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Rice UniversityCBEN
Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology
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Immunotargeted NIR Contrast Agents for Cancer Imaging

There is a significant clinical need for novel methods for detection and monitoring cancer of that offer improved sensitivity, specificity, and cost-effectiveness. In recent years, a number of groups have dem¬onstrated that optical spectroscopic and imaging approaches are valuable in addressing this need. Optical technologies promise high-resolution, noninvasive functional imaging of tissue at competitive costs. However, in many cases, these technologies are limited by the inherently weak optical signals of endogenous chromophores and the subtle spectral differences of normal and diseased tissue.  In this project, the unique optical properties of CBEN nanomaterials, described both here and in nanomanufacturing (Project 9.1.1.1), are leveraged to develop innovative contrast agents that can be optically interrogated using nonin¬vasive approaches and targeted to specific molecular signatures of disease.  The project continues to move forward work towards imaging applications of gold-silica nanoshells, the nanomaterial class which was the predominant focus of this project during the first five years of CBEN, as well as several other material classes developed through interactions with Theme 1 researchers.

In this project, the unique optical properties of CBEN nanomaterials, described both here and in nanomanufacturing, are leveraged to develop innovative contrast agents that can be optically interrogated using noninvasive approaches and targeted to specific molecular signatures of disease. In addition to continuing to move forward with efforts focused on imaging applications of nanoshells, which were the predominant focus during the first 5 years of CBEN, the range of nanomaterials worked with has been expanded to take advantage of Theme 1 efforts.

Figure 9.2.1.5

Left:  Imaging vs time.  SKBR3 (HER2+) cells are shown in top row on left.  SKBR3 (HER2+) and MCF10A (HER2-) cells are shown in bottom panel on left with the number of nanoshells bound as a function of time for HER2+ cells.  Right:  tissue imaging.  Preliminary reflectance imaging of normal (top) and HER2+ cancerous tissue (bottom) both after incubation with HER2+ nanoshells.  Far right (last column): 30 micron sections of HER2+ cancerous tissue shown in brightfield (top) and darkfield (bottom) after 5 minute incubation.

Participating Researchers: