Targeted gold nanoparticles enable molecular CT imaging of cancer: an in vivo study
Tobi Reuveni1, Menachem Motiei1, Zimam Romman2, Aron Popovtzer3, Rachela Popovtzer1
1Faculty of Engineering and the Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, Bar-ilan University, Ramat Gan, 2GE HealthCare, Tirat Hacarmel, 3Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery and Onology, Davidoff Center, Rabin Medical Center, Beilinson Campus, Petah Tiqwa, Israel
Abstract: In recent years, advances in molecular biology and cancer research have led to the identification of sensitive and specific biomarkers that associate with various types of cancer. However, in vivo cancer detection methods with computed tomography, based on tracing and detection of these molecular cancer markers, are unavailable today. This paper demonstrates in vivo the feasibility of cancer diagnosis based on molecular markers rather than on anatomical structures, using clinical computed tomography. Anti-epidermal growth factor receptor conjugated gold nanoparticles (30 nm) were intravenously injected into nude mice implanted with human squamous cell carcinoma head and neck cancer. The results clearly demonstrate that a small tumor, which is currently undetectable through anatomical computed tomography, is enhanced and becomes clearly visible by the molecularly-targeted gold nanoparticles. It is further shown that active tumor targeting is more efficient and specific than passive targeting. This noninvasive and nonionizing molecular cancer imaging tool can facilitate early cancer detection and can provide researchers with a new technique to investigate in vivo the expression and activity of cancer-related biomarkers and molecular processes.
Keywords: functional computed tomography, molecular imaging, gold nanoparticles, biologically targeted in vivo imaging, contrast agents