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1.  ROS-Responsive Activatable Photosensitizing Agent for Imaging and Photodynamic Therapy of Activated Macrophages 
Theranostics  2013;4(1):1-11.
The optical properties of macrophage-targeted theranostic nanoparticles (MacTNP) prepared from a Chlorin e6 (Ce6)-hyaluronic acid (HA) conjugate can be activated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) in macrophage cells. MacTNP are nonfluorescent and nonphototoxic in their native state. However, when treated with ROS, especially peroxynitrite, they become highly fluorescent and phototoxic. In vitro cell studies show that MacTNP emit near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence inside activated macrophages. The NIR fluorescence is quenched in the extracellular environment. MacTNP are nontoxic in macrophages up to a Ce6 concentration of 10 μM in the absence of light. However, MacTNP become phototoxic upon illumination in a light dose-dependent manner. In particular, significantly higher phototoxic effect is observed in the activated macrophage cells compared to human dermal fibroblasts and non-activated macrophages. The ROS-responsive MacTNP, with their high target-to-background ratio, may have a significant potential in selective NIR fluorescence imaging and in subsequent photodynamic therapy of atherosclerosis with minimum side effects.
doi:10.7150/thno.7101
PMCID: PMC3881223  PMID: 24396511
Reactive oxygen species; macrophage; theranostics; activatable; photodynamic therapy.
2.  Gold Nanoshelled Liquid Perfluorocarbon Magnetic Nanocapsules: a Nanotheranostic Platform for Bimodal Ultrasound/Magnetic Resonance Imaging Guided Photothermal Tumor Ablation 
Theranostics  2013;4(1):12-23.
Imaging guided ablation therapy has been applied in both biomedical research and clinical trials and turned out to be one of the most promising approaches for cancer treatment. Herein, the multifunctional nanocapsules were fabricated through loading perfluorooctylbromide (PFOB) and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIOs) into poly(lactic acid) (PLA) nanocapsules (NCs), followed by the formation of PEGylated gold nanoshell on the surface. The resulting multi-component NCs were proved to be able to act as nanotheranostic agent to achieve successful bimodal ultrasound (US)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guided photothermal ablation in human tumor xenograft models non-invasively. Such a single theranostic agent with the combination of real-time US and high-resolution MR imaging would be of great value to offer more comprehensive diagnostic information and dynamics of disease progression for the accurate location of therapeutic focusing spot in the targeted tumor tissue, showing great potential as an effective nanoplatform for contrast imaging guided photothermal therapy.
doi:10.7150/thno.7275
PMCID: PMC3881224  PMID: 24396512
Liquid perfluorocarbon nanocapules; Superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles; Gold nanoshell; Bimodal imaging; Photothermal therapy.
3.  Towards Stratifying Ischemic Components by Cardiac MRI and Multifunctional Stainings in a Rabbit Model of Myocardial Infarction 
Theranostics  2013;4(1):24-35.
Objectives: We sought to identify critical components of myocardial infarction (MI) including area at risk (AAR), MI-core and salvageable zone (SZ) by using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) and multifunctional stainings in rabbits.
Materials and Methods: Fifteen rabbits received 90-min coronary artery (CA) ligation and reopening to induce reperfused MI. First-pass perfusion weighted imaging (PWI90') was performed immediately before CA reperfusion. Necrosis avid dye Evans blue (EB) was intravenously injected for later MI-core detection. One-day later, cMRI with T2-weighted imaging (T2WI), PWI24h and delayed enhancement (DE) T1WI was performed at a 3.0T clinical scanner. The heart was excised and CA was re-ligated with aorta infused by red-iodized-oil (RIO). The heart was sliced into 3-mm sections for digital radiography (DR), histology and planimetry with myocardial salvage index (MSI) and perfusion density rate (PDR) calculated.
Results: There was no significant difference between MI-cores defined by DE-T1WI and EB-staining (31.13±8.55% vs 29.80±7.97%; p=0.74). The AAR was defined similarly by PWI90' (39.93±9.51%), RIO (38.82±14.41%) and DR (38.17±15.98%), underestimated by PWI24h (36.44±5.31%), but overestimated (p<0.01) by T2WI (56.93±8.87%). Corresponding MSI turned out to be 24.17±9.5% (PWI90'), 21.97±9.41% (DR) and 22.68±9.65% (RIO), which were significantly (p<0.01) higher and lower than that with PWI24h (15.15±7.34%) and T2WI (45.52±7.5%) respectively. The PDR differed significantly (p<0.001) between normal myocardium (350.6±33.1%) and the AAR (31.2±15%), suggesting 11-times greater blood perfusion in normal myocardium over the AAR.
Conclusion: The introduced rabbit platform and new staining techniques together with the use of a 3.0T clinical scanner for cMRI enabled visualization of MI components and may contribute to translational cardiac imaging research for improved theranostic management of ischemic heart disease.
doi:10.7150/thno.7188
PMCID: PMC3881225  PMID: 24396513
area at risk; myocardial infarction; rabbits; MRI; Evans blue
4.  Intravascular Photoacoustics for Image-Guidance and Temperature Monitoring During Plasmonic Photothermal Therapy of Atherosclerotic Plaques: A Feasibility Study 
Theranostics  2013;4(1):36-46.
