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Guo W et al.

Laser Induced Transformable BiS@HSA/DTX Multiple Nanorods for Photoacoustic/Computed Tomography Dual-Modal Imaging Guided Photothermal/Chemo Combinatorial Anticancer Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Sub-optimal intra-tumor accumulation and poorly controllable release of encapsulated drugs remain unresolved challenges hampering further advancement of nanomedicines on cancer therapy. Herein, we conceived near infrared (NIR) laser-triggered transformable BiS@HSA/DTX multiple nanorods (mNRs), which were made of small bundles of bismuth sulfide nanorods (BiS NRs) coated by docetaxel (DTX)-inlaid human serum albumin (HSA). The BiS@HSA/DTX mNRs had a lateral size of approximately 100 nm and efficiently accumulated in the tumor microenvironment upon systemic administration in tumor-bearing nude mice. NIR laser irradiation of the tumor area caused rapid disassembly of the BiS@HSA/DTX mNRs into individual HSA-coated BiS nanorods (BiS@HSA iNRs) and triggered the release of DTX from the HSA corona, due to the local temperature increase generated by BiS NRs via photothermal effect. The laser-induced transformation into BiS@HSA iNRs facilitated their penetration and increased the retention time in tumor. The spatiotemporal delivery behavior of the BiS@HSA/DTX mNRs could be monitored by photoacoustic/computed tomography dual-modal imaging in vivo. Furthermore, because of the excellent photothermal conversion properties of BiS NRs and laser-triggered DTX release from BiS@HSA/DTX mNRs, efficient tumor combinatorial therapy was achieved via concurrent hyperthermia and chemotherapy in mice treated with BiS@HSA/DTX mNRs upon NIR laser irradiation.

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Wang YY et al.

Combination-Responsive MoO3-x Hybridized Hyaluronic Acid Hollow Nanospheres for Cancer Phototheranostics

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

It is of extreme importance to reduce side effects resulted from the nonspecific uptake of phototherapeutic agents by normal tissues. Currently, single responsive strategy still cannot entirely satisfy the requirements of practical applications. In this study, we developed one kind of combination-responsive phototherapeutic nanoplatforms, where oxygen deficient molybdenum oxide (MoO3-x) hybridized hyaluronic acid (HA) hollow nanospheres, namely MoO3-x@HA HNSs, were constructed via a facile one-step method. In MoO3-x@HA HNSs, the reasonable combination of actively targeted specificity endowed by HA component and tumor microenvironment-responsive phototherapy activity induced by MoO3-x component can effectively improve the precision of phototherapy. The results of in vitro and in vivo experiments confirm that MoO3-x@HA HNSs can selectively kill CD44-overexpressing cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth with irradiation from an 808 nm laser, revealing their remarkable synergistic photothermal therapy/photodynamic therapy effect with CD44 receptor-targeted specificity and pH-responsiveness in treating cancer. We also prove that MoO3-x@HA HNSs can be used as a contrast agent for the computed tomography/photoacoustic imaging imaging. Encouraged by these results, it is anticipated that the reasonable combination of active targeting and tumor microenvironment responsiveness can be promising strategy to develop phototherapeutic nanoplatforms for precise multi-modality cancer theranostics.

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Ron A et al.

Characterization of Brown Adipose Tissue in a Diabetic Mouse Model with Spiral Volumetric Optoacoustic Tomography

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

PURPOSE : Diabetes is associated with a deterioration of the microvasculature in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and with a decrease in its metabolic activity. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography has been recently proposed as a new tool capable of differentiating healthy and diabetic BAT by observing hemoglobin gradients and microvasculature density in cross-sectional (2D) views. We report on the use of spiral volumetric optoacoustic tomography (SVOT) for an improved characterization of BAT. PROCEDURES : A streptozotocin-induced diabetes model and control mice were scanned with SVOT. Volumetric oxygen saturation (sO2) as well as total blood volume (TBV) in the subcutaneous interscapular BAT (iBAT) was quantified. Segmentation further enabled separating feeding and draining vessels from the BAT anatomical structure. RESULTS : Scanning revealed a 46 % decrease in TBV and a 25 % decrease in sO2 in the diabetic iBAT with respect to the healthy control. CONCLUSIONS : These results suggest that SVOT may serve as an effective tool for studying the effects of diabetes on BAT. The volumetric optoacoustic imaging probe used for the SVOT scans can be operated in a handheld mode, thus potentially providing a clinical translation route for BAT-related studies with this imaging technology.

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Laramie MD et al.

Small Molecule Optoacoustic Contrast Agents: An Unexplored Avenue for Enhancing In Vivo Imaging

NanoCancerNeuroPreclinicalMSOT

Almost every variety of medical imaging technique relies heavily on exogenous contrast agents to generate high-resolution images of biological structures. Organic small molecule contrast agents, in particular, are well suited for biomedical imaging applications due to their favorable biocompatibility and amenability to structural modification. PET/SPECT, MRI, and fluorescence imaging all have a large host of small molecule contrast agents developed for them, and there exists an academic understanding of how these compounds can be developed. Optoacoustic imaging is a relatively newer imaging technique and, as such, lacks well-established small molecule contrast agents; many of the contrast agents used are the same ones which have found use in fluorescence imaging applications. Many commonly-used fluorescent dyes have found successful application in optoacoustic imaging, but others generate no detectable signal. Moreover, the structural features that either enable a molecule to generate a detectable optoacoustic signal or prevent it from doing so are poorly understood, so design of new contrast agents lacks direction. This review aims to compile the small molecule optoacoustic contrast agents that have been successfully employed in the literature to bridge the information gap between molecular design and optoacoustic signal generation. The information contained within will help to provide direction for the future synthesis of optoacoustic contrast agents.

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Knights OB et al.

Gold Nanorods for Light-Based Lung Cancer Theranostics

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Gold nanorods (AuNRs) have the potential to be used in photoacoustic (PA) imaging and plasmonic photothermal therapy (PPTT) due to their unique optical properties, biocompatibility, controlled synthesis, and tuneable surface plasmon resonances (SPRs). Conventionally, continuous-wave (CW) lasers are used in PPTT partly due to their small size and low cost. However, if pulsed-wave (PW) lasers could be used to destroy tissue then combined theranostic applications, such as PA-guided PPTT, would be possible using the same laser system and AuNRs. In this study, we present the effects of AuNR size on PA response, PW-PPTT efficacy, and PA imaging in a tissue-mimicking phantom, as a necessary step in the development of AuNRs towards clinical use. At equivalent NP/mL, the PA signal intensity scaled with AuNR size, indicating that overall mass has an effect on PA response, and reinforcing the importance of efficient tumour targeting. Under PW illumination, all AuNRs showed toxicity at a laser fluence below the maximum permissible exposure to skin, with a maximum of 80% cell-death exhibited by the smallest AuNRs, strengthening the feasibility of PW-PPTT. The theranostic potential of PW lasers combined with AuNRs has been demonstrated for application in the lung.

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Clemmensen C et al.

Coordinated targeting of cold and nicotinic receptors synergistically improves obesity and type 2 diabetes

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Pharmacological stimulation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis to increase energy expenditure is progressively being pursued as a viable anti-obesity strategy. Here, we report that pharmacological activation of the cold receptor transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M member 8 (TRPM8) with agonist icilin mimics the metabolic benefits of cold exposure. In diet-induced obese (DIO) mice, treatment with icilin enhances energy expenditure, and decreases body weight, without affecting food intake. To further potentiate the thermogenic action profile of icilin and add complementary anorexigenic mechanisms, we set out to identify pharmacological partners next to icilin. To that end, we specifically targeted nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtype alpha3beta4 (α3β4), which we had recognized as a potential regulator of energy homeostasis and glucose metabolism. Combinatorial targeting of TRPM8 and nAChR α3β4 by icilin and dimethylphenylpiperazinium (DMPP) orchestrates synergistic anorexic and thermogenic pathways to reverse diet-induced obesity, dyslipidemia, and glucose intolerance in DIO mice.

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Wang X et al.

Amphiphilic redox-sensitive NIR BODIPY nanoparticles for dual-mode imaging and photothermal therapy

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Theranostics, integrating tumor treatment and diagnosis concurrently, has become an emerging and meaningful strategy in cancer therapy. In this work, an amphiphilic redox-sensitive near-infrared (NIR) BODIPY dye, which could be formed into nanoparticles (PEG-SS-BDP NPs) by self-assembly, was synthesized and possessed good capability of photothermal therapy (PTT), near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging, photoacoustic (PA) imaging and drug loading. The stable nanoparticles could be dissociated to turn on NIRF due to the rift of embedded disulfide bonds by glutathione (GSH). The enhanced fluorescence in vitro could be observed via confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) after adding GSH, confirming the redox-sensitivity of disulfide bonds. NIRF and PA imaging demonstrated active accumulation in tumor and good imaging effect. At last, PEG-SS-BDP NPs could significantly suppress tumor growth in vivo upon irradiation. The amphiphilic redox-sensitive BODIPY nanoparticles provide a promising design strategy to formulate multifunctional stimuli-responsive theranostic nanoplatforms.

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Li G et al.

Facile Approach to Synthesize Gold Nanorod@Polyacrylic Acid/Calcium Phosphate Yolk-Shell Nanoparticles for Dual-Mode Imaging and pH/NIR-Responsive Drug Delivery

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

A facile strategy to fabricate gold nanorod@polyacrylic acid/calcium phosphate (AuNR@PAA/CaP) yolk-shell nanoparticles (NPs) composed with a PAA/CaP shell and an AuNR yolk is reported. The as-obtained AuNR@PAA/CaP yolk-shell NPs possess ultrahigh doxorubicin (DOX) loading capability (1 mg DOX/mg NPs), superior photothermal conversion property (26%) and pH/near-infrared (NIR) dual-responsive drug delivery performance. The released DOX continuously increased due to the damage of the CaP shell at low pH values. When the DOX-loaded AuNR@PAA/CaP yolk-shell NPs were exposed to NIR irradiation, a burst-like drug release occurs owing to the heat produced by the AuNRs. Furthermore, AuNR@PAA/CaP yolk-shell NPs are successfully employed for synergic dual-mode X-ray computed tomography/photoacoustic imaging and chemo-photothermal cancer therapy. Therefore, this work brings new insights for the synthesis of multifunctional nanomaterials and extends theranostic applications.

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An L et al.

In situ sulfidation of Cu2O by endogenous H2S for colon cancer theranostics

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Expression of a high concentration of H2S is closely related to the formation of colon cancer tumor. However, up to now, only few H2S triggered theranostics agents for colon cancer have been reported. Herein, a turn on theranostics agent was developed via utilizing the in situ reaction of Cu2O and endogenous H2S at colon tumor sites. Based on the In vitro and in vivo experiments, excellent photoacoustic imaging and photothermal therapy have both been confirmed by this in situ reaction activated colon cancer theranostics. Our work established a simple and efficient strategy for both diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer with a novel trigger mechanism, which provides a new route for colon cancer theranostics based on the in situ reactions at the tumor sites.

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Wang Z et al.

