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Nano Lett. 2017 Jul 12;17(7):4096-4100. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b00828. Epub 2017 Jun 26.

Tumor-Targeted and Clearable Human Protein-Based MRI Nanoprobes.

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Department of Radiology, The Second Hospital of Tianjin Medical University , Tianjin 300211, China.
Sex Hormone Research Center, Tianjin Institute of Urology , Tianjin 300211, China.
Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School , 364 Plantation Street, LRB 806 Worcester Massachusetts 01605, United States.


Biocompatibility, targeting, and clearance are key challenges in the design of new MRI contrast agents. Herein, we report on a tumor-targeting, gadolinium biomineralized human transferrin (Tf) protein-based nanoparticle (Gd@Tf NP) for MRI use. As compared to the conventionally used gadolinium chelates, the resultant Gd@Tf NPs possess outstanding chemical stability and exhibited superior longitudinal relaxation. More importantly, our MR images show that Gd@Tf indeed retained the natural tumor targeting ability and the subsequent tumor retrieval biofunctions of Tf. Thus, such Tf protein-based MR NPs integrate T1 signal amplification, precise tumor targeting, and systematic clearance capabilities. They offer a new approach to design biocompatible multifunctional MRI contrast agents for a wide range of clinical imaging and treatment applications.


Magnetic resonance imaging; clearance; magnetic nanoparticles; protein; tumor targeting

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