Recently, combined intravascular ultrasound and photoacoustic (IVUS/IVPA) imaging has been demonstrated as a novel imaging modality capable of visualizing both morphology (via IVUS) and cellular/molecular composition (via IVPA) of atherosclerotic plaques, using both endogenous tissue absorbers and exogenous contrast agents. Plasmonic gold nanoparticles were previously utilized as IVPA contrast agents which co-localize with atherosclerotic plaques, particularly phagocytically active macrophages. The present work demonstrates the use of IVUS/IVPA imaging as a tool for localized temperature monitoring during laser heating. The temperature dependent change in IVPA signal intensity of silica-coated gold nanorod contrast agents absorbing within the near-infrared optical wavelength range is evaluated and shown to have a linear relationship, with a slope greater than that of endogenous tissue. A continuous wave laser was subsequently incorporated into the IVUS/IVPA integrated catheter and utilized to selectively heat the nanoparticles with simultaneous IVPA temperature monitoring. IVUS/IVPA, therefore, provides a platform for detection and temperature monitoring of atherosclerotic plaques through the selective heating of plasmonic gold nanoparticle contrast agents.
doi:10.7150/thno.7143
PMCID: PMC3881226  PMID: 24396514
photoacoustic; atherosclerosis; gold nanorods; photothermal; temperature monitoring; intravascular.
5.  Prospective of 68Ga-Radiopharmaceutical Development 
Theranostics  2013;4(1):47-80.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) experienced accelerated development and has become an established method for medical research and clinical routine diagnostics on patient individualized basis. Development and availability of new radiopharmaceuticals specific for particular diseases is one of the driving forces of the expansion of clinical PET. The future development of the 68Ga-radiopharmaceuticals must be put in the context of several aspects such as role of PET in nuclear medicine, unmet medical needs, identification of new biomarkers, targets and corresponding ligands, production and availability of 68Ga, automation of the radiopharmaceutical production, progress of positron emission tomography technologies and image analysis methodologies for improved quantitation accuracy, PET radiopharmaceutical regulations as well as advances in radiopharmaceutical chemistry. The review presents the prospects of the 68Ga-based radiopharmaceutical development on the basis of the current status of these aspects as well as wide range and variety of imaging agents.
doi:10.7150/thno.7447
PMCID: PMC3881227  PMID: 24396515
positron emission tomography; 68Ga; radiochemistry; coordination chemistry; conjugation chemistry.
6.  Improving Conventional Enhanced Permeability and Retention (EPR) Effects; What Is the Appropriate Target? 
Theranostics  2013;4(1):81-89.
Nano-sized therapeutic agents have several advantages over low molecular weight agents such as a larger loading capacity, the ability to protect the payload until delivery, more specific targeting due to multivalency and the opportunity for controlled/sustained release. However, the delivery of nano-sized agents into cancer tissue is problematic because it mostly relies on the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect that depends on the leaky nature of the tumor vasculature and the prolonged circulation of nano-sized agents, allowing slow but uneven accumulation in the tumor bed. Delivery of nano-sized agents is dependent on several factors that influence the EPR effect; 1. Regional blood flow to the tumor, 2. Permeability of the tumor vasculature, 3. Structural barriers imposed by perivascular tumor cells and extracellular matrix, 4. Intratumoral pressure. In this review, these factors will be described and methods to enhance nano-agent delivery will be reviewed.
doi:10.7150/thno.7193
PMCID: PMC3881228  PMID: 24396516
Cancer; Nano-delivery; Tumor physiology; Enhanced permeability and retention effects.
7.  In Vivo Theranostics at the Peri-Infarct Region in Cerebral Ischemia 
Theranostics  2013;4(1):90-105.
The use of theranostics in neurosciences has been rare to date because of the limitations imposed on the free delivery of substances to the brain by the blood-brain barrier. Here we report the development of a theranostic system for the treatment of stroke, a leading cause of death and disability in developed countries. We first performed a series of proteomic, immunoblotting and immunohistological studies to characterize the expression of molecular biomarkers for the so-called peri-infarct tissue, a key region of the brain for stroke treatment. We confirmed that the HSP72 protein is a suitable biomarker for the peri-infarct region, as it is selectively expressed by at-risk tissue for up to 7 days following cerebral ischemia. We also describe the development of anti-HSP72 vectorized stealth immunoliposomes containing imaging probes to make them traceable by conventional imaging techniques (fluorescence and MRI) that were used to encapsulate a therapeutic agent (citicoline) for the treatment of cerebral ischemia. We tested the molecular recognition capabilities of these nano-platforms in vitro together with their diagnostic and therapeutic properties in vivo, in an animal model of cerebral ischemia. Using MRI, we found that 80% of vectorized liposomes were located on the periphery of the ischemic lesion, and animals treated with citicoline encapsulated on these liposomes presented lesion volumes up to 30% smaller than animals treated with free (non-encapsulated) drugs. Our results show the potential of nanotechnology for the development of effective tools for the treatment of neurological diseases.
doi:10.7150/thno.7088
PMCID: PMC3881229  PMID: 24396517
cerebral ischemia; peri-infarct region; MRI; Theranostics; Drug delivery.
