Non-invasive and quantitative in vivo monitoring of gold nanoparticle concentration and tissue hemodynamics by hybrid optical spectroscopies
Owing to their unique combination of chemical and physical properties, inorganic nanoparticles show a great deal of potential as suitable agents for early diagnostics and less invasive therapies. Yet, their translation to the clinic has been hindered, in part, by the lack of non-invasive methods to quantify their concentration in vivo while also assessing their effect on the tissue physiology. In this work, we demonstrate that diffuse optical techniques, employing near-infrared light, have the potential to address this need in the case of gold nanoparticles which support localized surface plasmons. An orthoxenograft mouse model of clear cell renal cell carcinoma was non-invasively assessed by diffuse reflectance and correlation spectroscopies before and over several days following a single intravenous tail vein injection of polyethylene glycol-coated gold nanorods (AuNRs–PEG). Our platform enables to resolve the kinetics of the AuNR–PEG uptake by the tumor in quantitative agreement with ex vivo inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. Furthermore, it allows for the simultaneous monitoring of local tissue hemodynamics, enabling us to conclude that AuNRs–PEG do not significantly alter the animal physiology. We note that the penetration depth of this current probe was a few millimeters but can readily be extended to centimeters, hence gaining clinical relevance. This study and the methodology presented here complement the nanomedicine toolbox by providing a flexible platform, extendable to other absorbing agents that can potentially be translated to human trials.