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Theranostics. 2012;2(8):757-68. doi: 10.7150/thno.4756. Epub 2012 Aug 6.

Gold Nanorods Conjugated with Doxorubicin and cRGD for Combined Anticancer Drug Delivery and PET Imaging.

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1. Department of Biomedical Engineering and Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA;

Abstract

A multifunctional gold nanorod (GNR)-based nanoplatform for targeted anticancer drug delivery and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of tumors was developed and characterized. An anti-cancer drug (i.e., doxorubicin (DOX)) was covalently conjugated onto PEGylated (PEG: polyethylene glycol) GNR nanocarriers via a hydrazone bond to achieve pH-sensitive controlled drug release. Tumor-targeting ligands (i.e., the cyclo(Arg-Gly-Asp-D-Phe-Cys) peptides, cRGD) and (64)Cu-chelators (i.e., 1,4,7-triazacyclononane-N, N', N''-triacetic acid (NOTA)) were conjugated onto the distal ends of the PEG arms to achieve active tumor-targeting and PET imaging, respectively. Based on flow cytometry analysis, cRGD-conjugated nanocarriers (i.e., GNR-DOX-cRGD) exhibited a higher cellular uptake and cytotoxicity than non-targeted ones (i.e., GNR-DOX) in vitro. However, GNR-DOX-cRGD and GNR-DOX nanocarriers had similar in vivo biodistribution according to in vivo PET imaging and biodistribution studies. Due to the unique optical properties of GNRs, this multifunctional GNR-based nanoplatform can potentially be optimized for combined cancer therapies (chemotherapy and photothermal therapy) and multimodality imaging (PET, optical, X-ray computed tomography (CT), etc.).

KEYWORDS:

Gold nanorod (GNR); cRGD peptide; cancer; drug delivery; nanoparticles; positron emission tomography (PET); tumor targeting

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