8.  uPAR-targeted Optical Imaging Contrasts as Theranostic Agents for Tumor Margin Detection 
Theranostics  2013;4(1):106-118.
Complete removal of tumors by surgery is the most important prognostic factor for cancer patients with the early stage cancers. The ability to identify invasive tumor edges of the primary tumor, locally invaded small tumor lesions, and drug resistant residual tumors following neoadjuvant therapy during surgery should significantly reduce the incidence of local tumor recurrence and improve survival of cancer patients. In this study, we report that urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor (uPAR) are the ligand/cell surface target pair for the development of targeted optical imaging probes for enhancing imaging contrasts in the tumor border. Recombinant peptides of the amino terminal fragment (ATF) of the receptor binding domain of uPA were labeled with near infrared fluorescence (NIR) dye molecules either as peptide-imaging or peptide-conjugated nanoparticle imaging probes. Systemic delivery of the uPAR-targeted imaging probes in mice bearing orthotopic human breast or pancreatic tumor xenografts or mouse mammary tumors led to the accumulation of the probes in the tumor and stromal cells, resulting in strong signals for optical imaging of tumors and identification of tumor margins. Histological analysis showed that a high level of uPAR-targeted nanoparticles was present in the tumor edge or active tumor stroma immediately adjacent to the tumor cells. Furthermore, following targeted therapy using uPAR-targeted theranostic nanoparticles, residual tumors were detectable by optical imaging through the imaging contrasts produced by NIR-dye-labeled theranostic nanoparticles in drug resistant tumor cells. Therefore, results of our study support the potential of the development of uPAR-targeted imaging and theranostic agents for image-guided surgery.
doi:10.7150/thno.7409
PMCID: PMC3881230  PMID: 24396518
uPAR; optical imaging; theranostic nanoparticles; tumor margin; and image-guided surgery
9.  MicroRNA-206: a Promising Theranostic Marker 
Theranostics  2014;4(2):119-133.
MicroRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression by binding to the 3` untranslated regions (3`UTR) of their target mRNAs. MiRs were shown to play pivotal roles in tissue development and function and are also involved in the pathogenesis of various diseases including cancer.
MicroRNA-206, which belongs to the group of so-called “myomiRs”, is one of the most studied miRs thus far. In addition to being involved in skeletal muscle development and pathology, it has also been established that it is involved in the pathogenesis of numerous diseases including heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Alzheimer's disease and various types of cancers.
The aim of this review is to provide a complex overview of microRNA-206, including regulating its expression, a brief description of its known functions in skeletal muscle and a complex overview of its roles in the biology and pathology of other tissues, emphasizing its significant diagnostic and therapeutic potential.
doi:10.7150/thno.7552
PMCID: PMC3900797  PMID: 24465270
microRNA-206; Theranostic Marker
10.  Visualization of Protease Activity In Vivo Using an Activatable Photo-Acoustic Imaging Probe Based on CuS Nanoparticles 
Theranostics  2014;4(2):134-141.
Herein, we for the first time report a novel activatable photoacoustic (PA) imaging nano-probe for in vivo detection of cancer-related matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). A black hole quencher 3 (BHQ3) which absorbs red light is conjugated to near-infrared (NIR)-absorbing copper sulfide (CuS) nanoparticles via a MMP-cleavable peptide linker. The obtained CuS-peptide-BHQ3 (CPQ) nano-probe exhibits two distinctive absorption peaks at 630 nm and 930 nm. Inside the tumor microenviorment where MMPs present, the MMP-sensitive peptide would be cleaved, releasing BHQ3 from the CuS nanoparticles, the former of which as a small molecule is then rapidly cleared out from the tumor, whereas the latter of which as large nanoparticles would retain inside the tumor for a much longer period of time. As the result, the PA signal at 680 nm which is contributed by BHQ3 would be quickly diminished while that at 930 nm would be largely retained. The PA signal ratio of 680 nm / 930 nm could thus serve as an in vivo indicator of MMPs activity inside the tumor. Our work presents a novel strategy of in vivo sensing of MMPs based on PA imaging, which should offer remarkably improved detection depth compared with traditional optical imaging techniques.
doi:10.7150/thno.7217
PMCID: PMC3900798  PMID: 24465271
Peptide; Photoacoustic imaging; Enzyme cleavage; Copper sulfide; MMPs detection.
11.  Folate Receptor-Targeting Gold Nanoclusters as Fluorescence Enzyme Mimetic Nanoprobes for Tumor Molecular Colocalization Diagnosis 
Theranostics  2014;4(2):142-153.
