Noninvasive theranostic imaging of HSV-TK/GCV suicide gene therapy in liver cancer by folate-targeted quantum dot-based liposomes†
Theranostics is emerging as a popular strategy for cancer therapy; thanks to the development of nanotechnology. In this work, we have combined an HSV-TK/GCV suicide gene system and near-infrared quantum dots, as the former is quite effective in liver cancer treatment and the latter facilitates tumor imaging. A folate-modified theranostic liposome (FL/QD-TK) was developed, which is composed of an HSV-TK suicide gene covalently coupling with near-infrared fluorescent CdSeTe/ZnS core/shell quantum dots. The liver cancer-targeting and biosafety of FL/QD-TK were studied in vitro and in vivo. FL/QD-TK exhibited highly specific tumor imaging and strong inhibition of the folate receptor-overexpressed Bel-7402 mouse xenografts without systematic toxicity. This study may shed light on gene delivery and targeted cancer therapy.