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Nanotheranostics. 2017 Nov 1;1(4):430-439. doi: 10.7150/ntno.19935. eCollection 2017.

Nano-sized Indocyanine Green J-aggregate as a One-component Theranostic Agent.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China.


The development of biocompatiable efficient photothermal coupling agent (PCA) for image-guided photothermal therapy of cancer has gained increasing interests in recent years. Although various PCAs have been developed, the clinical translations of these materials have been largely hindered by the potential biosafety issues and challenges of scaling-up manufactures. In this research, we proposed nano-sized indocyanine green (ICG) J-aggregate (IJA) as a promising PCA which is fabricated by a very facile method using clinical-approved ICG as the only excipient. The as-prepared IJA remains stable in various solution and shows a ~115 nm red-shift in absorption peak compared to free ICG. Importantly, IJA can be disassociated into free ICG again after internalized into cells and exhibits high biosafety comparable to ICG. The IJA performs well for photothermal therapy both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, the IJA can also be used as a good photoacoustic contrast agent and internalization-responsive fluorescence probe. The facile preparation, high safety and excellent theranostic performance indicated that IJA might be a promising one-component agent for cancer theranostics.


Indocyanine green; J-aggregate; photoacoustic imaging.; photothermal therapy; theranostics

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interest exists.

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