Nanoprobes with enzyme-like properties attracted a growing interest in early screening and diagnosis of cancer. To achieve high accuracy and specificity of tumor detection, the design and preparation of enzyme mimetic nanoprobes with high enzyme activity, tumor targeting and excellent luminescence property is highly desirable. Herein, we described a novel kind of fluorescence enzyme mimetic nanoprobe based on folate receptor-targeting Au nanoclusters. The nanoprobes exhibited excellent stability, low cytotoxicity, high fluorescence and enzyme activity. We demonstrated that the nanoprobes could be used for tumor tissues fluorescence/visualizing detection. For the same tumor tissue slice, the nanoprobes peroxidase staining and fluorescent staining were obtained simultaneously, and the results were mutually complementary. Therefore, the fluorescence enzyme mimetic nanoprobes could provide a molecular colocalization diagnosis strategy, efficiently avoid false-positive and false-negative results, and further improve the accuracy and specificity of cancer diagnoses. By examining different clinical samples, we demonstrated that the nanoprobes could distinguish efficiently cancerous cells from normal cells, and exhibit a clinical potential for cancer diagnosis.
doi:10.7150/thno.7266
PMCID: PMC3900799  PMID: 24465272
Gold Nanoclusters; Fluorescence; Enzyme Mimetic; Tumor Diagnosis; Molecular Colocalization
12.  Identification of Volatile Biomarkers of Gastric Cancer Cells and Ultrasensitive Electrochemical Detection based on Sensing Interface of Au-Ag Alloy coated MWCNTs 
Theranostics  2014;4(2):154-162.
Successful development of novel electrochemical biosensing interface for ultrasensitive detection of volatile biomarkers of gastric cancer cells is a challenging task. Herein we reported to screen out novel volatile biomarkers associated with gastric cancer cells and develop a novel Au-Ag alloy composites-coated MWCNTs as sensing interface for ultrasensitive detection of volatile biomarkers. MGC-803 gastric cancer cells and GES-1 gastric mucous cells were cultured in serum-free media. The sample preparation approaches and HS-SPME conditions were optimized for screening volatile biomarkers. Volatiles emitted from the headspace of the cells/medium culture were identified using GC-MS. The Au-Ag nanoparticles-coated multiwalled carbon nanotubes were prepared as a sensing interface for detection of volatile biomarkers. Results showed that eight different volatile metabolites were screened out between MGC-803 cells and GES-1 cells. Two compounds such as 3-octanone and butanone were specifically present in the headspace of the MGC-803 cells. Three volatiles such as 4-isopropoxybutanol, nonanol and 4-butoxy 1-butanol coexisted in the headspace of both the MGC-803 cells and the GES-1 cells, their concentrations in the headspace of the GES-1cells were markedly higher than those in the MGC-803 cells, three volatiles such as formic acid propyl ester, 1.4-butanediol and 2, 6, 11-trimethyl dodecane solely existed in the headspace of the GES-1 cells. The nanocomposites of MWNTs loaded with Au-Ag nanoparticles were prepared as a electrochemical sensing interface for detection of two volatile biomarkers, cyclic voltammetry studies showed that the fabricated sensor could detect 3-octanone in the range of 0~0.0025% (v/v) and with a detection limitation of 0.3 ppb, could detect butanone in the range of 0 ~ 0.055% (v/v), and with a detection limitation of 0.5 ppb, and exhibited good selectivity. The novel electrochemical biosensor combined with volatile biomarkers of gastric cancer owns great potential in applications such as early diagnosis and the prognosis of gastric cancer in near future.
doi:10.7150/thno.7560
PMCID: PMC3900800  PMID: 24465273
gastric cancer cells; volatile organic compounds; multi-wall carbon nanotubes; Au-Ag nanoparticles; cyclic voltammetry; electrochemical sensor.
13.  Gold Nanocage-Photosensitizer Conjugates for Dual-Modal Image-Guided Enhanced Photodynamic Therapy 
Theranostics  2014;4(2):163-174.
We have demonstrated that gold nanocage-photosensitizer conjugates can enable dual image-guided delivery of photosensitizer and significantly improve the efficacy of photodynamic therapy in a murine model. The photosensitizer, 3-devinyl-3-(1'-hexyloxyethyl)pyropheophorbide (HPPH), was noncovalently entrapped in the poly(ethylene glycol) monolayer coated on the surface of gold nanocages. The conjugate is stable in saline solutions, while incubation in protein rich solutions leads to gradual unloading of the HPPH, which can be monitored optically by fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging. The slow nature of the release in turn results in an increase in accumulation of the drug within implanted tumors due to the passive delivery of gold nanocages. Furthermore, the conjugate is found to generate more therapeutic singlet oxygen and have a lower IC50 value than the free drug alone. Thus the conjugate shows significant suppression of tumor growth as compared to the free drug in vivo. Short-term study showed neither toxicity nor phenotypical changes in mice at therapeutic dose of the conjugates or even at 100-fold higher than therapeutic dose of gold nanocages.
doi:10.7150/thno.7064
PMCID: PMC3900801  PMID: 24465274
Gold Nanostructures; Drug Delivery; Fluorescence Imaging; Photoacoustic Imaging; Cancer Treatment.
14.  Nanoparticle Drug- and Gene-eluting Stents for the Prevention and Treatment of Coronary Restenosis 
Theranostics  2014;4(2):175-200.
