Theranostic probe for simultaneous in vivo photoacoustic imaging and confined photothermolysis by pulsed laser at 1064 nm in 4T1 breast cancer model
Here, we report that polyethylene glycol (PEG)-coated copper(II) sulfide nanoparticles (PEG-CuS NPs) with their peak absorption tuned to 1064 nm could be used both as a contrast agent for photoacoustic tomographic imaging of mouse tumor vasculature and as a mediator for confined photothermolysis of tumor cells in an orthotopic syngeneic 4T1 breast tumor model. PEG-CuS NPs showed stronger photoacoustic signal than hollow gold nanospheres and single-wall carbon nanotubes at 1064 nm. MicroPET imaging of 4T1 tumor-bearing mice showed a gradual accumulation of the NPs in the tumor over time. About 6.5% of injected dose were taken up in each gram of tumor tissue at 24 h after intravenous injection of 64Cu-labeled PEG-CuS NPs. For both photoacoustic imaging and therapeutic studies, nanosecond (ns)-pulsed laser was delivered with Q-switched Nd:YAG at a wavelength of 1064 nm. Unlike conventional photothermal ablation therapy mediated by continuous wave laser with which heat could spread to the surrounding normal tissue, interaction of CuS NPs with short pulsed laser deliver heat rapidly to the treatment volume keeping the thermal damage confined to the target tissues. Our data demonstrated that it is possible to use a single-compartment nanoplatform to achieve both photoacoustic tomography and highly selective tumor destruction at 1064 nm in small animals.