and response evaluation of cancer therapies that would affect angiogenesis status and integrin expression levels.
RGD peptide; alfatide; aluminum fluoride; PET; lung cancer
Recent experimental investigation (Reitzenstein and Lambert,Macromolecules, 2009, 42, 773) indicated that the quite different optical properties of 2,7- and 3,6-linkage triarylboryl carbazole oligomers may arise from the different nature of their low-lying excited states: a low-lying delocalized within-backbone excitation in longer 2,7-linked oligomers vs a backbone-to-sidechain charge-transfer (CT) excitation independent of the polymerization length in 3,6-linked oligomers. Here in this paper, two long-range corrected functionals, CAM-B3LYP and ωB97X, are applied together with the traditional B3LYP functional in time-dependent density functional theory (TDDFT) calculations to systematically investigate the low-lying electronic excitations in both oligomers. Our calculations indicate that an extensive conjugation exists between monomer molecular orbitals in 2,7-linked oligomers, which is absent in those of 3,6-linked structures, resulting in a considerable narrowing of the HOMO-LUMO gap of their backbone moiety, while having little effect on the side-chains. CAM-B3LYP and ωB97x calculations confirm that the lowest-energy absorption is a within-backbone excitation in longer 2,7-linked oligomers as opposed to a backbone to side-chain charge transfer excitation in 2,7-linked oligmers of shorter length and 3,6-linked oligomers of any length. All these findings are consistent with the experimental findings and the qualitative energy diagram proposed by Reitzenstein and Lambert.
dye-sensitized solar cells; polycarbazole; time-dependent density functional theory; charge-transfer excited states; long-range corrected functionals
While idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (PF) is a devastating lung disease, the management of PF including effective monitoring of disease progression remains a challenge. Herein, we introduce a novel, fast and ultra-sensitive metalloproteinase (MMP) activatable optical probe, named MMP-P12, to non-invasively monitor PF progression and response to PF treatment. A bleomycin (BLM)-induced mouse PF model was subjected non-invasively to optical imaging at various time points after BLM treatment. Mouse PF model developed fibrosis during 21 days of experimental period, and the progression of PF was well correlated with the step-wise increase of MMP-2 expression as examined by quantitative RT-PCR and western blot analysis on the 7-, 14-and 21-day post-BLM administration. On these days, MMP-activated fluorescence images were acquired in vivo and ex vivo. Signal quantification showed time-dependent lung-specific incremental increases in fluorescence signals. As a treatment for PF, secretoglobin 3A2 was daily administered intravenously for five days starting day seven of BLM administration, which resulted in reduced MMP-2 activity and reduction of PF as previously demonstrated. Importantly, the fluorescence signal that reflected MMP activity also decreased in intensity. In conclusion, MMPs may play an important role in PF development and MMP-P12 probe could be a promising tool for PF detection, even at an early stage of the disease as well as an indicator of therapy response.
Pulmonary fibrosis; Matrix metalloproteinase; Optical imaging; Activatable probe; Secretoglobin 3A2
Lymphangiogenesis in tumor-draining lymph nodes (LNs) starts before the onset of metastasis and is associated with metastasis to distant LNs and organs. In this study, we aimed to visualize tumor induced lymphangiogensis with a tumor lymphatics-specific peptide Lyp-1. The LyP-1 peptide was labeled with a near-infrared fluorophore (Cy5.5) for optical imaging. At days 3, 7, 14 and 21 after subcutaneous 4T1 tumor inoculation, Cy5.5-LyP-1 was administered through the middle phalanges of the upper extremities of the tumor-bearing mice. At 45 min and 24 h postinjection, brachial LN fluorescence imaging was performed. Ex vivo fluorescence images were acquired for quantitative analysis of the fluorescence intensity. Tumor induced lymphangiogenesis was confirmed by LYVE-1 immunostaining and increased size of tumor side brachial LNs. Cy5.5-LyP-1 staining in LNs co-localized with LYVE-1, suggesting lymphatics-specific binding of LyP-1 peptide. The brachial LNs were clearly visualized by optical imaging at both time points. The tumor side LNs showed significantly higher fluorescence intensities than the contralateral brachial LNs at days 7, 14, and 21, but not day 3 after tumor inoculation. At day 21 after tumor inoculation, the average signal of tumor-draining LNs was 78.0 ± 2.44, 24.3 ± 5.43, 25.6 ± 0.25 (×103 photon/cm2/s) using Cy5.5-LyP-1, Cy5.5-LyP-1 with blocking, and Cy5.5 only, respectively. Tumor-draining brachial LNs showed extensive growth of lymphatic sinuses throughout the cortex and medulla. Use of LyP-1 based imaging probes with optical imaging offers a useful tool for the study of tumor-induced lymphangiogenesis. LyP-1 may serve as a marker of lymphangiogenesis useful in detecting “high risk” lymph nodes before tumor metastasis and after micro-metastasis, as well as for screening potential anti-lymphatic therapies.
Lymphangiogenesis; lymph node; LyP-1 peptide; optical imaging