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) has become the most common revascularization procedure for coronary artery disease. The use of stents has reduced the rate of restenosis by preventing elastic recoil and negative remodeling. However, in-stent restenosis remains one of the major drawbacks of this procedure. Drug-eluting stents (DESs) have proven to be effective in reducing the risk of late restenosis, but the use of currently marketed DESs presents safety concerns, including the non-specificity of therapeutics, incomplete endothelialization leading to late thrombosis, the need for long-term anti-platelet agents, and local hypersensitivity to polymer delivery matrices. In addition, the current DESs lack the capacity for adjustment of the drug dose and release kinetics appropriate to the disease status of the treated vessel. The development of efficacious therapeutic strategies to prevent and inhibit restenosis after PCI is critical for the treatment of coronary artery disease. The administration of drugs using biodegradable polymer nanoparticles as carriers has generated immense interest due to their excellent biocompatibility and ability to facilitate prolonged drug release. Despite the potential benefits of nanoparticles as smart drug delivery and diagnostic systems, much research is still required to evaluate potential toxicity issues related to the chemical properties of nanoparticle materials, as well as to their size and shape. This review describes the molecular mechanism of coronary restenosis, the use of DESs, and progress in nanoparticle drug- or gene-eluting stents for the prevention and treatment of coronary restenosis.
doi:10.7150/thno.7210
PMCID: PMC3900802  PMID: 24465275
Coronary artery disease; Stenosis; Restenosis; Stents; Nanoparticle.
15.  Multi-Scale Optical Imaging of the Delayed Type Hypersensitivity Reaction Attenuated by Rapamycin 
Theranostics  2014;4(2):201-214.
Neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages (MMs) play important roles in the development of cell-mediated delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH). However, the dynamics of neutrophils and MMs during the DTH reaction and how the immunosuppressant rapamycin modulates their behavior in vivo are rarely reported. Here, we take advantage of multi-scale optical imaging techniques and a footpad DTH reaction model to non-invasively investigate the dynamic behavior and properties of immune cells from the whole field of the footpad to the cellular level. During the classic elicitation phase of the DTH reaction, both neutrophils and MMs obviously accumulated at inflammatory foci at 24 h post-challenge. Rapamycin treatment resulted in advanced neutrophil recruitment and vascular hyperpermeability at an early stage (4 h), the reduced accumulation of neutrophils (> 50% inhibition ratio) at 48 h, and the delayed involvement of MMs in inflammatory foci. The motility parameters of immune cells in the rapamycin-treated reaction at 4 h post-challenge displayed similar mean velocities, arrest durations, mean displacements, and confinements as the classic DTH reaction at 24 h. These results indicate that rapamycin treatment shortened the initial preparation stage of the DTH reaction and attenuated its intensity, which may be due to the involvement of T helper type 2 cells or regulatory T cells.
doi:10.7150/thno.7570
PMCID: PMC3900803  PMID: 24465276
Delayed type hypersensitivity; fluorescent imaging; motility; rapamycin; neutrophils; monocyte/macrophage.
16.  Quantitative Liver-Specific Protein Fingerprint in Blood: A Signature for Hepatotoxicity 
Theranostics  2014;4(2):215-228.
We discuss here a new approach to detecting hepatotoxicity by employing concentration changes of liver-specific blood proteins during disease progression. These proteins are capable of assessing the behaviors of their cognate liver biological networks for toxicity or disease perturbations. Blood biomarkers are highly desirable diagnostics as blood is easily accessible and baths virtually all organs. Fifteen liver-specific blood proteins were identified as markers of acetaminophen (APAP)-induced hepatotoxicity using three proteomic technologies: label-free antibody microarrays, quantitative immunoblotting, and targeted iTRAQ mass spectrometry. Liver-specific blood proteins produced a toxicity signature of eleven elevated and four attenuated blood protein levels. These blood protein perturbations begin to provide a systems view of key mechanistic features of APAP-induced liver injury relating to glutathione and S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) depletion, mitochondrial dysfunction, and liver responses to the stress. Two markers, elevated membrane-bound catechol-O-methyltransferase (MB-COMT) and attenuated retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4), report hepatic injury significantly earlier than the current gold standard liver biomarker, alanine transaminase (ALT). These biomarkers were perturbed prior to onset of irreversible liver injury. Ideal markers should be applicable for both rodent model studies and human clinical trials. Five of these mouse liver-specific blood markers had human orthologs that were also found to be responsive to human hepatotoxicity. This panel of liver-specific proteins has the potential to effectively identify the early toxicity onset, the nature and extent of liver injury and report on some of the APAP-perturbed liver networks.
doi:10.7150/thno.7868
PMCID: PMC3900804  PMID: 24465277
liver injury; toxicity; biomarker; RBP4; COMT; CPS1; BHMT.
17.  Photosensitizer Loaded Nano-Graphene for Multimodality Imaging Guided Tumor Photodynamic Therapy 
Theranostics  2014;4(3):229-239.
