PEGylated Prussian blue nanocubes as a theranostic agent for simultaneous cancer imaging and photothermal therapy

Liang Cheng, Hua Gong, Wenwen Zhu, Jingjing Liu, Xiaoyong Wang, Gang Liu, Zhuang Liu
Biomaterials 2014, 35 (37): 9844-9852
Theranostic agents with both imaging and therapeutic functions have attracted enormous interests in cancer diagnosis and treatment in recent years. In this work, we develop a novel theranostic agent based on Prussian blue nanocubes (PB NCs), a clinically approved agent with strong near-infrared (NIR) absorbance and intrinsic paramagnetic property, for in vivo bimodal imaging-guided photothermal therapy. After being coated with polyethylene glycol (PEG), the obtained PB-PEG NCs are highly stable in various physiological solutions. In vivo T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) and photoacoustic tomography (PAT) bimodal imaging uncover that PB-PEG NCs after intravenous (i.v.) injection show high uptake in the tumor. Utilizing the strong and super stable NIR absorbance of PB, in vivo cancer treatment is then conducted upon i.v. injection of PB-PEG NCs followed by NIR laser irradiation of the tumors, achieving excellent therapeutic efficacy in a mouse tumor model. Comprehensive blood tests and careful histological examinations reveal no apparent toxicity of PB-PEG NCs to mice at our tested dose, which is two-fold of the imaging/therapy dose, within two months. Our work highlights the great promise of Prussian blue with well engineered surface coating as a multifunctional nanoprobe for imaging-guided cancer therapy.

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