Biofunctionalized Prussian Blue Nanoparticles for Multimodal Molecular Imaging of Pediatric Diseases

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Key Personnel

  • Rohan Fernandes, PhD 
  • Raymond Sze, MD 
  • Elizabeth E. Sweeney, PhD 
  • Jennifer M. Vojtech 
  • Erin F. McCaffrey 
  • Xuefei (Angelina) Nou 
  • Shraddha Kale 
  • Laurie S. Conklin, MD 
  • Javad Nazarian, PhD 
  • Yuan Zhu, PhD

Molecular imaging agents enable the visualization of phenomena with cellular and sub-cellular level resolutions and therefore have enormous potential in improving disease diagnosis and therapy assessment. Multimodal imaging combines the strengths of two or more imaging techniques. Despite these advantages, there are no clinically approved, multimodal molecular imaging agents. Motivated by this need, we have synthesized biofunctionalized Prussian blue nanoparticles as a novel class of multimodal molecular imaging agents for improved visualization of pediatric diseases. Our nanoparticles combine the advantages of MRI (high-spatial resolution and penetration depths) with fluorescence imaging (high sensitivity). The MRI relaxivities of our novel nanoparticles are nearly nine times those observed for the clinically used MRI contrast agent Magnevist®. Further, the Prussian blue nanoparticles can be visualized using fluorescence imaging and can molecularly target disease-specific markers. In initial studies, we used our nanoparticles in an in vitro model of an inflammatory disease to specifically target “disease-specific” inflammatory cells and not “normal” cells. In later studies, we built on these promising results by using our nanoparticles for multimodalmolecular imaging of pediatric brain tumors in a mouse model. These studies demonstrate the potential for translating our nanoparticles to the clinic as novel, multimodal molecular imaging agents.