Carbon nanotubes have been shown to be promising as imaging agents for spotting tumors, inflammation, and other processes inside the body. Not only due to their novelty, but also because of their potential toxicity, these particles have not been fully realized for medical applications. Now a team from the University of Arkansas and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences deposited a thin layer of gold around the nanotubes which led to both reduced toxicity and increased absorption of laser radiation, that could be used to activate the particles.
[T]he researchers coupled the golden nanotubes with an antibody specific to a critical lymphatic-endothelial receptor. This enabled the mapping of lymphatic endothelial cells, which line the internal surface of lymphatic vessels. This is important because lymphatic endothelial cells come into direct contact with other cells, such as immune-related cells, tumor cells and bacteria entering the lymphatic system. The specific receptor, known as LYVE-1, is one of the most widely used markers of lymphatic endothelium.
Zharov [Vladimir P. Zharov, professor in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute at UAMS –ed.], Ekaterina Galanzha, research assistant professor at UAMS, and other colleagues on Zharov’s team successfully demonstrated the unique ability of the golden nanotubes for integrated diagnosis and therapy at the single cell level. This included targeted lymphatic mapping and the eradiation of cancer micro-metastasis in the critical sentinel lymph nodes, the first lymph node or group of nodes reached by metastasizing cancer cells from a primary tumor.
The large surface area on the golden nanotubes may allow bioconjugation, or cooperation, with several biomarkers targeted simultaneously. Absorption can be adjusted for multi-color targeting because the size of the golden nanotubes can be changed easily by modulating the length and diameter of nanotube core and thickness of the gold layer, Kim [Jin-Woo Kim, associate professor in the department of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of Arkansas –ed] said. This advantage may increase the percentage of detectable cells within a targeted cell population and may allow multiple targets to be detected simultaneously. Also, the golden nanotubes’ hollow core could carry therapeutic agents, such as drugs, magnetic materials, ethanol and other chemicals, to further enhance their therapeutic effects.
Press release: Researchers Use Golden Nanotubes for Imaging Agent to Detect Tumor Cells, Map Sentinel Lymph Node …
Image: (a) Researchers coated carbon nanotubes with gold and applied a cell-targeting bio-agent to deliver to the target. (b) They targeted endothelial LYVE-1 receptors with antibody golden nanotubes to produce photoacoustic and photothermal signals.