Application of polydopamine in tumor targeted drug delivery system and its drug release behavior

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Inspired by the bionics of marine mussels, polydopamine (PDA), a new polymer with unique physicochemical properties was discovered. Due to its simple preparation, good biocompatibility, unique drug-loading methods, PDA has attracted tremendous attentions in field of drug delivery and imaging, and the combination of chemotherapy and other therapies or diagnostic methods, such as photothermotherapy (PTT), photoacoustic imaging (PAI), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), etc. As an excellent drug carrier in tumor targeted drug delivery system, the drug release behavior of drug-loaded PDA-based nanoparticles is also an important factor to be considered in the establishment of drug delivery systems. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive overview of the various applications of PDA in tumor targeted drug delivery systems and to gain insight into the release behavior of the drug-loaded PDA-based nanocarriers. A sufficient understanding and discussion of these aspects is expected to provide a better way to design more rational and effective PDA-based tumor nano-targeted delivery systems. Apart from this, the prospects for the future application of PDA in this field and some unique insights are listed at the end of the article.

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Kazmierczak PM et al.

Integrin-targeted quantitative optoacoustic imaging with MRI correlation for monitoring a BRAF/MEK inhibitor combination therapy in a murine model of human melanoma

MelanomaPreclinicalMSOT

PURPOSE: To investigate αvβ3-integrin-targeted optoacoustic imaging and MRI for monitoring a BRAF/MEK inhibitor combination therapy in a murine model of human melanoma.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Human BRAF V600E-positive melanoma xenograft (A375)-bearing Balb/c nude mice (n = 10) were imaged before (day 0) and after (day 7) a BRAF/MEK inhibitor combination therapy (encorafenib, 1.3 mg/kg/d; binimetinib, 0.6 mg/kg/d, n = 5) or placebo (n = 5), respectively. Optoacoustic imaging was performed on a preclinical system unenhanced and 5 h after i. v. injection of an αvβ3-integrin-targeted fluorescent probe. The αvβ3-integrin-specific tumor signal was derived by spectral unmixing. For morphology-based tumor response assessments, T2w MRI data sets were acquired on a clinical 3 Tesla scanner. The imaging results were validated by multiparametric immunohistochemistry (ß3 -integrin expression, CD31 -microvascular density, Ki-67 -proliferation).

RESULTS: The αvβ3-integrin-specific tumor signal was significantly reduced under therapy, showing a unidirectional decline in all animals (from 7.98±2.22 to 1.67±1.30; p = 0.043). No significant signal change was observed in the control group (from 6.60±6.51 to 3.67±1.93; p = 0.500). Immunohistochemistry revealed a significantly lower integrin expression (ß3: 0.20±0.02 vs. 0.39±0.05; p = 0.008) and microvascular density (CD31: 119±15 vs. 292±49; p = 0.008) in the therapy group. Tumor volumes increased with no significant intergroup difference (therapy: +107±42 mm3; control +112±44mm3, p = 0.841). In vivo blocking studies with αvβ3-integrin antagonist cilengitide confirmed the target specificity of the fluorescent probe.

CONCLUSIONS: αvβ3-integrin-targeted optoacoustic imaging allowed for the early non-invasive monitoring of a BRAF/MEK inhibitor combination therapy in a murine model of human melanoma, adding molecular information on tumor receptor status to morphology-based tumor response criteria.

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Wu Y et al.

Activatable probes for diagnosing and positioning liver injury and metastatic tumors by multispectral optoacoustic tomography

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Optoacoustic tomography (photoacoustic tomography) is an emerging imaging technology displaying great potential for medical diagnosis and preclinical research. Rationally designing activatable optoacoustic probes capable of diagnosing diseases and locating their foci can bring into full play the role of optoacoustic tomography (OAT) as a promising noninvasive imaging modality. Here we report two xanthene-based optoacoustic probes (C1X-OR1 and C2X-OR2) for temporospatial imaging of hepatic alkaline phosphatase (or β-galactosidase) for evaluating and locating drug-induced liver injury (or metastatic tumor). The probes rapidly respond to the disease-specific biomarkers by displaying red-shifted NIR absorption bands and generate prominent optoacoustic signals. Using multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT), we can precisely localize the focus of drug-induced liver injury in mice using C1X-OR1, and the metastatic tumors using C2X-OR2. This work suggests that the activatable optoacoustic chromophores may potentially be applied for diagnosing and localizing disease foci, especially smaller and deeper ones.

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Samykutty A et al.

Osteopontin-targeted probe detects orthotopic breast cancers using optoacoustic imaging

Breast CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Improved detection of breast cancer using highly sensitive, tumor-specific imaging would facilitate diagnosis, surveillance and assessment of response to treatment. We conjugated osteopontin peptide to an infrared fluorescent dye to serve as a contrast agent for detection of breast cancer by multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT). Selective binding of the osteopontin-based probe was identified using flow cytometry and near infrared fluorescent imaging in triple negative and HER2 positive breast cancer cell lines in vitro. Osteopontin-750 accumulation was evaluated in vivo using MSOT with secondary confirmation of signal accumulation using near infrared fluorescent imaging. The osteopontin-based probe demonstrated binding to breast cancer cells in vitro. Similarly, after intravenous administration of the osteopontin-750 probe, it accumulated preferentially in the subcutaneous breast tumor in nude mice (557 MSOT a.u. compared to untargeted organs such as kidney (53.7 MSOT a.u.) and liver (32.1 MSOT a.u.). At 2.5 h post-injection, signal intensity within the tumor was 9.7 and 17 times greater in the tumor bed than in the kidney or liver, respectively. Fluorescence imaging ex vivo comparing tumor signal to that of nontarget organs confirmed the results in vivo. MSOT imaging demonstrated selective accumulation of the fluorescent osteopontin targeting probe to tumor sites both in vitro and in vivo, and provided high-resolution images. Further development of this tool is promising for advanced diagnostic imaging, disease surveillance and therapeutic models that limit nontarget toxicity.

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Masthoff M et al.

Use of Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography to Diagnose Vascular Malformations

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

Importance : Differential diagnosis of congenital vascular anomalies is challenging, and misdiagnosis is frequent. Vascular malformations are considered one of the most difficult vascular diseases to treat. A new imaging approach that visualizes anatomical features and quantitatively assesses molecular biomarkers noninvasively would aid diagnosis and monitoring of treatment response of vascular malformations.

Objective : To evaluate multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) for noninvasive assessment of molecular biomarkers for diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of vascular malformations.

Design, Setting, and Participants : This pilot study examined 6 patients with arteriovenous malformation (AVM) and 6 patients with venous malformation (VM) diagnosed according to the classification system of the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies. All patients underwent clinical hybrid MSOT/ultrasonographic (US) imaging before and after treatment at an interdisciplinary vascular malformations clinic by trained MSOT and US examiners. Examiners were blinded to the patient history and stage of disease. Data were collected from April 11 to 25, 2017, and analyzed from May 1 to October 31, 2017.

Interventions : Clinical hybrid MSOT/US imaging was performed before or within 1 week after endovascular embolization (for AVM) or percutaneous sclerotherapy (for VM).

Main Outcomes and Measures : Region-of-interest analysis of the lesion and contralateral healthy tissue revealed quantitative values for oxygenated (HbO2) and deoxygenated (HbR) hemoglobin by spectral unmixing of optoacoustic data acquired at multiple wavelengths. The HbO2:HbR ratio was calculated for healthy tissue and for AVM and VM before and after treatment.

Results : Twelve patients (9 female and 3 male; mean [SD] age, 23 [18] years; age range, 6-59 years) with vascular malformations (6 with AVMs and 6 with VMs) were included. Significantly higher HbO2:HbR ratios for AVMs (mean [SEM], 1.82 [0.08] vs 0.89 [0.03]; P < .001) and for VMs (mean [SEM], 1.12 [0.04] vs 0.89 [0.03]; P = .001) were found on MSOT tissue compared with healthy tissue. Significantly higher HbO2:HbR ratios for AVMs compared with VMs (mean [SEM], 1.82 [0.08] vs 1.12 [0.04]; P < .001) were also found. Therefore, MSOT provided intrinsic biomarker patterns to distinguish both vascular malformations. After therapy, the HbO2:HbR ratio dropped in correlation to treatment success validated by magnetic resonance imaging or angiography.

Conclusions and Relevance : This study suggests that different types of vascular malformations are clearly distinguished by MSOT-based, noninvasive assessment of hemoglobin levels in vascular malformations. The therapy effects found in this study could be instantly visualized, and this may offer a new tool for noninvasive diagnosis and monitoring of vascular malformations.

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Duan Y et al.

Photoacoustic and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Bimodal Contrast Agent Displaying Amplified Photoacoustic Signal

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Progress in photoacoustic (PA) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) bimodal contrast agents has been achieved mainly by utilizing the imaging capability of single or multiple components and consequently realizing the desired application for both imaging modalities. However, the mechanism of the mutual influence between components within a single nanoformulation, which is the key to developing high-performance multimodal contrast agents, has yet to be fully understood. Herein, by integrating conjugated polymers (CPs) with iron oxide (IO) nanoparticles using an amphiphilic polymer, a bimodal contrast agent named CP-IO is developed, displaying 45% amplified PA signal intensity as compared to bare CP nanoparticle, while the performance of MRI is not affected. Further experimental and theoretical simulation results reveal that the addition of IO nanoparticles in CP-IO nanocomposites contributes to this PA signal amplification through a synergistic effect of additional heat generation and faster heat dissipation. Besides, the feasibility of CP-IO nanocomposites acting as PA-MRI bimodal contrast agents is validated through in vivo tumor imaging using mice models. From this study, it is demonstrated that a delicately designed structural arrangement of various components in a contrast agent could potentially lead to a superior performance in the imaging capability.

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Hsiao-Chun AL

Ultrafast Volumetric Optoacoustic Imaging of Whole Isolated Beating Mouse Heart

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

The Langendorff-perfused heart technique has become the model of choice for multiparametric optical mapping of cardiac function and electrophysiology. However, photon scattering in tissues represents a significant drawback of the optical imaging approach, fundamentally limiting its mapping capacity to the heart surface. This work presents the first implementation of the optoacoustic approach for 4D imaging of the entire beating isolated mouse heart. The method combines optical excitation and acoustic detection to simultaneously render rich optical contrast and high spatio-temporal resolution at centimeter-scale depths. We demonstrate volumetric imaging of deeply located cardiac features, including the interventricular septum, chordae tendineae, and papillary muscles while further tracking the heart beat cycle and the motion of the pulmonary, mitral, and tricuspid valves in real time. The technique possesses a powerful combination between high imaging depth, fast volumetric imaging speed, functional and molecular imaging capacities not available with other imaging modalities currently used in cardiac research.

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Ntziachristos V et al.

