Image_6_Shortwave Infrared-Emitting Theranostics for Breast Cancer Therapy Response Monitoring.TIF (1.6 MB)
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posted on 07.10.2020, 07:25 by Jay V. Shah, Amber Gonda, Rahul Pemmaraju, Aishwarya Subash, Carolina Bobadilla Mendez, Marissa Berger, Xinyu Zhao, Shuqing He, Richard E. Riman, Mei Chee Tan, Mark C. Pierce, Prabhas V. Moghe, Vidya Ganapathy

Therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) in cancer, while imperative, has been challenging due to inter-patient variability in drug pharmacokinetics. Additionally, most pharmacokinetic monitoring is done by assessments of the drugs in plasma, which is not an accurate gauge for drug concentrations in target tumor tissue. There exists a critical need for therapy monitoring tools that can provide real-time feedback on drug efficacy at target site to enable alteration in treatment regimens early during cancer therapy. Here, we report on theranostic optical imaging probes based on shortwave infrared (SWIR)-emitting rare earth-doped nanoparticles encapsulated with human serum albumin (abbreviated as ReANCs) that have demonstrated superior surveillance capability for detecting micro-lesions at depths of 1 cm in a mouse model of breast cancer metastasis. Most notably, ReANCs previously deployed for detection of multi-organ metastases resolved bone lesions earlier than contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We engineered tumor-targeted ReANCs carrying a therapeutic payload as a potential theranostic for evaluating drug efficacy at the tumor site. In vitro results demonstrated efficacy of ReANCs carrying doxorubicin (Dox), providing sustained release of Dox while maintaining cytotoxic effects comparable to free Dox. Significantly, in a murine model of breast cancer lung metastasis, we demonstrated the ability for therapy monitoring based on measurements of SWIR fluorescence from tumor-targeted ReANCs. These findings correlated with a reduction in lung metastatic burden as quantified via MRI-based volumetric analysis over the course of four weeks. Future studies will address the potential of this novel class of theranostics as a preclinical pharmacological screening tool.