NIH Research Festival
Gold nanorods (AuNRs) and their assemblies with optical absorption in the near-infrared (NIR) region have been widely used for bioimaging and photothermal cancer therapy. However, the commonly used AuNRs made by seed method usually have a width greater than 8 nm and length of about 40 nm, which have rapid reticuloendothelial system (RES) organ and tissue accumulation after intravenous administration and very slow clearance from the body. Herein, we report a new kind of small AuNRs (~8 × 2 nm) based on a seedless method, which are readily removed from the body by renal clearance. To increase the in vivo circulation time and tumor accumulation efficiency of the small AuNRs, a novel theranostic platform of biodegradable plasmonic AuNR vesicles with a size of ~60 nm was prepared by self-assembly of small amphiphilic AuNRs grafted with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) and poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) (AuNR@PEG/PLGA) using an oil-in-water (O/W) emulsification method. The strong plasmonic coupling of AuNRs in the vesicular shell gives rise to high photothermal conversion efficiency and strong photoacoustic signal. Non-invasive positron emission tomography (PET) imaging demonstrated that the 64Cu-labeled vesicles can efficiently home to the tumor region after intravenous injection. Furthermore, complete tumor ablation was achieved using 808 nm NIR laser irradiation with low power density (0.4 W/cm2). The vesicles can be degraded into individual small AuNR@PEG, which are rapidly excreted from the body after exerting the photothermal effect in the tumor area.
Scientific Focus Area: Cancer Biology
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