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Near-infrared quantum dots for HER2 localization and imaging of cancer cells

Authors Rizvi S, Rouhi S, Taniguchi S, Yang SY, Green M, Keshtgar M, Seifalian A

Received 15 July 2013

Accepted for publication 26 September 2013

Published 11 March 2014 Volume 2014:9(1) Pages 1323—1337

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S51535

Checked for plagiarism Yes

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Video abstract presented by Sarwat Rizvi

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Sarwat B Rizvi,1 Sepideh Rouhi,1 Shohei Taniguchi,2 Shi Yu Yang,1 Mark Green,2 Mo Keshtgar,1,3 Alexander M Seifalian1,3

1UCL Centre for Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine, University College London, 2Department of Physics, King's College London, 3Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust Hospital, London, UK

Background: Quantum dots are fluorescent nanoparticles with unique photophysical properties that allow them to be used as diagnostic, therapeutic, and theranostic agents, particularly in medical and surgical oncology. Near-infrared-emitting quantum dots can be visualized in deep tissues because the biological window is transparent to these wavelengths. Their small sizes and free surface reactive groups that can be conjugated to biomolecules make them ideal probes for in vivo cancer localization, targeted chemotherapy, and image-guided cancer surgery. The human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 gene (HER2/neu) is overexpressed in 25%–30% of breast cancers. The current methods of detection for HER2 status, including immunohistochemistry and fluorescence in situ hybridization, are used ex vivo and cannot be used in vivo. In this paper, we demonstrate the application of near-infrared-emitting quantum dots for HER2 localization in fixed and live cancer cells as a first step prior to their in vivo application.
Methods: Near-infrared-emitting quantum dots were characterized and their in vitro toxicity was established using three cancer cell lines, ie, HepG2, SK-BR-3 (HER2-overexpressing), and MCF7 (HER2-underexpressing). Mouse antihuman anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody was conjugated to the near-infrared-emitting quantum dots.
Results: In vitro toxicity studies showed biocompatibility of SK-BR-3 and MCF7 cell lines with near-infrared-emitting quantum dots at a concentration of 60 µg/mL after one hour and 24 hours of exposure. Near-infrared-emitting quantum dot antiHER2-antibody bioconjugates successfully localized HER2 receptors on SK-BR-3 cells.
Conclusion: Near-infrared-emitting quantum dot bioconjugates can be used for rapid localization of HER2 receptors and can potentially be used for targeted therapy as well as image-guided surgery.

Keywords: anti-HER2 antibody, HER2 localization, quantum dots, in vitro imaging, nanotechnology, cancer

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