Surface radio-mineralisation mediates chelate-free radiolabelling of iron oxide nanoparticles†
We introduce the concept of surface radio-mineralisation (SRM) to describe the chelate-free radiolabelling of iron-oxide and ferrite nanoparticles. We demonstrate the effectiveness of SRM with both 111In and 89Zr for bare, polymer-matrix multicore, and surface-functionalised magnetite/maghemite nanoparticles; and for bare Y3Fe5O12 nanoparticles. By analogy with geological mineralisation (the hydrothermal deposition of metals as minerals in ore bodies or lodes) we demonstrate that the heat-induced and aqueous SRM process deposits radiometal-oxides onto the nanoparticle or core surfaces, passing through the matrix or coating if present, without changing the size, structure, or magnetic properties of the nanoparticle or core. We show in a mouse model followed over 7 days that the SRM is sufficient to allow quantitative, non-invasive, prolonged, whole-body localisation of injected nanoparticles with nuclear imaging.