Nanotech 2010

Targeted Magnetic resonance imaging of tumors with Gd-Conjugated Dendrimer Nanoclusters (invited presentation)

Z. Cheng, D.L.J. Thorek, A. Tsourkas
University of Pennsylvania, US

Keywords: gadolinium, magnetic resonance, molecular imaging, dendrimer, tumor, nanoparticle


Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is considered to be a particular attractive platform for molecular imaging applications due to its ability to provide high-resolution three-dimensional images with exquisite soft tissue contrast. However, a major obstacle faced by MR is overcoming the relatively low sensitivity for detecting receptor-targeted MR contrast agents. This is particularly true for Gd-based contrast agents, which require uM to mM concentrations of contrast agent to be detectable by MR. Therefore, we have developed dendrimer nanoclusters that can carry an extremely high Gd payload. DNCs are composed of individual Gd-labeled PAMAM dendrimers that have been cross-linked to form larger nanoparticulate carriers. The average diameter of the nanoclusters was 150 nm. It was estimated that there were approximately 300, 000 Gd per nanocluster. The T1 relaxivity was 3.6 x 10^6 mM^-1 sec^-1 per nanoparticle at 1.41 T. The presence of folic acid on the nanoparticle surface resulted in the specific detection of folate-expressing tumors. Due to the extremely high Gd payload, the DNCs exhibited a significant improvement in tumor contrast compared with pre-contrast images. These findings suggest that DNCs may provide a powerful new platform for the sensitive and specific detection of disease.
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