Emerging Technologies to Image Tissue Metabolism

Other ApplicationsTechnologyPreclinicalClinicalMSOT

Due to the implication of altered metabolism in a large spectrum of tissue function and disease, assessment of metabolic processes becomes essential in managing health. In this regard, imaging can play a critical role in allowing observation of biochemical and physiological processes. Nuclear imaging methods, in particular positron emission tomography, have been widely employed for imaging metabolism but are mainly limited by the use of ionizing radiation and the sensing of only one parameter at each scanning session. Observations in healthy individuals or longitudinal studies of disease could markedly benefit from non-ionizing, multi-parameter imaging methods. We therefore focus this review on progress with the non-ionizing radiation methods of MRI, hyperpolarized magnetic resonance and magnetic resonance spectroscopy, chemical exchange saturation transfer, and emerging optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging. We also briefly discuss the role of nuclear and optical imaging methods for research and clinical protocols.

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Chuah SY et al.

Volumetric Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography for 3-Dimensional Reconstruction of Skin Tumors: A Further Evaluation with Histopathologic Correlation

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

n/a

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Zheng X et al.

Biodegradable hypocrellin derivative nanovesicle as a near-infrared light-driven theranostic for dually photoactive cancer imaging and therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photoactive agents based on natural products have attracted substantial attention in clinical applications because of their distinct biological activity, molecular structure multiformity, and low biotoxicity. Herein, we initially modify hypocrellin B (HB) with 1,2-diamino-2-methyl propane to form near-infrared (NIR) light (>700 nm)-responsive amino-substituted HB derivative (DPAHB). The DPAHB exhibit broad absorption (400-800 nm), NIR emission (maximum emission peak at 710 nm), and high singlet oxygen (1O2) quantum yield (∼0.33) under NIR light (721 nm) irradiation. After self-assembly by using DPAHB with PEG-PLGA, the as-prepared nanovesicles (DPAHB NVs) retain efficient 1O2 generation, more interestingly, show high photothermal conversion efficiency (∼0.24) under NIR light (721 nm) irradiation for synergistic photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy toward hypoxic tumor. The DPAHB NVs can not only be as a fluorescence/photoacoustic imaging agent but also exhibit an even stronger PDT efficiency than that of chlorin e6 (a widely used classic photosensitizer). In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that DPAHB NVs possess high photothermal stability, enhanced tumor accumulation, and suitable biodegradation rate, thus, show a highly promising clinical potential as a new photoactive agent for cancer therapy.

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Lei P et al.

Ultrafast synthesis of ultrasmall polyethylenimine-protected AgBiS2 nanodots by "rookie method" for in vivo dual-modal CT/PA imaging and simultaneous photothermal therapy.

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Developing a biocompatible nanotheranostic platform integrating diagnostic and therapeutic functions is a great prospect for cancer treatment. However, it is still a great challenge to synthesize nanotheranostic agents using an ultra-facile method. In the research reported here, ultrasmall polyethylenimine-protected silver bismuth sulfide (PEI-AgBiS2) nanodots were successfully synthesized using an ultra-facile and environmentally friendly strategy (1 min only at room temperature), which could be described as a “rookie method”. PEI-AgBiS2 nanodots show good monodispersity and biocompatibility. For the first time, PEI-AgBiS2 nanodots were reported as a powerful and safe nanotheranostic agent for cancer treatment. PEI-AgBiS2 nanodots exhibit excellent computed tomography (CT) and photoacoustic (PA) dual-modal imaging ability, which could effectively guide photothermal cancer therapy. Furthermore, PEI-AgBiS2 nanodots exhibit a high photothermal conversion efficiency (η = 35.2%). The photothermal therapy (PTT) results demonstrated a highly efficient tumor ablation ability. More importantly, the blood biochemistry and histology analyses verify that the PEI-AgBiS2 nanodots have negligible long-term toxicity. This work highlights that PEI-AgBiS2 nanodots produced using this extremely effective method are a high-performance and safe PTT agent. These findings open a new gateway for synthesizing nanotheranostic agents by using this ultra-facile method in the future.

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Cai Q et al.

Chemotaxis-Instructed Intracellular Staphylococcus aureus Infection Detection by a Targeting and Self-Assembly Signal-Enhanced Photoacoustic Probe

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Intracellular invasion and the survival of Staphylococcus aureus in phagocytic cells has been regarded as one of the mechanisms that leads to the treatment failure of S. aureus infection and potential antibiotic resistance. The detection of infected phagocytic cells plays an important role in guiding antibiotic treatment and in reducing drug resistance. The development of a sensitive and specific imaging probe to visualize the intracellular bacteria is quite challenging. In this work, we report a photoacoustic agent (MPC) that is able to detect intracellular S. aureus infection through a dynamic process, including (i) active targeting and internalization into macrophage cells, (ii) specific molecular tailoring by caspase-1 in infected macrophage cells, and (iii) enhancement of the photoacoustic (PA) signal owing to molecular self-assembly. The PA signal per area of the “stimuli-induced assembly” agent (MPC) increases more than 2-fold over that of the active targeting control agent (MPSC). Finally, based on this approach, the average PA signal in the infected site is enhanced by approximately 2.6-fold over that of the control site. We envision that this PA contrast agent may provide a new approach for the selective and sensitive diagnosis of an intracellular bacterial infection.

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Baumann KN et al.

An active DNA-based nanoprobe for photoacoustic pH imaging

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

We report an active DNA construct capable of probing pH through a photoacoustic (PA) ratiometric analysis approach. Our nanoprobe enables different PA readout in tissue mimicking phantoms in the range between pH 6.8 to 7.8 at physiologically relevant sodium concentrations. Thus, it represents a promising platform to probe pH values relevant to the tumor microenvironment using PA.

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Tomaszewski MR et al.

Oxygen-enhanced and dynamic contrast-enhanced optoacoustic tomography provide surrogate biomarkers of tumour vascular function, hypoxia and necrosis

CancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Measuring the functional status of tumour vasculature, including blood flow fluctuations and changes in oxygenation, is important in cancer staging and therapy monitoring. Current clinically approved imaging modalities suffer long procedure times and limited spatio-temporal resolution. Optoacoustic tomography (OT) is an emerging clinical imaging modality that overcomes these challenges. By acquiring data at multiple wavelengths, OT can interrogate haemoglobin concentration and oxygenation directly and resolve contributions from injected contrast agents. In this study, we tested whether two dynamic OT techniques, oxygenenhanced (OE) and dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-OT, could provide surrogate biomarkers of tumour vascular function, hypoxia and necrosis. We found that vascular maturity led to changes in vascular function that affected tumour perfusion, modulating the DCE-OT signal. Perfusion in turn regulated oxygen availability, driving the OE-OT signal. In particular, we demonstrate for the first time a strong per-tumour and spatial correlation between imaging biomarkers derived from these in vivo techniques and tumour hypoxia quantified ex vivo. Our findings indicate that OT may offer a significant advantage for localised imaging of tumour response to vascular targeted therapies when compared to existing clinical DCE methods.

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Goh Y et al.

Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography in Assessment of Breast Tumor Margins During Breast-Conserving Surgery: A First-in-human Case Study

Breast CancerClinicalMSOT

Clinical Practice Points

  • Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) is an innovative state-of-the-art imaging modality that has gained popularity for in vivo breast imaging in recent years.
  • Combining high-resolution images with endogenous differentiation of biochemical contents, MSOT could be an accurate ex vivo imaging modality for assessment of tumor margins during breast-conserving surgery to reduce margin positivity rates.
  • Accurate intraoperative assessment of margins could lead to more precise surgery, allowing a smaller volume of breast tissue to be removed without compromising the resection margins.
  • To the authors’ knowledge, there has been no ex vivo study conducted to this day that uses MSOT in the assessment of breast tumor margins after lumpectomy. Hence, we would like to present the first case of breast tumor margin assessment using MSOT in a 55-year-old patient who underwent breast-conserving surgery for invasive ductal carcinoma.
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Zhao Y et al.

In vivo therapeutic evaluation of polymeric nanomedicines: effect of different targeting peptides on therapeutic efficacy against breast cancer

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Targeted nanomedicines offer many advantages over macromolecular therapeutics that rely only on passive accumulation within the tumour environment. The aim of this work was to investigate the in vivo anticancer efficiency of polymeric nanomedicines that were conjugated with peptide aptamers that show high affinity for receptors on many cancer cells. In order to assess the ability for the nanomedicine to treat cancer and investigate how structure affected the behavior of the nanomedicine, three imaging modalities were utilized, including in vivo optical imaging, multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) and ex vivo confocal microscopy. An 8-mer (A8) or 13-mer (A13) peptide aptamer that have been shown to exhibit high affinity for heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) was covalently-bound to hyperbranched polymer (HBP) nanoparticles with the purpose of both cellular targeting, as well as the potential to impart some level of chemo-sensitization to the cells. Furthermore, doxorubicin was bound to the polymeric carrier as the anticancer drug, and Cyanine-5.5 (Cy5.5) was incorporated into the polymer as a monomeric fluorophore to aid in monitoring the behavior of the nanomedicine. Enhanced tumour regression was observed in nude mice bearing MDA-MB-468 xenografts when the nanocarriers were targeted using the peptide ligands, compared to control groups treated with free DOX or HBP without aptamer. The accumulated DOX level in solid tumours was 5.5 times higher in mice treated with the targeted therapeutic, than mice treated with free DOX, and 2.6 times higher than the untargeted nanomedicine that relied only on passive accumulation. The results suggest that aptamer-targeted therapeutics have great potential for improving accumulation of nanomedicines in tumours for therapy.

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Balasundaram G et al.

Noninvasive Anatomical and Functional Imaging of Orthotopic Glioblastoma Development and Therapy using Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography

CancerNeuroPreclinicalMSOT

PURPOSE: Here we demonstrate the potential of multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT), a new non-invasive structural and functional imaging modality, to track the growth and changes in blood oxygen saturation (sO2) in orthotopic glioblastoma (GBMs) and the surrounding brain tissues upon administration of a vascular disruptive agent (VDA).

METHODS: Nude mice injected with U87MG tumor cells were longitudinally monitored for the development of orthotopic GBMs up to 15 days and observed for changes in sO2 upon administration of combretastatin A4 phosphate (CA4P, 30 mg/kg), an FDA approved VDA for treating solid tumors. We employed a newly-developed non-negative constrained approach for combined MSOT image reconstruction and unmixing in order to quantitatively map sO2 in whole mouse brains.

RESULTS: Upon longitudinal monitoring, tumors could be detected in mouse brains using single-wavelength data as early as 6 days post tumor cell inoculation. Fifteen days post-inoculation, tumors had higher sO2 of 63 ± 11% (n = 5, P < .05) against 48 ± 7% in the corresponding contralateral brain, indicating their hyperoxic status. In a different set of animals, 42 days post-inoculation, tumors had lower sO2 of 42 ± 5% against 49 ± 4% (n = 3, P < .05) in the contralateral side, indicating their hypoxic status. Upon CA4P administration, sO2 in 15 days post-inoculation tumors dropped from 61 ± 9% to 36 ± 1% (n = 4, P < .01) within one hour, then reverted to pre CA4P treatment values (63 ± 6%) and remained constant until the last observation time point of 6 hours.

CONCLUSION: With the help of advanced post processing algorithms, MSOT was capable of monitoring the tumor growth and assessing hemodynamic changes upon administration of VDAs in orthotopic GBMs.

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Chang YX et al.

Synergistic Reducing Effect for Synthesis of Well-Defined Au Nanooctopods With Ultra-Narrow Plasmon Band Width and High Photothermal Conversion Efficiency

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Branched Au nanoparticles have attracted intense interest owing to their remarkable properties and a wide variety of potential applications in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), photothermal therapy, photoacoustic imaging, and biomedicines. The morphology and spatial arrangement of branches play the most crucial role in the determination of their properties and applications. However, it is still a synthetic challenge to control the exact arm numbers of branches with specific spatial arrangements. Here we report a facile method for the kinetically controlled growth of Au nanooctopods (NOPs) with a high yield (81%), monodispersity, and reproducibility by using the synergistic reducing effect of ascorbic acid and 1-methylpyrrolidine. The NOPs have eight arms elongated along <111> directions with uniform arm lengths. Due to their well-defined size and shape, NOPs show ultra-narrow surface plasmon band width with a full width at half maximum of only 76 nm (0.20 eV). Upon irradiation with laser, the NOPs possessed excellent photothermal conversion efficiencies up to 83.0% and photoacoustic imaging properties. This work highlights the future prospects of using NOPs with desired physicochemical properties for biomedical applications.

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Song X et al.

Novel GPC3-binding WS2-Ga3+-PEG-peptide nanosheets for in vivo bimodal imaging-guided photothermal therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

AIM: The diagnosis and treatment of hepatocarcinoma (HCC) is believed to be improved due to the development of specific targeting probes by molecular imaging methods. GPC3, which is a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)-specific tumor marker, anchors at most HCC cells. To target this cell membrane protein, we developed a novel nanoparticle by conjugating WS2-Ga3+-PEG and a short peptide with favorable specificity and affinity to the GPC3 protein.

MATERIALS & METHODS: In in vitro assay, several physical properties of the novel probe were evaluated. In in vivo assay, MRI, photoacoustic imaging and photothermal therapy were performed in the subcutaneous HepG2-bearing mice with the novel probe.

RESULTS & CONCLUSION: The effect of imaging and photothermal therapy was significant. We revealed that the novel nanosheet WS2-Ga3+-PEG-peptide is promising to detect and treat HCC-expressing GPC3.

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Peng L et al.

Phage Display-Derived Peptide-based Dual-Modality Imaging Probe for Bladder Cancer Diagnosis and Resection Post-Instillation: A Preclinical Study

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Bladder cancer (BC) is a common human malignancy. Conventional ultrasound and white light cystoscopy are often used for BC diagnosis and resection, but insufficient specificity results in a high BC recurrence rate. New strategy for the diagnosis and resection of BC are needed. In this study, we developed a highly specific peptide-based probe for BC photoacoustic imaging (PAI) diagnosis and near-infrared (NIR)-imaging-guided resection post-instillation. A BC-specific peptide (PLSWT7) was selected by in vivo phage display technology and labeled with IRDye800CW to synthesize a BC-specific dual-modality imaging (DMI) probe (PLSWT7-DMI). The feasibility of PLSWT7-DMI-based dual-modality PAI-NIR imaging was assessed in vitro, in mouse models, and ex vivo human bladders. An air-pouch BC (APBC) model suitable for probe instillation was established to evaluate the probe-based BC PAI diagnosis and NIR-imaging-guided resection. Human bladders were used to assess whether PLSWT7-DMI-based DMI strategy is a translatable approach for BC detection and resection. The probe exhibited excellent selectivity and specificity both in vitro and in vivo. Post-instillation of the probe, tumors <3 mm were detectable by PAI, and NIR-imaging-guided tumor resection decreased the BC recurrence rate by 90% and increased the survival in the mouse model. Additionally, ex vivo NIR imaging of human bladders indicated that PLSWT7-DMI-based imaging would potentially allowed precise resection of BC in clinical settings. This PLSWT7-DMI-based DMI strategy was a translatable approach for BC diagnosis and resection and could potentially lower the BC recurrence rate.

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Vetschera P et al.

Characterization of reversibly switchable fluorescent proteins (rsFPs) in optoacoustic imaging

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Reversibly switchable fluorescent proteins (rsFPs) have had a revolutionizing effect on life science imaging due to their contribution to subdiffraction-resolution optical microscopy (nanoscopy). Initial studies showed that their use as labels could also be highly beneficial for emerging Photo- or Optoacoustic imaging. It could be shown that their use in Optoacoustics i) strongly improves the imaging CNR due to modulation and locked-in detection, ii) facilitates fluence calibration affording precise measurements of physiological parameters and finally iii) could boost spatial resolution following similar concepts as used for nanoscopy. However, rsFPs show different photophysical behavior in optoacoustics than in optical microscopy because optoacoustics requires pulsed illumination and depends on signal generation via non-radiative energy decay channels. This implies that rsFPs optimized for fluorescence imaging may not be ideal for optoacoustics. Here, we analyze the photophysical behavior of a broad range of rsFPs with optoacoustics and analyze how the experimental factors central to optoacoustic imaging influence the different types of rsFPs. Finally, we discuss how knowledge of the switching behavior can be exploited for various OA imaging approaches using sophisticate temporal unmixing schemes.

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Samykutty A et al.

Optoacoustic imaging identifies ovarian cancer using a microenvironment targeted theranostic wormhole mesoporous silica nanoparticle

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

At the intersection of the newly emerging fields of optoacoustic imaging and theranostic nanomedicine, promising clinical progress can be made in dismal prognosis of ovarian cancer. An acidic pH targeted wormhole mesoporous silica nanoparticle (V7-RUBY) was developed to serve as a novel tumor specific theranostic nanoparticle detectable using multispectral optoacoustic tomographic (MSOT) imaging. We report the synthesis of a small, < 40 nm, biocompatible asymmetric wormhole pore mesoporous silica core particle that has both large loading capacity and favorable release kinetics combined with tumor-specific targeting and gatekeeping. V7-RUBY exploits the acidic tumor microenvironment for tumor-specific targeting and tumor-specific release. In vitro, treatment with V7-RUBY containing either paclitaxel or carboplatin resulted in increased cell death at pH 6.6 in comparison to drug alone (p < 0.0001). In orthotopic ovarian xenograft mouse models, V7-RUBY containing IR780 was specifically detected within the tumor 7X and 4X higher than the liver and >10X higher than in the kidney using both multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) imaging with secondary confirmation using near infrared fluorescence imaging (p < 0.0004). The V7-RUBY system carrying a cargo of either contrast agent or an anti-neoplastic drug has the potential to become a theranostic nanoparticle which can improve both diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer.

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Tang X et al.

Gold nanorods together with HSP inhibitor-VER-155008 micelles for colon cancer mild-temperature photothermal therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Enhancing the heat-sensitivity of tumor cells provides an alternative solution to maintaining the therapeutic outcome of photothermal therapy (PTT). In this study, we constructed a therapeutic system, which was composed of methoxy-polyethylene-glycol-coated-gold-nanorods (MPEG-AuNR) and VER-155008-micelles, to evaluate the effect of VER-155008 on the sensitivity of tumor cells to heat, and further investigate the therapeutic outcome of MPEG-AuNR mediated PTT combined with VER-155008- micelles. VER-155008- micelles down-regulate the expression of heat shock proteins and attenuate the heat-resistance of tumor cell. The survival of HCT116 cells treated with VER-155008- micelles under 45 °C is equal to that treated with high temperature hyperthermia (55 °C) in vitro. Furthermore, we proved either the MPEG-AuNR or VER-155008- micelles can be accumulate in the tumor site by photoacoustic imaging and fluorescent imaging. In vivo anti-cancer evaluation showed that tumor size remarkably decreased (smaller than 100 mm3 or vanished) when treated with combing 45 °C mild PTT system, which contrasted to the tumor size when treated with individual 45 °C mild PTT (around 500 nm3) or normal saline as control (larger than 2000 nm3). These results proved that the VER-155008- micelles can attenuate the heat-resistance of tumor cells and enhance the therapeutic outcome of mild-temperature photothermal therapy.

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Zhang J et al.

Biocompatible semiconducting polymer nanoparticles as robust photoacoustic and photothermal agents revealing the effects of chemical structure on high photothermal conversion efficiency

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Understanding the relationship between polymer chemical structure and its performance of photoacoustic imaging (PAI) and photothermal therapy (PTT) is important for developing ideal PAI/PTT agents. In this report, four semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (SPNs) with different donor-acceptor architectures are self-assembled for highly effective PAI-guided PTT. In particular, SPN1 with the longest π-conjugation length and the highest mass extinction coefficient which are beneficial for intramolecular charge transfer as well as light harvesting, exhibits the highest photothermal conversion efficiency up to 52.6%. Moreover, the as-prepared SPN1 possess good water-dispersibility, robust size-stability and excellent photothermal properties. Furthermore, the SPN1 not only exhibits a remarkable cancer cell-killing ability but also shows a prominent tumor inhibition capacity. Finally, the as-prepared water-dispersible SPN1 displays good biocompatibility and biosafety, making it a promising candidate for future biomedical applications. Considering the plenty of near-infrared absorbing semiconducting polymer available, our work provides fundamental insights for rational design and preparation of highly efficient SPN-based PAI/PTT agents for cancer theranostics.

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Xiao TG et al.

Applying dynamic contrast enhanced MSOT imaging to intratumoral pharmacokinetic modeling

PharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Examining the dynamics of an agent in the tumor microenvironment can offer critical insights to the influx rate and accumulation of the agent. Intratumoral kinetic characterization in the in vivo setting can further elicudate distribution patterns and tumor microenvironment. Dynamic contrast-enhanced Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomographic imaging (DCE-MSOT) acquires serial MSOT images with the administration of an exogenous contrast agent over time. We tracked the dynamics of a tumor-targeted contrast agent, HypoxiSense 680 (HS680), in breast xenograft mouse models using MSOT. Arterial input function (AIF) approach with MSOT imaging allowed for tracking HS680 dynamics within the mouse. The optoacoustic signal for HS680 was quantified using the ROI function in the ViewMSOT software. A two-compartment pharmacokinetics (PK) model constructed in MATLAB to fit rate parameters. The contrast influx (kin) and outflux (kout) rate constants predicted are kin = 1.96 × 10−2 s-1 and kout = 9.5 × 10-3 s-1 (R = 0.9945).

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Zhang H et al.

Monitoring the Opening and Recovery of the Blood-Brain Barrier with Noninvasive Molecular Imaging by Biodegradable Ultrasmall Cu2- xSe Nanoparticles

NanoNeuroPreclinicalMSOT

The reversible and controllable opening and recovery of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is crucial for the treatment of brain diseases, and it is a big challenge to noninvasively monitor these processes. In this article, dual-modal photoacoustic imaging and single-photon-emission computed tomography imaging based on ultrasmall Cu2- xSe nanoparticles (3.0 nm) were used to noninvasively monitor the opening and recovery of the BBB induced by focused ultrasound in living mice. The ultrasmall Cu2- xSe nanoparticles were modified with poly(ethylene glycol) to exhibit a long blood circulation time. Both small size and long blood circulation time enable them to efficiently penetrate into the brain with the assistance of ultrasound, which resulted in a strong signal at the sonicated site and allowed for photoacoustic and single-photon emission computed tomography imaging monitoring the recovery of the opened BBB. The results of biodistribution, blood routine examination, and histological staining indicate that the accumulated Cu2- xSe nanoparticles could be excreted from the brain and other major organs after 15 days without causing side effects. By the combination of the advantages of noninvasive molecular imaging and focused ultrasound, the ultrasmall biocompatible Cu2- xSe nanoparticles holds great potential for the diagnosis and therapeutic treatment of brain diseases.

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Ma T et al.

"Smart" Nanoprobes for Visualization of Tumor Microenvironments

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Physiological parameters in tumor microenvironments, including hypoxia, low extracellular pH, enzymes, reducing conditions, and so on, are closely associated with the proliferation, angiogenesis, invasion, and metastasis of cancer, and impact the therapeutic administrations. Therefore, monitoring the tumor microenvironment is significant for diagnosing tumors, predicting the invasion potential, evaluating therapeutic efficacy, planning the treatment, and cancer prognostics. Noninvasive molecular imaging technologies combined with novel “smart” nanoparticle-based activatable probes provide a feasible approach to visualize tumor-associated microenvironment factors. This review summarizes recent achievements in the designs of “smart” molecular imaging nanoprobes responding to the tumor microenvironment-related features, and highlights the state of the art in tumor heterogeneity imaging.

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Roberts S et al.

Sonophore-enhanced nanoemulsions for optoacoustic imaging of cancer

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Optoacoustic imaging offers the promise of high spatial resolution and, at the same time, penetration depths well beyond the conventional optical imaging technologies, advantages that would be favorable for a variety of clinical applications. However, similar to optical fluorescence imaging, exogenous contrast agents, known as sonophores, need to be developed for molecularly targeted optoacoustic imaging. Despite numerous optoacoustic contrast agents that have been reported, there is a need for more rational design of sonophores. Here, using a library screening approach, we systematically identified and evaluated twelve commercially available near-infrared (690–900 nm) and highly absorbing dyes for multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT). In order to achieve more accurate spectral deconvolution and precise data quantification, we sought five practical mathematical methods, namely direct classical least squares based on UV-Vis (UV/Vis-DCLS) or optoacoustic (OA-DCLS) spectra, non-negative LS (NN-LS), independent component analysis (ICA) and principal component analysis (PCA). We found that OA-DCLS is the most suitable method, allowing easy implementation and sufficient accuracy for routine analysis. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that our biocompatible nanoemulsions (NEs), in combination with near-infrared and highly absorbing dyes, enable non-invasive in vivo MSOT detection of tumors. Specifically, we found that NE-IRDye QC1 offers excellent optoacoustic performance and detection compared to related near-infrared NEs. We demonstrate that when loaded with low fluorescent or dark quencher dyes, NEs represent a flexible and new class of exogenous sonophores suitable for non-invasive pre-clinical optoacoustic imaging.

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Masthoff M et al.

Multispectral optoacoustic tomography of systemic sclerosis

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

The study aimed to evaluate the clinical feasibility of hybrid ultrasound (US)/ multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) for assessing microvascular dysfunction in systemic sclerosis (SSc). A handheld US/MSOT imaging system was applied for imaging patients diagnosed with SSc (n=7) and healthy volunteers (n=8). Semiquantitative MSOT values for deoxygenated (HbR), oxygenated (HbO2 ) and total haemoglobin (HbT) were analysed for subcutaneous finger tissue of both hands (8 fingers per subject, 120 fingers in total) and used to assess disease activity (progressive vs. stable). Grouped data were compared by one-way nested ANOVA, Tukey post-hoc test as well as students t-test were used for statistical analysis. Subcutaneous finger tissue of patients with SSc provided significantly lower MSOT values for HbO2 (26.16±0.71 vs. 38.2±1.54, p=0.023) and HbT (55.92±1.62 vs. 72.46±1.90, p=0.018) compared to healthy volunteers. Patients with progressive SSc had significantly lower MSOT values compared to patients with stable disease and healthy volunteers. This pilot study shows the feasibility of MSOT imaging to resolve microvascular dysfunction in SSc as a marker of disease activity. By providing biological tissue properties not revealed by other imaging modalities, MSOT might help to grade SSc non-invasively and monitor early therapy response.

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Comenge J et al.

Multimodal cell tracking from systemic administration to tumour growth by combining gold nanorods and reporter genes

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Understanding the fate of exogenous cells after implantation is important for clinical applications. Preclinical studies allow imaging of cell location and survival. Labelling with nanoparticles enables high sensitivity detection, but cell division and cell death cause signal dilution and false positives. By contrast, genetic reporter signals are amplified by cell division. Here, we characterise lentivirus-based bi-cistronic reporter gene vectors and silica-coated gold nanorods (GNRs) as synergistic tools for cell labelling and tracking. Co-expression of the bioluminescence reporter luciferase and the optoacoustic reporter near-infrared fluorescent protein iRFP720 enabled cell tracking over time in mice. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) showed immediate biodistribution of GNR-labelled cells after intracardiac injection and successive clearance of GNRs (day 1-15) with high resolution, while optoacoustic iRFP720 detection indicated tumour growth (day 10-40). This multimodal cell tracking approach could be applied widely for cancer and regenerative medicine research to monitor short- and long-term biodistribution, tumour formation and metastasis.

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Abeyakoon O et al.

Optoacoustic Imaging Detects Hormone-Related Physiological Changes of Breast Parenchyma

Breast CancerClinicalMSOT

PURPOSE : Optoacoustic imaging with ultrasound (OPUS) can assess in-vivo perfusion/oxygenation through surrogate measures of oxy, deoxy and total hemoglobin content in tissues. The primary aim of our study was to evaluate the ability of OPUS to detect physiological changes in the breast during the menstrual cycle and to determine qualitative/quantitative metrics of normal parenchymal tissue in pre-/post-menopausal women. The secondary aim was to assess the technique’s repeatability.

MATERIALS AND METHODS : We performed a prospective ethically approved study in volunteers using OPUS (700, 800 and 850 nm wavelengths) in the proliferative/follicular and secretory phase of the menstrual cycle. Regions of interest (ROIs) were drawn on the most superficial region of fibroglandular tissue and same-day intra-observer repeatability was assessed. We used t-tests to interrogate differences in the OPUS measurements due to hormonal changes and interclass correlation coefficients/Bland-Altman plots to evaluate the repeatability of mean ROI signal intensities.

RESULTS : 22 pre-menopausal and 8 post-menopausal volunteers were recruited. 21 participants underwent repeatability examinations. OPUS intensity values were significantly higher (p < 0.0001) at all excitation wavelengths in the secretory compared to the proliferative/follicular phase. Post-menopausal volunteers showed similar optoacoustic values to the proliferative/follicular phase of pre-menopausal volunteers. The repeatability of the technique was comparable to other handheld ultrasound modalities.

CONCLUSION : OPUS detects changes in perfusion/vascularity related to the menstrual cycle and menopausal status of breast parenchyma.

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Han Z et al.

An Innovation for Treating Orthotopic Pancreatic Cancer by Preoperative Screening and Imaging-Guided Surgery

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

PURPOSE : Pancreatic cancer is still associated with a poor outcome and low patient quality of life, which are mainly attributed to the late detection and requirement of distal pancreatectomy with extended resection of pancreatic tumors. Therefore, novel strategies for early screening and precise tumor resection are urgently needed. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility of a low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR)-targeted small-molecule contrast agent (peptide-22-Cy7) for early screening with photoacoustic tomography and near-infrared (NIR) imaging as guided surgical navigation to achieve precise resection.

PROCEDURE : Normal pancreatic cells (HPDE6-C7) and cancer cells (PANC-1) were respectively used in the in vitro targeting evaluations. The ability of peptide-22-Cy7 for preoperative in vivo pancreatic tumor detection was investigated in a mouse orthotopic pancreatic cancer model (n = 10) using photoacoustic tomography; 18 tumor-bearing mice were further divided into three groups for different treatments. After intravenous injection of peptide-22-Cy7, surgical navigation was conducted through laparotomy. Histopathological analysis was used to further confirm the tumor area and the state of surgical margins.

RESULTS : Flow cytometry demonstrated that peptide-22 is highly specific to pancreatic cancer cells, with a fluorescence intensity of approximately 87.3 %. Orthotopic pancreatic tumors with a size of 4 mm could be accurately detected by photoacoustic tomography. Surgical navigation effectively achieved R0 resection and minimized the range of resection, which led to increased body weight of the mice following surgery.

CONCLUSION : Overall, our newly developed targeted contrast agent facilitated the accurate positioning and resection of pancreatic tumors. Photoacoustic tomography and optical imaging-guided surgical navigation may be a novel direction for improving the survival, quality of life, and disease management of pancreatic cancer patients.

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Yücel YH et al.

Active Lymphatic Drainage From the Eye Measured by Noninvasive Photoacoustic Imaging of Near-Infrared Nanoparticles

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Purpose : To visualize and quantify lymphatic drainage of aqueous humor from the eye to cervical lymph nodes in the dynamic state.

Methods : A near-infrared tracer was injected into the right eye anterior chamber of 10 mice under general anesthesia. Mice were imaged with photoacoustic tomography before and 20 minutes, 2, 4, and 6 hours after injection. Tracer signal intensity was measured in both eyes and right and left neck lymph nodes at every time point and signal intensity slopes were calculated. Slope differences between right and left eyes and right and left nodes were compared using paired t-test. Neck nodes were examined with fluorescence optical imaging and histologically for the presence of tracer.

Results : Following right eye intracameral injection of tracer, an exponential decrease in tracer signal was observed from 20 minutes to 6 hours in all mice. Slope differences of the signal intensity between right and left eyes were significant (P < 0.001). Simultaneously, increasing tracer signal was observed in the right neck node from 20 minutes to 6 hours. Slope differences of the signal intensity between right and left neck nodes were significant (P = 0.0051). Ex vivo optical fluorescence imaging and histopathologic examination of neck nodes confirmed tracer presence within submandibular nodes.

Conclusions : Active lymphatic drainage of aqueous from the eye to cervical lymph nodes was measured noninvasively by photoacoustic imaging of near-infrared nanoparticles. This unique in vivo assay may help to uncover novel drugs that target alternative outflow routes to lower IOP in glaucoma and may provide new insights into lymphatic drainage in eye health and disease.

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O'Kelly D et al.

Tomographic breathing detection: a method to noninvasively assess in situ respiratory dynamics

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Physiological monitoring is a critical aspect of in vivo experimentation, particularly imaging studies. Physiological monitoring facilitates gated acquisition of imaging data and more robust experimental interpretation but has historically required additional instrumentation that may be cumbersome. As frame rates have increased, imaging methods have been able to capture ever more rapid dynamics, passing the Nyquist sampling rate of most physiological processes and allowing the capture of motion, such as breathing. With this transition, image artifacts have also changed their nature; rather than intraframe motion causing blurring and deteriorating resolution, interframe motion does not affect individual frames and may be recovered as useful information from an image time series. We demonstrate a method that takes advantage of interframe movement for detection of gross physiological motion in real-time image sequences. We further demonstrate the ability of the method, dubbed tomographic breathing detection to quantify the dynamics of respiration, allowing the capture of respiratory information pertinent to anesthetic depth monitoring. Our example uses multispectral optoacoustic tomography, but it will be widely relevant to other technologies.

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Sun J et al.

Ultrasmall endogenous biopolymer nanoparticles for magnetic resonance/photoacoustic dual-modal imaging-guided photothermal therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Multi-modal imaging-guided photothermal therapy (PTT) has aroused extensive attention in biomedical research recently because it can provide more comprehensive information for accurate diagnosis and treatment. In this research, the manganese ion chelated endogenous biopolymer melanin nanoparticles were successfully prepared for magnetic resonance (MR)/photoacoustic (PA) dual-modal imaging-guided PTT. The obtained nanoparticles with an ultrasmall size of about 3.2 nm exhibited negligible cytotoxicity, high relaxivity for MRI, an excellent photothermal effect and PA activity. Moreover, in vivo MRI and PAI results all demonstrated that the nanoparticles began to diffuse in the blood after intratumoral injection into tumor-bearing mice and could spread throughout the whole tumor region at 3 h, indicating the optimal treatment time. The subsequent photothermal therapy of cancer cells in vivo was carried out and the result showed that tumor growth could be effectively inhibited without inducing any observed side effects. Besides, melanin as an endogenous biopolymer has native biocompatibility and biodegradability, and it can be excreted through both renal and hepatobiliary pathways after treatment. Therefore, the melanin-Mn nanoparticles may assist in better indicating the optimal treatment time, monitoring the therapeutic process and enhancing the therapeutic effect and showed great clinical translation potential for cancer diagnosis and therapy.

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Sigmund F et al.

Bacterial encapsulins as orthogonal compartments for mammalian cell engineering

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

We genetically controlled compartmentalization in eukaryotic cells by heterologous expression of bacterial encapsulin shell and cargo proteins to engineer enclosed enzymatic reactions and size-constrained metal biomineralization. The shell protein (EncA) from Myxococcus xanthus auto-assembles into nanocompartments inside mammalian cells to which sets of native (EncB,C,D) and engineered cargo proteins self-target enabling localized bimolecular fluorescence and enzyme complementation. Encapsulation of the enzyme tyrosinase leads to the confinement of toxic melanin production for robust detection via multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT). Co-expression of ferritin-like native cargo (EncB,C) results in efficient iron sequestration producing substantial contrast by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and allowing for magnetic cell sorting. The monodisperse, spherical, and iron-loading nanoshells are also excellent genetically encoded reporters for electron microscopy (EM). In general, eukaryotically expressed encapsulins enable cellular engineering of spatially confined multicomponent processes with versatile applications in multiscale molecular imaging, as well as intriguing implications for metabolic engineering and cellular therapy.

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Qi J et al.

Light-driven transformable optical agent with adaptive functions for boosting cancer surgery outcomes

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging have different advantages in cancer diagnosis; however, combining effects in one agent normally requires a trade-off as the mechanisms interfere. Here, based on rational molecular design, we introduce a smart organic nanoparticle whose absorbed excitation energy can be photo-switched to the pathway of thermal deactivation for photoacoustic imaging, or to allow opposed routes for fluorescence imaging and photodynamic therapy. The molecule is made of a dithienylethene (DTE) core with two surrounding 2-(1-(4-(1,2,2-triphenylvinyl)phenyl)ethylidene)malononitrile (TPECM) units (DTE-TPECM). The photosensitive molecule changes from a ring-closed, for photoacoustic imaging, to a ring-opened state for fluorescence and photodynamic effects upon an external light trigger. The nanoparticles’ photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging properties demonstrate the advantage of the switch. The use of the nanoparticles improves the outcomes of in vivo cancer surgery using preoperative photoacoustic imaging and intraoperative fluorescent visualization/photodynamic therapy of residual tumours to ensure total tumour removal.

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Ma X et al.

Multimodality Molecular Imaging-Guided Tumor Border Delineation and Photothermal Therapy Analysis Based on Graphene Oxide-Conjugated Gold Nanoparticles Chelated with Gd

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Tumor cell complete extinction is a crucial measure to evaluate antitumor efficacy. The difficulties in defining tumor margins and finding satellite metastases are the reason for tumor recurrence. A synergistic method based on multimodality molecular imaging needs to be developed so as to achieve the complete extinction of the tumor cells. In this study, graphene oxide conjugated with gold nanostars and chelated with Gd through 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-N,N′,N,N′-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) (GO-AuNS-DOTA-Gd) were prepared to target HCC-LM3-fLuc cells and used for therapy. For subcutaneous tumor, multimodality molecular imaging including photoacoustic imaging (PAI) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the related processing techniques were used to monitor the pharmacokinetics process of GO-AuNS-DOTA-Gd in order to determine the optimal time for treatment. For orthotopic tumor, MRI was used to delineate the tumor location and margin in vivo before treatment. Then handheld photoacoustic imaging system was used to determine the tumor location during the surgery and guided the photothermal therapy. The experiment result based on orthotopic tumor demonstrated that this synergistic method could effectively reduce tumor residual and satellite metastases by 85.71% compared with the routine photothermal method without handheld PAI guidance. These results indicate that this multimodality molecular imaging-guided photothermal therapy method is promising with a good prospect in clinical application.

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Hupple CW et al.

A light-fluence-independent method for the quantitative analysis of dynamic contrast-enhanced multispectral optoacoustic tomography (DCE MSOT)

PharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

MultiSpectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) is an emerging imaging technology that allows for data acquisition at high spatial and temporal resolution. These imaging characteristics are advantageous for Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE) imaging that can assess the combination of vascular flow and permeability. However, the quantitative analysis of DCE MSOT data has not been possible due to complications caused by wavelength-dependent light attenuation and variability in light fluence at different anatomical locations. In this work we present a new method for the quantitative analysis of DCE MSOT data that is not biased by light fluence. We have named this method the two-compartment linear standard model (2C-LSM) for DCE MSOT.

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Mercep E et al.

Imaging of blood flow and oxygen state with a multi-segment optoacoustic ultrasound array

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

Changes in hemodynamic parameters are directly linked to biological function and physiological activity. Characterization of hemodynamics is commonly performed by Doppler ultrasound, which provides accurate measurements of blood flow velocity. Multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography is rapidly undergoing clinical translation fostered by its unique and complementary capacity for label-free mapping of the blood volume and the distribution of oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin in blood. Here we report on a hybrid optoacoustic and ultrasound imaging approach that enables multi-modal imaging of blood flow and oxygen state using a multi-segment detector array. We further demonstrate rendering of multi-modal pulse-echo ultrasound, multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography, and color Doppler images from carotid artery of a healthy subject.

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Chan XHD et al.

Multimodal imaging approach to monitor browning of adipose tissue in vivo

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

The discovery that white adipocytes can undergo a browning process to become metabolically active beige cells has attracted significant interest in the fight against obesity. However, the study of adipose browning has been impeded by a lack of imaging tools that allow longitudinal and noninvasive monitoring of this process in vivo. Here, we report a preclinical imaging approach to detect development of beige adipocytes during adrenergic stimulation. In this approach, we expressed near-infrared fluorescent protein, iRFP720, driven under an uncoupling protein-1 (Ucp1) promoter in mice by viral transduction, and used multispectral optoacoustic imaging technology with ultrasound tomography (MSOT-US) to assess adipose beiging during adrenergic stimulation. We observed increased photoacoustic signal at 720 nm, coupled with attenuated lipid signals in stimulated animals. As a proof of concept, we validated our approach against hybrid positron emission tomography combined with magnetic resonance (PET/MR) imaging modality, and quantified the extent of adipose browning by MRI-guided segmentation of 2-deoxy-2-18F-fluoro-d-glucose uptake signals. The browning extent detected by MSOT-US and PET/MR are well correlated with Ucp1 induction. Taken together, these systems offer great opportunities for preclinical screening aimed at identifying compounds that promote adipose browning and translation of these discoveries into clinical studies of humans.

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Ni R et al.

Cortical hypoperfusion and reduced cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen in the arcAβ mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease

NeuroPreclinicalMSOT

The effect of cerebral amyloidosis on cerebral hemodynamics was investigated with photoacoustic tomography (PAT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). First, the sensitivity and robustness of PAT for deriving metrics of vascular and tissue oxygenation in the murine brain was assessed in wild-type mice with a hyperoxia-normoxia challenge. Secondly, cerebral oxygenation was assessed in young and aged arcAβ mice and wild-type controls with PAT, while cerebral blood flow (CBF) was determined by perfusion MRI. The investigations revealed that PAT can sensitively and robustly detect physiological changes in vascular and tissue oxygenation. An advanced stage of cerebral amyloidosis in arcAβ mice is accompanied by a decreases in cortical CBF and the cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen (CMRO2), as oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) has been found unaffected. Thus, PAT constitutes a robust non-invasive tool for deriving metrics of tissue oxygenation, extraction and metabolism in the mouse brain under physiological and disease states.

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Sun M et al.

Tumour-homing chimeric polypeptide-conjugated polypyrrole nanoparticles for imaging-guided synergistic photothermal and chemical therapy of cancer

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Near-infrared (NIR)-absorbing conjugated polymer nanoparticles are interesting for imaging-guided combination therapy, especially for synergistic photothermal therapy and chemotherapy; however, most of them target tumours passively through the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, leading to low utilization efficiency. To address this problem, we report an active tumour-targeting strategy of tumour-homing chimeric polypeptide-conjugated NIR-absorbing conjugated-polymer nanoparticles as a new class of drug nanocarriers for imaging-guided combination therapy of cancer. Methods : A tumour-homing chimeric polypeptide C-ELP-F3 was genetically engineered, and chemoselectively conjugated to polypyrrole (PPy) nanoparticles via a facile thiol-maleimide coupling reaction to form ELP-F3 conjugated PPy (PPy-ELP-F3) nanoparticles. Doxorubicin (DOX) was physically adsorbed onto PPy-ELP-F3 nanoparticles to yield DOX-loaded PPy-ELP-F3 (DOX/PPy-ELP-F3) nanoparticles. The physicochemical properties of DOX/PPy-ELP-F3 were characterized. The pharmacokinetics of DOX/PPy-ELP-F3 was studied in a mouse model. The photoacoustic imaging and photothermal imaging of tumours were tested in a melanoma-bearing mouse model. The photothermal-chemical combination therapy of tumours was investigated by using melanoma cells in vitro and in a melanoma-bearing mouse model. Results : DOX/PPy-ELP-F3 nanoparticles showed enhanced cytotoxicity to melanoma cells in vitro and improved tumour-targeting efficiency in vivo, as compared with both DOX/PPy-ELP nanoparticles without the tumour-homing function and free DOX. The photothermal effect of DOX/PPy-ELP-F3 nanoparticles could accelerate the release of DOX from PPy-ELP-F3. Under the guidance of photoacoustic and photothermal imaging, the synergy of photothermal and chemical therapy could completely abolish tumours without detectable systemic toxicity. Conclusion : Tumour-homing chimeric polypeptide-conjugated NIR-absorbing conjugated-polymer nanoparticles are promising as a new multifunctional drug delivery platform for highly-efficient imaging guided combination therapy.

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Quiros-Gonzalez I et al.

Optoacoustics delineates murine breast cancer models displaying angiogenesis and vascular mimicry

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

BACKGROUND : Optoacoustic tomography (OT) of breast tumour oxygenation is a promising new technique, currently in clinical trials, which may help to determine disease stage and therapeutic response. However, the ability of OT to distinguish breast tumours displaying different vascular characteristics has yet to be established. The aim of the study is to prove OT as a sensitive technique for differentiating breast tumour models with manifestly different vasculatures.

METHODS : Multispectral OT (MSOT) was performed in oestrogen-dependent (MCF-7) and oestrogen-independent (MDA-MB-231) orthotopic breast cancer xenografts. Total haemoglobin (THb) and oxygen saturation (SO2MSOT) were calculated. Pathological and biochemical evaluation of the tumour vascular phenotype was performed for validation.

RESULTS : MCF-7 tumours show SO2MSOT similar to healthy tissue in both rim and core, despite significantly lower THb in the core. MDA-MB-231 tumours show markedly lower SO2MSOT with a significant rim-core disparity. Ex vivo analysis revealed that MCF-7 tumours contain fewer blood vessels (CD31+) that are more mature (CD31+/aSMA+) than MDA-MB-231. MCF-7 presented higher levels of stromal VEGF and iNOS, with increased NO serum levels. The vasculogenic process observed in MCF-7 was consistent with angiogenesis, while MDA-MB-231 appeared to rely more on vascular mimicry.

CONCLUSIONS : OT is sensitive to differences in the vascular phenotypes of our breast cancer models.

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Berezhnoi A et al.

Assessing hyperthermia-induced vasodilation in human skin in vivo using optoacoustic mesoscopy

Other ApplicationsClinicalRSOM

The aim of this study was to explore the unique imaging abilities of optoacoustic mesoscopy to visualize skin structures and microvasculature with the view of establishing a robust approach for monitoring heat-induced hyperemia in human skin in vivo. Using raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM), we investigated whether optoacoustic (photoacoustic) mesoscopy can identify changes in skin response to local heating at microvasculature resolution in a cross-sectional fashion through skin in the human forearm. We visualized the heat-induced hyperemia for the first time with single-vessel resolution throughout the whole skin depth. We quantified changes in total blood volume in the skin and their correlation with local heating. In response to local heating, total blood volume increased 1.83- and 1.76-fold, respectively, in the volar and dorsal aspects of forearm skin. We demonstrate RSOM imaging of the dilation of individual vessels in the skin microvasculature, consistent with hyperemic response to heating at the skin surface. Our results demonstrate great potential of RSOM for elucidating the morphology, functional state and reactivity of dermal microvasculature, with implications for diagnostics and disease monitoring. Image: Cross-sectional view of skin microvasculature dilated in response to hyperthermia.

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Das A et al.

Impairment of an Endothelial NAD+-H2S Signaling Network Is a Reversible Cause of Vascular Aging

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

A decline in capillary density and blood flow with age is a major cause of mortality and morbidity. Understanding why this occurs is key to future gains in human health. NAD precursors reverse aspects of aging, in part, by activating sirtuin deacylases (SIRT1-SIRT7) that mediate the benefits of exercise and dietary restriction (DR). We show that SIRT1 in endothelial cells is a key mediator of pro-angiogenic signals secreted from myocytes. Treatment of mice with the NAD+ booster nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) improves blood flow and increases endurance in elderly mice by promoting SIRT1-dependent increases in capillary density, an effect augmented by exercise or increasing the levels of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a DR mimetic and regulator of endothelial NAD+ levels. These findings have implications for improving blood flow to organs and tissues, increasing human performance, and reestablishing a virtuous cycle of mobility in the elderly.

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Nitkunanantharajah S et al.

Trackerless panoramic optoacoustic imaging: a first feasibility evaluation

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

PURPOSE : Optoacoustic imaging provides high spatial resolution and the possibility to image specific functional parameters in real-time, therefore positioning itself as a promising modality for various applications. However, despite these advantages, the applicability of real-time optoacoustic imaging is generally limited due to a relatively small field of view.

METHODS : With this work, we aim at presenting a path towards panoramic optoacoustic tomographic imaging without requiring additional sensors or position trackers. We propose a two-step seamless stitching method for the compounding of multiple datasets acquired with a real-time 3D optoacoustic imaging system within a panoramic scan. The employed workflow is specifically tailored to the image properties and respective challenges.

RESULTS : A comparison of the presented alignment on in-vivo data shows a mean error of [Formula: see text] compared to ground truth tracking data. The presented compounding scheme integrates the physical resolution of optoacoustic data and hence can provide improved contrast in comparison with other compounding approaches based on addition or averaging.

CONCLUSION : The proposed method can produce optoacoustic volumes with an enlarged field of view and improved quality compared to current methods in optoacoustic imaging. However, our study also shows challenges for panoramic scans. In this view, we discuss relevant properties, challenges, and opportunities and present an evaluation of the performance of the presented approach with different input data.

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Reber J et al.

Non-invasive Measurement of Brown Fat Metabolism Based on Optoacoustic Imaging of Hemoglobin Gradients

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalClinicalMSOT

Metabolism is a fundamental process of life. However, non-invasive measurement of local tissue metabolism is limited today by a deficiency in adequate tools for in vivo observations. We designed a multi-modular platform that explored the relation between local tissue oxygen consumption, determined by label-free optoacoustic measurements of hemoglobin, and concurrent indirect calorimetry obtained during metabolic activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT). By studying mice and humans, we show how video-rate handheld multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) in the 700-970 nm spectral range enables non-invasive imaging of BAT activation, consistent with positron emission tomography findings. Moreover, we observe BAT composition differences between healthy and diabetic tissues. The study consolidates hemoglobin as a principal label-free biomarker for longitudinal non-invasive imaging of BAT morphology and bioenergetics in situ. We also resolve water and fat components in volunteers, and contrast MSOT readouts with magnetic resonance imaging data.

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Ni R et al.

Noninvasive detection of acute cerebral hypoxia and subsequent matrix-metalloproteinase activity in a mouse model of cerebral ischemia using multispectral-optoacoustic-tomography

NeuroPreclinicalMSOT

Oxygen metabolism and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play important roles in the pathophysiology of cerebral ischemia. Using multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) imaging, we visualized in vivo changes in cerebral tissue oxygenation during 1 h of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) and at 48 h after reperfusion together with MMP activity using an MMP-activatable probe. The deoxyhemoglobin, oxyhemoglobin, and MMP signals were coregistered with structural magnetic resonance imaging data. The ipsi-/contralateral ratio of tissue oxygen saturation ([Formula: see text]) was significantly reduced during 1 h of tMCAO and recovered after 48 h of reperfusion in tMCAO compared with sham-operated mice ([Formula: see text] to 10 per group). A higher ipsi-/contralateral MMP signal ratio was detected at 48 h after reperfusion in the lesioned brain regions of tMCAO compared with the sham-operated animal ([Formula: see text] to 6 per group). Ex vivo near-infrared fluorescence imaging of MMP signal in brain slices was used to validate in vivo MSOT measurements. In conclusion, noninvasive MSOT imaging can provide visualization of hemodynamic alterations and MMP activity in a mouse model of cerebral ischemia.

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Yan C et al.

Concentration effect on large scale synthesis of high quality small gold nanorods and their potential role in cancer theranostics

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Cancer theranostics agents, such as gold nanorods, represent great potential in cancer therapy. However, the big size and the low yield of the gold nanorods reported previously have limited their clinical translation. Therefore, it is significant to develop a new method to prepare the small gold nanorods (width <8 nm) at larger scale. In this report, a modified seedless method was proposed based on the effect of precursor concentration assisted synthesis of high quality small gold nanorods at large scale. The obtained small gold nanorods exhibit high quality and dimension of (18 ± 5 nm) × (5 ± 1 nm). After modified with biological compatibility reagents, the small gold nanorods behave excellent photoacoustic imaging and photo-thermal therapy ability. These results manifest that the obtained small gold nanorods not only realize the improvements of previously limitations, also are thus supposed to pave the way to cancer theranostics in clinic application.

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Aguirre J et al.

Assessing nailfold microvascular structure with ultra-wideband raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy

Other ApplicationsClinicalRSOM

Nailfold capillaroscopy, based on bright-field microscopy, is widely used to diagnose systemic sclerosis (SSc). However it cannot reveal information about venules and arterioles lying deep under the nailfold, nor can it provide detailed data about surface microvasculature when the skin around the nail is thick. These limitations reflect the fact that capillaroscopy is based on microscopy methods whose penetration depth is restricted to about 200 μm. We investigated whether ultra-wideband raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (UWB-RSOM) can resolve small capillaries of the nailfold in healthy volunteers and compared the optoacoustic data to conventional capillaroscopy examinations. We quantified UWB-RSOM-resolved capillary density and capillary diameter as features that relate to SSc biomarkers, and we obtained the first three-dimensional, in vivo images of the deeper arterioles and venules. These results establish the potential of UWB-RSOM for analyzing SSc-relevant markers.

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Brannen A et al.

Correlation of 360-degree Surface Mapping In Vivo Bioluminescence with Multi-Spectral Optoacoustic Tomography in Human Xenograft Tumor Models

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Pre-clinical monitoring of tumor growth and identification of distal metastasis requires a balance between accuracy and expediency. Bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is often used to track tumor growth but is primarily limited to planar 2-dimensional (2D) imaging. Consistent subject placement within a standard top-mounted, single-detector small animal imager is vital to reducing variability in repeated same-animal measures over time. Here, we describe a method for tracking tumor development using a multi-angle BLI and photo-acoustic workflow. We correlate serial caliper measurements and 2D BLI to 360° BLI and photo-acoustic datasets for the same animals. Full 360° BLI showed improved correlations with both volumes obtained from caliper measurements and photo-acoustic segmentation, as compared to planar BLI. We also determined segmented tumor volumes from photo-acoustic datasets more accurately reflects true excised tumors’ volumes compared to caliper measurements. Our results demonstrate the distinct advantages of both 360° surface mapping by BLI and photo-acoustic methodologies for non-invasive tracking of tumor growth in pre-clinical academic settings. Furthermore, our design is fully implementable in all top-mounted, single-detector imagers, thereby providing the opportunity to shift the paradigm away from planar BLI into rapid BLI tomography applications.

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Petrosyan T et al.

Rapid scanning wide-field clutter elimination in epi-optoacoustic imaging using comb LOVIT

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

Epi-style optoacoustic (OA) imaging provides flexibility by integrating the irradiation optics and ultrasound receiver, yet clutter generated by optical absorption near the probe obscures deep OA sources. Localised vibration tagging (LOVIT) retrieves OA signal from images that are acquired with and without a preceding ultrasonic pushing beam: Radiation force leads to a phase shift of signals coming from the focal area resulting in their visibility in a difference image, whereas clutter from outside the pushing beam is eliminated. Disadvantages of a single-focus approach are residual clutter from inside the pushing beam above the focus, and time-intensive scanning of the focus to retrieve a large field-of-view. To speed up acquisition, we propose to create multiple foci in parallel, forming comb-shaped ARF patterns. By subtracting OA images obtained with interleaved combs, this technique moreover results in greatly improved clutter reduction in phantoms mimicking optical, acoustic and elastic properties of breast tissue.

