Ultra-homogeneous NIR-II fluorescent self-assembled nanoprobe with AIE properties for photothermal therapy of prostate cancer†
Near-infrared two-zone (NIR-II) fluorescence imaging has attracted attention as a non-invasive imaging technology that provides centimeter-level depth and micron-level resolution. However, producing a NIR-II fluorescent nanoprobe with uniform size, high bio-identical capacity, and fluorescence intensity, while being metabolizable in vivo, remains a challenge. We first produce a hydrophobic NIR-II fluorescent molecule with AIE properties, and subject it to ultrasonic and extrusion treatments to generate a DSPE-PEG-encapsulated NIR-II nanoprobe with an ultra-homogeneous particle size. The current study based on in vitro and mouse tumor-bearing model-based experiments indicate that cancer cells could efficiently take up this nanoprobe, which aggregates in tumor tissues, is susceptible to metabolization, and enables ideal photothermal therapeutic effects. Thus, this NIR-II nanoprobe with AIE properties shows great potential for precise clinical diagnosis and treatment of cancer.