In vivo near-infrared photothermal therapy and computed tomography imaging of cancer cells using novel tungsten-based theranostic probe†
Photothermal therapy, as a physical therapeutic technique to kill cancer, has generated a great deal of interest. Photothermal agents hence play a critical role in this modern therapy. We report the use of transition metal oxides as photothermal agents based on PEGylated WO3−x nanoparticles. The well-prepared nanoparticles presented effective results during photothermal therapy both in vitro and in vivo by using near-IR laser irradiation (980 nm, 0.5 W cm−2). The tumor cells were effectively damaged using low power density during a short irradiation time without destroying healthy tissues. In vitro results of photothermal therapy with PEGylated WO3−x nanoparticles proved to be effective on 4T1 murine breast cancer cells via a confocal microscopy method and MTT assay. In vivo results were further confirmed by hematoxylin and eosin (H & E) histological staining. Additionally, PEGylated WO3−x nanoparticles were shown to be effective as a CT imaging contrast agent on a tumor-bearing mouse model. Our results suggest that this generation of PEGylated WO3−x nanoparticles can potentially be used in oncological CT imaging and photothermal therapy.