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Self-assembled polymeric nanoparticles as new, smart contrast agents for cancer early detection using magnetic resonance imaging.

International journal of nanomedicine (2015-01-08)
Fouzi Mouffouk, Teresa Simão, Daniel F Dornelles, André D Lopes, Pablo Sau, Jorge Martins, Khalid M Abu-Salah, Salman A Alrokayan, Ana M Rosa da Costa, Nuno R dos Santos
ABSTRACT

Early cancer detection is a major factor in the reduction of mortality and cancer management cost. Here we developed a smart and targeted micelle-based contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), able to turn on its imaging capability in the presence of acidic cancer tissues. This smart contrast agent consists of pH-sensitive polymeric micelles formed by self-assembly of a diblock copolymer (poly(ethyleneglycol-b-trimethylsilyl methacrylate)), loaded with a gadolinium hydrophobic complex ((t)BuBipyGd) and exploits the acidic pH in cancer tissues. In vitro MRI experiments showed that (t)BuBipyGd-loaded micelles were pH-sensitive, as they turned on their imaging capability only in an acidic microenvironment. The micelle-targeting ability toward cancer cells was enhanced by conjugation with an antibody against the MUC1 protein. The ability of our antibody-decorated micelles to be switched on in acidic microenvironments and to target cancer cells expressing specific antigens, together with its high Gd(III) content and its small size (35-40 nm) reveals their potential use for early cancer detection by MRI.

MATERIALS
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