Graphene, a 2-dimensional carbon nanomaterial, has attracted wide attention in biomedical applications, owing to its intrinsic physical and chemical properties. In this work, a photosensitizer molecule, 2-(1-hexyloxyethyl)-2-devinyl pyropheophorbide-alpha (HPPH or Photochlor®), is loaded onto polyethylene glycol (PEG)-functionalized graphene oxide (GO) via supramolecular π-π stacking. The obtained GO-PEG-HPPH complex shows high HPPH loading efficiency. The in vivo distribution and delivery were tracked by fluorescence imaging as well as positron emission tomography (PET) after radiolabeling of HPPH with 64Cu. Compared with free HPPH, GO-PEG-HPPH offers dramatically improved photodynamic cancer cell killing efficacy due to the increased tumor delivery of HPPH. Our study identifies a role for graphene as a carrier of PDT agents to improve PDT efficacy and increase long-term survival following treatment.
doi:10.7150/thno.8070
PMCID: PMC3915087  PMID: 24505232
Graphene oxide; HPPH; photodynamic therapy; positron emission tomography; optical imaging.
18.  Current Progress in Gene Delivery Technology Based on Chemical Methods and Nano-carriers 
Theranostics  2014;4(3):240-255.
Gene transfer methods are promising in the field of gene therapy. Current methods for gene transfer include three major groups: viral, physical and chemical methods. This review mainly summarizes development of several types of chemical methods for gene transfer in vitro and in vivo by means of nano-carriers like; calcium phosphates, lipids, and cationic polymers including chitosan, polyethylenimine, polyamidoamine dendrimers, and poly(lactide-co-glycolide). This review also briefly introduces applications of these chemical methods for gene delivery.
doi:10.7150/thno.6914
PMCID: PMC3915088  PMID: 24505233
Non-viral; Gene delivery; Vectors; Chemical Methods.
19.  Anti-tumor Effect of Integrin Targeted 177Lu-3PRGD2 and Combined Therapy with Endostar 
Theranostics  2014;4(3):256-266.
Purpose: Targeted radiotherapy (TRT) is an emerging approach for tumor treatment. Previously, 3PRGD2 (a dimeric RGD peptide with 3 PEG4 linkers) has been demonstrated to be of advantage for integrin αvβ3 targeting. Given the promising results of 99mTc-3PRGD2 for lung cancer detection in human beings, we are encouraged to investigate the radiotherapeutic efficacy of radiolabeled 3PRGD2. The goal of this study was to investigate and optimize the integrin αvβ3 mediated therapeutic effect of 177Lu-3PRGD2 in the animal model.
Experimental Design: Biodistribution, gamma imaging and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) studies of 177Lu-3PRGD2 were performed. The targeted radiotherapy (TRT) with single dose and repeated doses as well as the combined therapy of TRT and the anti-angiogenic therapy (AAT) with Endostar were conducted in U87MG tumor model. The hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining and immunochemistry (IHC) were performed post-treatment to evaluate the therapeutic effect.
Results: The U87MG tumor uptake of 177Lu-3PRGD2 was relatively high (6.03 ± 0.65 %ID/g, 4.62 ± 1.44 %ID/g, 3.55 ± 1.08 %ID/g, and 1.22 ± 0.18 %ID/g at 1 h, 4 h, 24 h, and 72 h postinjection, respectively), and the gamma imaging could visualize the tumors clearly. The MTD of 177Lu-3PRGD2 in nude mice (>111 MBq) was twice to that of 90Y-3PRGD2 (55.5 MBq). U87MG tumor growth was significantly delayed by 177Lu-3PRGD2 TRT. Significantly increased anti-tumor effects were observed in the two doses or combined treatment groups.
Conclusion: The two-dose TRT and combined therapy with Endostar potently enhanced the tumor growth inhibition, but the former does not need to inject daily for weeks, avoiding a lot of unnecessary inconvenience and suffering for patients, which could potentially be rapidly translated into clinical practice in the future.
doi:10.7150/thno.7781
PMCID: PMC3915089  PMID: 24505234
Integrin αvβ3; Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD); 177Lu; radionuclide therapy; combination therapy.
20.  Imaging the Urokinase Plasminongen Activator Receptor in Preclinical Breast Cancer Models of Acquired Drug Resistance 
Theranostics  2014;4(3):267-279.
Subtype-targeted therapies can have a dramatic impact on improving the quality and quantity of life for women suffering from breast cancer. Despite an initial therapeutic response, cancer recurrence and acquired drug-resistance are commonplace. Non-invasive imaging probes that identify drug-resistant lesions are urgently needed to aid in the development of novel drugs and the effective utilization of established therapies for breast cancer. The protease receptor urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is a target that can be exploited for non-invasive imaging. The expression of uPAR has been associated with phenotypically aggressive breast cancer and acquired drug-resistance. Acquired drug-resistance was modeled in cell lines from two different breast cancer subtypes, the uPAR negative luminal A subtype and the uPAR positive triple negative subtype cell line MDA-MB-231. MCF-7 cells, cultured to be resistant to tamoxifen (MCF-7 TamR), were found to significantly over-express uPAR compared to the parental cell line. uPAR expression was maintained when resistance was modeled in triple-negative breast cancer by generating doxorubicin and paclitaxel resistant MDA-MB-231 cells (MDA-MB-231 DoxR and MDA-MB-231 TaxR). Using the antagonistic uPAR antibody 2G10, uPAR was imaged in vivo by near-infrared (NIR) optical imaging and 111In-single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Tumor uptake of the 111In-SPECT probe was high in the three drug-resistant xenografts (> 46 %ID/g) and minimal in uPAR negative xenografts at 72 hours post-injection. This preclinical study demonstrates that uPAR can be targeted for imaging breast cancer models of acquired resistance leading to potential clinical applications.
