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Cancer Targeted Carbon Nanotubes for Imaging, Sensing and Therapy

Thursday, October 11, 2012 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – Noon

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • M. Swierczewska
  • K.Y. Choi
  • E. Mertz
  • X. Huang
  • F. Zhang
  • L. Zhu
  • H.Y. Youn
  • J.H. Park
  • A. Bhirde
  • S. Lee
  • X. Chen


We developed a facile single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT) coating that simultaneously offers: a) effective solubility in physiological conditions, b) cancer cell targetability and uptake, and c) intracellular cancer biomarker detection, with the use of a hydrophobically modified, FDA-approved hyaluronic acid. The coating, hyaluronic acid-5ß-cholanic acid (HACA), binds to SWCNTs via the bile salt while the HA provides exceptional hydrodynamic properties. Solubility of the HACA-SWCNTs was observed for over two months in physiological conditions. The coating was performed by simple sonication, without the need for additional chemical modification. As seen by fluorescence and Raman imaging and examined by receptor blocking experiments, HACA-SWCNTs can be taken up specifically by CD44-positive cells. The CD44 receptor is overexpressed on many cancer cell types. After intracellular uptake of HACA-SWCNTs, hyaluronidase (HYAL) was able to degrade the dye-labeled HA and recover fluorescence intensity from its significantly quenched state when coated on the highly absorbing SWCNT. Using PET and photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging, HACA-SWCNTs injected in a murine xenograft model were seen to target the tumor area within one hour; while fluorescence based on intracellular molecular signals was activated after twenty-four hours. A future aim is to develop this stable nanoplatform for laser ablation and targeted toxicity.

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