Cheng Zhang lead author on ACS Nano paper

17 Aug 2018

TOC Graphic ACS Nano paper

Dr Cheng Zhang is the lead author on this study of tumour penetration of F-polymers.

High F-Content Perfluoropolyether-Based Nanoparticles for Targeted Detection of Breast Cancer by 19F Magnetic Resonance and Optical Imaging

See: DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b03726

Two important challenges in the field of 19F magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are the maintenance of high fluorine content without compromising imaging performance, and effective targeting of small particles to diseased tissue. To address these challenges, we have developed a series of perfluoropolyether (PFPE)-based hyperbranched (HBPFPE) nanoparticles with attached peptide aptamer as targeting ligands for specific in vivo detection of breast cancer with high 19F MRI sensitivity. A detailed comparison of the HBPFPE nanoparticles (NPs) with the previously reported trifluoroethyl acrylate (TFEA)-based polymers demonstrates that the mobility of fluorinated segments of the HBPFPE nanoparticles is significantly enhanced (19F T2 > 80 ms vs 31 ms), resulting in superior MR imaging sensitivity. Selective targeting was confirmed by auto- and pair correlation analysis of fluorescence microscopy data, in vitro immunofluorescence, in vivo 19F MRI, ex vivo fluorescence and 19F NMR. The results highlight the high efficiency of aptamers for targeting and the excellent sensitivity of the PFPE moieties for 19F MRI. Of relevance to in vivo applications, the PFPE-based polymers exhibit much faster clearance from the body than the previously introduced perfluorocarbon emulsions (t1/2 ∼ 20 h vs up to months). Moreover, the aptamer-conjugated NPs show significantly higher tumor-penetration, demonstrating the potential of these imaging agents for therapeutic applications. This report of the synthesis of polymeric aptamer-conjugated PFPE-based 19F MRI CAs with high fluorine content (∼10 wt %) demonstrates that these NPs are exciting candidates for detecting diseases with high imaging sensitivity.