doi:10.7150/thno.7323
PMCID: PMC3915090  PMID: 24505235
urokinase plasminogen activator receptor; single-photon emission computed tomography; human antibody; drug-resistant breast cancer; tamoxifen resistance; phage display.
21.  Biosimilar G-CSF Based Mobilization of Peripheral Blood Hematopoietic Stem Cells for Autologous and Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation 
Theranostics  2014;4(3):280-289.
The use of granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) biosimilars for peripheral blood hematopoietic stem cell (PBSC) mobilization has stimulated an ongoing debate regarding their efficacy and safety. However, the use of biosimilar G-CSF was approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for all the registered indications of the originator G-CSF (Neupogen®) including mobilization of stem cells. Here, we performed a comprehensive review of published reports on the use of biosimilar G-CSF covering patients with hematological malignancies as well as healthy donors that underwent stem cell mobilization at multiple centers using site-specific non-randomized regimens with a biosimilar G-CSF in the autologous and allogeneic setting.
A total of 904 patients mostly with hematological malignancies as well as healthy donors underwent successful autologous or allogeneic stem cell mobilization, respectively, using a biosimilar G-CSF (520 with Ratiograstim®/Tevagrastim, 384 with Zarzio®). The indication for stem cell mobilization in hematology patients included 326 patients with multiple myeloma, 273 with Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), 79 with Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), and other disease. 156 sibling or volunteer unrelated donors were mobilized using biosimilar G-CSF. Mobilization resulted in good mobilization of CD34+ stem cells with side effects similar to originator G-CSF. Post transplantation engraftment did not significantly differ from results previously documented with the originator G-CSF. The side effects experienced by the patients or donors mobilized by biosimilar G-CSF were minimal and were comparable to those of originator G-CSF.
In summary, the efficacy of biosimilar G-CSFs in terms of PBSC yield as well as their toxicity profile are equivalent to historical data with the reference G-CSF.
doi:10.7150/thno.7752
PMCID: PMC3915091  PMID: 24505236
Biosimilar G-CSF; hematopoietic stem cells; mobilization; autologous & allogeneic transplantation; healthy donors
22.  Radiolabeled Nanoparticles for Multimodality Tumor Imaging 
Theranostics  2014;4(3):290-306.
Each imaging modality has its own unique strengths. Multimodality imaging, taking advantages of strengths from two or more imaging modalities, can provide overall structural, functional, and molecular information, offering the prospect of improved diagnostic and therapeutic monitoring abilities. The devices of molecular imaging with multimodality and multifunction are of great value for cancer diagnosis and treatment, and greatly accelerate the development of radionuclide-based multimodal molecular imaging. Radiolabeled nanoparticles bearing intrinsic properties have gained great interest in multimodality tumor imaging over the past decade. Significant breakthrough has been made toward the development of various radiolabeled nanoparticles, which can be used as novel cancer diagnostic tools in multimodality imaging systems. It is expected that quantitative multimodality imaging with multifunctional radiolabeled nanoparticles will afford accurate and precise assessment of biological signatures in cancer in a real-time manner and thus, pave the path towards personalized cancer medicine. This review addresses advantages and challenges in developing multimodality imaging probes by using different types of nanoparticles, and summarizes the recent advances in the applications of radiolabeled nanoparticles for multimodal imaging of tumor. The key issues involved in the translation of radiolabeled nanoparticles to the clinic are also discussed.
doi:10.7150/thno.7341
PMCID: PMC3915092  PMID: 24505237
radiolabeled nanoparticles; molecular imaging; multimodality imaging; tumor diagnosis; cancer; theranostics
23.  Simple and Sensitive Detection of HBsAg by Using a Quantum Dots Nanobeads Based Dot-Blot Immunoassay 
Theranostics  2014;4(3):307-315.
Simple and sensitive detection of infectious disease at an affordable cost is urgently needed in developing nations. In this regard, the dot blot immunoassay has been used as a common protein detection method for detection of disease markers. However, the traditional signal reporting systems, such as those using enzymes or gold nanoparticles lack sensitivity and thus restrict the application of these methods for disease detection. In this study, we report a simple and sensitive detection method for the detection of infectious disease markers that couples the dot-blot immunoassay with quantum dots nanobeads (QDNBs) as a reporter. First, the QDNBs were prepared by an oil-in-water emulsion-evaporation technique. Because of the encapsulation of several QDs in one particle, the fluorescent signal of reporter can be amplified with QDNBs in a one-step test and be read using a UV lamp obviating the need for complicated instruments. Detection of disease-associated markers in complex mixture is possible, which demonstrates the potential of developing QDNBs into a sensitive diagnostic kit.
doi:10.7150/thno.8007
PMCID: PMC3915093  PMID: 24505238
dot-blot immunoassay; HBsAg; quantum dots; nanobeads.
24.  Potential Theranostics Application of Bio-Synthesized Silver Nanoparticles (4-in-1 System) 
Theranostics  2014;4(3):316-335.
In this report, we have designed a simple and efficient green chemistry approach for the synthesis of colloidal silver nanoparticles (b-AgNPs) that is formed by the reduction of silver nitrate (AgNO3) solution using Olax scandens leaf extract. The colloidal b-AgNPs, characterized by various physico-chemical techniques exhibit multifunctional biological activities (4-in-1 system). Firstly, bio-synthesized silver nanoparticles (b-AgNPs) shows enhanced antibacterial activity compared to chemically synthesize silver nanoparticles (c-AgNPs). Secondly, b-AgNPs show anti-cancer activities to different cancer cells (A549: human lung cancer cell lines, B16: mouse melanoma cell line & MCF7: human breast cancer cells) (anti-cancer). Thirdly, these nanoparticles are biocompatible to rat cardiomyoblast normal cell line (H9C2), human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and Chinese hamster ovary cells (CHO) which indicates the future application of b-AgNPs as drug delivery vehicle. Finally, the bio-synthesized AgNPs show bright red fluorescence inside the cells that could be utilized to detect the localization of drug molecules inside the cancer cells (a diagnostic approach). All results together demonstrate the multifunctional biological activities of bio-synthesized AgNPs (4-in-1 system) that could be applied as (i) anti-bacterial & (ii) anti-cancer agent, (iii) drug delivery vehicle, and (iv) imaging facilitator. To the best of our knowledge, there is not a single report of biosynthesized AgNPs that demonstrates the versatile applications (4-in-1 system) towards various biomedical applications. Additionally, a plausible mechanistic approach has been explored for the synthesis of b-AgNPs and its anti-bacterial as well as anti-cancer activity. We strongly believe that bio-synthesized AgNPs will open a new direction towards various biomedical applications in near future.
doi:10.7150/thno.7819
PMCID: PMC3915094  PMID: 24505239
Bio-synthesis; Silver nanoparticle; Green Chemistry; Olax scandens; Multifunctional activities; Antibacterial; anti-cancer.
25.  Evolution- and Structure-Based Computational Strategy Reveals the Impact of Deleterious Missense Mutations on MODY 2 (Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young, Type 2) 
Theranostics  2014;4(4):366-385.
Heterozygous mutations in the central glycolytic enzyme glucokinase (GCK) can result in an autosomal dominant inherited disease, namely maturity-onset diabetes of the young, type 2 (MODY 2). MODY 2 is characterised by early onset: it usually appears before 25 years of age and presents as a mild form of hyperglycaemia. In recent years, the number of known GCK mutations has markedly increased. As a result, interpreting which mutations cause a disease or confer susceptibility to a disease and characterising these deleterious mutations can be a difficult task in large-scale analyses and may be impossible when using a structural perspective. The laborious and time-consuming nature of the experimental analysis led us to attempt to develop a cost-effective computational pipeline for diabetic research that is based on the fundamentals of protein biophysics and that facilitates our understanding of the relationship between phenotypic effects and evolutionary processes. In this study, we investigate missense mutations in the GCK gene by using a wide array of evolution- and structure-based computational methods, such as SIFT, PolyPhen2, PhD-SNP, SNAP, SNPs&GO, fathmm, and Align GVGD. Based on the computational prediction scores obtained using these methods, three mutations, namely E70K, A188T, and W257R, were identified as highly deleterious on the basis of their effects on protein structure and function. Using the evolutionary conservation predictors Consurf and Scorecons, we further demonstrated that most of the predicted deleterious mutations, including E70K, A188T, and W257R, occur in highly conserved regions of GCK. The effects of the mutations on protein stability were computed using PoPMusic 2.1, I-mutant 3.0, and Dmutant. We also conducted molecular dynamics (MD) simulation analysis through in silico modelling to investigate the conformational differences between the native and the mutant proteins and found that the identified deleterious mutations alter the stability, flexibility, and solvent-accessible surface area of the protein. Furthermore, the functional role of each SNP in GCK was identified and characterised using SNPeffect 4.0, F-SNP, and FASTSNP. We hope that the observed results aid in the identification of disease-associated mutations that affect protein structure and function. Our in silico findings provide a new perspective on the role of GCK mutations in MODY2 from an evolution-based structure-centric point of view. The computational architecture described in this paper can be used to predict the most appropriate disease phenotypes for large-genome sequencing projects and to provide individualised drug therapy for complex diseases such as diabetes.
doi:10.7150/thno.7473
PMCID: PMC3936290  PMID: 24578721
GCK; Diabetes; Missense mutations; Evolutionary analysis; Molecular dynamics

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