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Int J Pharm. 2013 Jan 30;441(1-2):234-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2012.11.038. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Cancer cell targeting and imaging with biopolymer-based nanodevices.

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BBS Nanotechnology, H-4225 Debrecen 16, Hungary.


We report here the synthesis, in vitro and in vivo investigation of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) active nanoparticles, which target folate receptor overexpressing tumor cells. Self-assembled nanoparticles with a hydrodynamic size of 50-200 nm were prepared from poly-γ-glutamic acid and chitosan biopolymers with Gd-ions. The nanoparticles are biocompatible, non-toxic and stable for several months in aqueous media. In vitro assays using confocal microscopy, flow cytometry and MR imaging on HeLa human cervix carcinoma tumor cells showed that folic acid targeted nanoparticles were internalized specifically in a folate receptor dependent manner. In vivo study confirmed, that, considerable accumulation of nanosystems was found compared with the control animal represented by the MR images. Relaxometry measurements demonstrated that the nanoparticle-Gd complexes drastically change the signal intensity of the tumor cells. Because of the contrast enhancement, they are attractive candidates as potential contrast agents for a variety of diagnostic applications including early diagnosis of tumors.

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