Gold nanostars for cancer cell-targeted SERS-imaging and NIR light-triggered plasmonic photothermal therapy (PPTT) in the first and second biological windows†
Cancer cell-targeted imaging and efficient therapy are vital for tumor diagnosis and treatments. However, the development of multifunctional plasmonic nanoparticles with high-performance SERS-imaging and NIR light-triggered plasmonic photothermal therapy (PPTT) of cancer cells in both the first (NIR-I) and second (NIR-II) biological windows is still a big challenge. In the present work, gold nanostars which possess a broad NIR absorption band covering the NIR-I and NIR-II windows with good NIR SERS activity and photothermal effects were synthesized by a seed-mediated growth method, using gold chloride (HAuCl4), ascorbic acid (AA) and (1-hexadecyl) trimethylammonium chloride (CTAC) as growth solutions. The gold nanostars were further designed to be multifunctional nanoagents by labeling Raman molecules and then conjugating arginine–glycine–aspartic acid (RGD), which can serve as cancer cell-targeted SERS-imaging tags and photothermal nanoagents in both the NIR-I and NIR-II windows. The investigation of in vitro SERS-mapping and PPTT of the A549 human lung adenocarcinoma cells indicates that the proposed multifunctional gold nanostars have great potential for a wide spectrum of light-mediated applications, such as optical imaging and image-guided phototherapy in both the NIR-I and NIR-II biological windows.
- This article is part of the themed collection: International Year of the Periodic Table: Precious metals for cancer treatment