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Biomaterials. 2012 Jan;33(3):867-75. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.10.005. Epub 2011 Oct 22.

Targeted non-covalent self-assembled nanoparticles based on human serum albumin.

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Division of Diagnostic Oncology, the Netherlands Cancer Institute Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Hospital, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Human serum albumin (HSA) is a biological nanocarrier that forms non-covalent complexes with a number of synthetic and biomolecules. Previously we demonstrated radiolabeled HSA-based nanoparticles can form non-covalent complexes with fluorescent cyanine dyes yielding imaging agents for surgical guidance towards tumor draining lymph nodes. Here the self-assembly approach enabled rapid clinical translation. Based on this experience we reasoned it would be interesting to expand this non-covalent technology to a targeted approach. Therefore, the ability of HSA to form non-covalent self-assembled complexes with peptides via near-infrared (NIR) cyanine dyes was explored. Föster resonance energy transfer (FRET) quenching interactions between HSA-Cy5 and the non-covalently bound fluorescent molecules indocyanine green (ICG), IR783-CO(2)H and three IR783-labeled targeting peptides were used to monitor complex assembly and disassembly. The host-guest interactions between HSA and IR783-labeled peptides enabled the formation of (bio)nanoparticles that are coated with peptides, which may target α(v)β(3)-integrins, the chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4), or somatostatin receptors. The potential of CXCR4-targeted (bio)nanoparticles in sentinel lymph node procedures is demonstrated in vivo. By non-covalently binding NIR-dye labeled peptides to an already clinically approved HSA-scaffold, we have readily formed targeted bionanoparticles.

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