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J Biomed Nanotechnol. 2012 Oct;8(5):730-41.

Lipid nanoparticle vectorization of indocyanine green improves fluorescence imaging for tumor diagnosis and lymph node resection.

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CEA, LETI, MINATEC, 17 Rue Des Martyrs, F38054 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.


Fluorescence imaging is opening a new era in image-guided surgery and other medical applications. The only FDA approved contrast agent in the near infrared is IndoCyanine Green (ICG), which despites its low toxicity, displays poor chemical and optical properties for long-term and sensitive imaging applications in human. Lipid nanoparticles are investigated for improving ICG optical properties and in vivo fluorescence imaging sensitivity. 30 nm diameter lipid nanoparticles (LNP) are loaded with ICG. Their characterization and use for tumor and lymph node imaging are described. Nano-formulation benefits dye optical properties (6 times improved brightness) and chemical stability (>6 months at 4 degrees C in aqueous buffer). More importantly, LNP vectorization allows never reported sensitive and prolonged (>1 day) labeling of tumors and lymph nodes. Composed of human-use approved ingredients, this novel ICG nanometric formulation is foreseen to expand rapidly the field of clinical fluorescence imaging applications.

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