In this paper, we report the use of near-infrared (NIR)-emitting alloyed quantum dots (QDs) as efficient optical probes for high contrast invivo imaging of tumors. Alloyed CdTe1 - xSex/CdS QDs were prepared in the non-aqueous phase using the hot colloidal synthesis approach. Water dispersion of the QDs were accomplished by their encapsulation within polyethyleneglycol (PEG)-grafted phospholipid micelles. For tumor-specific delivery invivo, the micelle-encapsulated QDs were conjugated with the cyclic arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (cRGD) peptide, which targets the αvβ3integrins overexpressed in the angiogenic tumor vasculatures. Using invivo NIR optical imaging of mice bearing pancreatic cancer xenografts, implanted both subcutaneously and orthotopically, we have demonstrated that systemically delivered cRGD-conjugated QDs, but not the unconjugated ones, can efficiently target and label the tumors with high signal-to-noise ratio. Histopathological analysis of major organs of the treated mice showed no evidence of systemic toxicity associated with these QDs. These experiments suggest that cRGD-conjugated NIR QDs can serve as safe and efficient probes for optical bioimaging of tumors invivo. Furthermore, by co-encapsulating these QDs and anticancer drugs within these micelles, we have demonstrated a promising theranostic, nanosized platform for both cancer imaging and therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering