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Mol Imaging Biol. 2011 Oct;13(5):886-97. doi: 10.1007/s11307-010-0417-7.

Saposin C coupled lipid nanovesicles enable cancer-selective optical and magnetic resonance imaging.

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  • 1Biomedical Engineering, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.



Nanovesicles composed of the phospholipid dioleylphosphatidylserine (DOPS) and a fusogenic protein, saposin C (SapC), selectively target and induce apoptotic cell death in a variety of human cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. We tested whether such tumor-homing nanovesicles are capable of delivering fluorescent probes and magnetic resonance (MR) contrast agents to cancerous tissue to aid in earlier detection and improve visualization.


SapC-DOPS nanovesicles labeled with either a far-red fluorescent probe (CellVue® Maroon, CVM) or conjugated with a dextran coated MR contrast agent, ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO), were systemically administrated into xenografts for tumor detection using optical and MR imaging systems.


SapC-DOPS nanovesicles were effectively detected in vivo in tumor-bearing animals using both optical and MR imaging techniques, thereby demonstrating the cancer-selective properties of these nanovesicles.


SapC-DOPS nanovesicles offer promise as a new and robust theranostic agent for broad cancer-selective detection, visualization, and potential therapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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