Chelate-free metal ion binding and heat-induced radiolabeling of iron oxide nanoparticles†
A novel reaction for chelate-free, heat-induced metal ion binding and radiolabeling of ultra-small paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (USPIOs) has been established. Radiochemical and non-radioactive labeling studies demonstrated that the reaction has a wide chemical scope and is applicable to p-, d- and f-block metal ions with varying ionic sizes and formal oxidation states from 2+ to 4+. Radiolabeling studies found that 89Zr–Feraheme (89Zr–FH or 89Zr–ferumoxytol) can be isolated in 93 ± 3% radiochemical yield (RCY) and >98% radiochemical purity using size-exclusion chromatography. 89Zr–FH was found to be thermodynamically and kinetically stable in vitro using a series of ligand challenge and plasma stability tests, and in vivo using PET/CT imaging and biodistribution studies in mice. Remarkably, ICP-MS and radiochemistry experiments showed that the same reaction conditions used to produce 89Zr–FH can be employed with different radionuclides to yield 64Cu–FH (66 ± 6% RCY) and 111In–FH (91 ± 2% RCY). Electron magnetic resonance studies support a mechanism of binding involving metal ion association with the surface of the magnetite crystal core. Collectively, these data suggest that chelate-free labeling methods can be employed to facilitate clinical translation of a new class of multimodality PET/MRI radiotracers derived from metal-based nanoparticles. Further, this discovery is likely to have broader implications in drug delivery, metal separation science, ecotoxicology of nanoparticles and beyond.