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Wang M et al.

Rational Design of Multifunctional Fe@γ-Fe2 O3 @H-TiO2 Nanocomposites with Enhanced Magnetic and Photoconversion Effects for Wide Applications: From Photocatalysis to Imaging-Guided Photothermal Cancer Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Titanium dioxide (TiO2 ) has been widely investigated and used in many areas due to its high refractive index and ultraviolet light absorption, but the lack of absorption in the visible-near infrared (Vis-NIR) region limits its application. Herein, multifunctional Fe@γ-Fe2 O3 @H-TiO2 nanocomposites (NCs) with multilayer-structure are synthesized by one-step hydrogen reduction, which show remarkably improved magnetic and photoconversion effects as a promising generalists for photocatalysis, bioimaging, and photothermal therapy (PTT). Hydrogenation is used to turn white TiO2 in to hydrogenated TiO2 (H-TiO2 ), thus improving the absorption in the Vis-NIR region. Based on the excellent solar-driven photocatalytic activities of the H-TiO2 shell, the Fe@γ-Fe2 O3 magnetic core is introduced to make it convenient for separating and recovering the catalytic agents. More importantly, Fe@γ-Fe2 O3 @H-TiO2 NCs show enhanced photothermal conversion efficiency due to more circuit loops for electron transitions between H-TiO2 and γ-Fe2 O3 , and the electronic structures of Fe@γ-Fe2 O3 @H-TiO2 NCs are calculated using the Vienna ab initio simulation package based on the density functional theory to account for the results. The reported core-shell NCs can serve as an NIR-responsive photothermal agent for magnetic-targeted photothermal therapy and as a multimodal imaging probe for cancer including infrared photothermal imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and photoacoustic imaging.

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Zheng H et al.

Tyrosinase-Based Reporter Gene for Photoacoustic Imaging of MicroRNA-9 Regulated by DNA Methylation in Living Subjects

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of negative regulators of gene expression and play critical roles in various biological processes. Conventional approaches for detecting miRNAs, such as northern blotting, microarray, and real-time PCR, usually require the lysis of cell samples and could not provide the in vivo information about miRNAs in living organisms. Here, we designed a tyrosinase (TYR)-based reporter to monitor miR-9 expression that is regulated by DNA methylation in living cells and animals. During DNA methylation of A549 cells treated by 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine (5-Aza-dC), the CMV/TYR-3xTS reporter-transfected cells demonstrated a gradual decrease in melanin content, TYR activity, and photoacoustic signal because of the gradual activation of miR-9 expression. The miR-9-regulated repression of TYR activity also resulted in a significant decrease in photoacoustic signal from the flank of mice with 5-Aza-dC treatment, whereas the bioluminescence signal from internal control had no obvious change. The TYR-based miRNA reporter may serve as a new imaging probe for monitoring the dynamic expression of miRNAs during various cellular or disease progression in cells and living animals.

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Sun T et al.

Second Near-Infrared Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticles for Photoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photothermal conversion in the second near-infrared (NIR-II) window allows deeper penetration and higher exposure to lasers, but examples of NIR-II photothermal agents are mainly formulated by inorganic compounds. In view of the underlying influence of inorganic materials, a novel NIR-II photothermal nanoagent based on a narrow band gap D-A conjugated polymer (TBDOPV-DT) with 2,2-bithiophene as the donor and thiophene-fused benzodifurandione-based oligo( p-phenylenevinylene) as the acceptor has been developed. More importantly, TBDOPV-DT nanoparticles (TBDOPV-DT NPs) are demonstrated to combine excellent photoacoustic imaging (PAI) and photothermal therapy (PTT) ability. TBDOPV-DT NPs exhibit dramatic photostability and heating reproducibility with a photothermal conversion efficiency of 50%. Especially, the NPs possess a remarkable PTT effect toward cancer cells in vitro and can eliminate tumor cells completely in vivo under 1064 nm laser irradiation, while no appreciable side effects have been observed. This study achieves PAI-guided cancer therapy and sheds light on the future of using organic polymer NPs for the NIR-II PTT of cancer.

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Hu DR et al.

Oxygen-generating Hybrid Polymeric Nanoparticles with Encapsulated Doxorubicin and Chlorin e6 for Trimodal Imaging-Guided Combined Chemo-Photodynamic Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

The combination of chemotherapy with photodynamic therapy (PDT) has attracted broad attention as it can overcome limitations of conventional chemo-treatment by using different modes of action. However, the efficacy of PDT to treat solid tumors is severely affected by hypoxia in tumors.

Methods : In this study, we developed oxygen-generating theranostic nanoparticles (CDM NPs) by hierarchically assembling doxorubicin (DOX), chlorin e6 (Ce6) and colloidal manganese dioxide (MnO2) with poly (ε-caprolactone-co-lactide)-b-poly (ethylene glycol)-b-poly (ε-caprolactone-co-lactide) for treating breast cancer. The in vitro and in vivo antitumor efficacy and imaging performance were investigated.

Results : The theranostic nanoparticles showed high stability and biocompatibility both in vitro and in vivo. MnO2 within the nanoparticles could trigger decomposition of excessive endogenous H2O2 in the tumor microenvironment to generate oxygen in-situ to relieve tumor hypoxia. With enhanced oxygen generation, the PDT effect was significantly improved under laser-irradiation. More importantly, this effect together with that of DOX was able to dramatically promote the combined chemotherapy-PDT efficacy of CDM NPs in an MCF-7 tumor-bearing mouse model. Furthermore, the real-time tumor accumulation of the nanocomposites could be monitored by fluorescence imaging, photoacoustic (PA) imaging and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Conclusion : The designed CDM NPs are expected to provide an alternative way of improving antitumor efficacy by combined chemo-PDT further enhanced by oxygen generation, and would have broad applications in cancer theranostics.

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Zhang S et al.

acancy engineering of Cu2−xSe nanoparticles with tunable LSPR and magnetism for dual-modal imaging guided photothermal therapy of cancer

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

The vacancies in the semiconductor nanocrystals not only induce unique properties, but also provide spaces for engineering them with multifunctions by the introduction of other elements. Herein, the vacancy of Cu2−xSe nanoparticles was tuned by doping with magnetic ferric ions (Fe3+) at room temperature, and the position and intensity of the near-infrared localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) in the resultant nanostructure can be finely controlled by altering the feeding amount of Fe3+ ions. The results of the density-functional theory (DFT) calculations show that both doping and replacement reactions are favourable. Owing to its tunable near-infrared absorption and magnetic property, the obtained hybrid nanostructure was demonstrated to be a novel nanotheranostic agent for effective deep-tissue photoacoustic imaging, magnetic resonance imaging, and photothermal therapy of cancer.

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Zhou P et al.

Photoacoustic-Enabled Self-Guidance in Magnetic-Hyperthermia Fe@Fe3 O4 Nanoparticles for Theranostics In Vivo

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Magnetic nanoparticles have gained much interest for theranostics benefited from their intrinsic integration of imaging and therapeutic abilities. Herein, c(RGDyK) peptide PEGylated Fe@Fe 3 O 4 nanoparticles (RGD-PEG-MNPs) are developed for photoacoustic (PA)-enabled self-guidance in tumor-targeting magnetic hyperthermia therapy in vivo. In the α v β 3 -positive U87MG glioblastoma xenograft model, the PA signal of RGD-PEG-MNPs reaches its maximum in the tumor at 6 h after intravenous administration. This signal is enhanced by 2.2-folds compared to that of the preinjection and is also 2.2 times higher than that in the blocking group. It demonstrates the excellent targeting property of RGD-PEG-MNPs. With the guidance of the PA, an effective magnetic hyperthermia to tumor is achieved using RGD-PEG-MNPs.

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Duffy MJ et al.

Towards optimized naphthalocyanines as sonochromes for photoacoustic imaging in vivo

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

In this paper we establish a methodology to predict photoacoustic imaging capabilities from the structure of absorber molecules (sonochromes). The comparative in vitro and in vivo screening of naphthalocyanines and cyanine dyes has shown a substitution pattern dependent shift in photoacoustic excitation wavelength, with distal substitution producing the preferred maximum around 800 nm. Central ion change showed variable production of photoacoustic signals, as well as singlet oxygen photoproduction and fluorescence with the optimum for photoacoustic imaging being nickel(II). Our approach paves the way for the design, evaluation and realization of optimized sonochromes as photoacoustic contrast agents.

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Tan L et al.

Renal-clearable quaternary chalcogenide nanocrystal for photoacoustic/magnetic resonance imaging guided tumor photothermal therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Ultrasmall Cu2ZnSnS4 (CZTS) nanocrystals with high near infrared (NIR) photothermal conversion abilities and peroxidase-mimic properties are synthesized and functionalized with bovine serum albumin (BSA) for rapid clearance multifunctional theranostic platform. Due to the presence of Cu (I) of CZTS@BSA, H2O2 could be decomposed to produce highly reactive oxygen species (ROS), catalyzed by intrinsic peroxidase like activity of CZTS. The CZTS@BSA possesses high NIR absorption and excellent photoacoustic (PA) imaging abilities. The as-prepared CZTS@BSA is also reported as an efficient T1 contrast agent for in vivo MR imaging. Therefore, in vivo distribution and rapid renal clearance of CZTS@BSA are successfully tracked by PA/MR dual-modal-imaging and further proved by ICP-MS analysis. Systemic acute toxicity evaluation indicates CZTS@BSA have good biocompatibility to normal tissues and blood. All results reveal that CZTS@BSA could act as a rapid clearance theranostic nanoplatform for dual-modal-imaging guided tumor PTT.

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Neuschmelting V et al.

WST11 Vascular Targeted Photodynamic Therapy Effect Monitoring by Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) in Mice

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Objective : Monitoring emerging vascular-targeted photodynamic therapy (VTP) and understanding the time-dynamics of treatment effects remains challenging. We interrogated whether handheld multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) could noninvasively monitor the effect of VTP using WST11, a vascular-acting photosensitizer, on tumor tissues over time using a renal cell cancer mouse model. We also investigated whether MSOT illumination can induce VTP, to implement a single-modality theranostic approach. Materials and Methods : Eight BalB/c mice were subcutaneously implanted with murine renal adenocarcinoma cells (RENCA) on the flank. Three weeks later VTP was performed (10 min continuous illumination at 753 nm following intravenous infusion using WST11 or saline as control. Handheld MSOT images were collected prior to VTP administration and subsequently thereafter over the course of the first hour, at 24 and 48 h. Data collected were unmixed for blood oxygen saturation in tissue (SO2) based on the spectral signatures of deoxy- and oxygenated hemoglobin. Changes in oxygen saturation over time, relative to baseline, were examined by paired t-test for statistical significance (p < 0.05). In-vivo findings were corroborated by histological analyses of the tumor tissue. Results : MSOT is shown to prominently resolve changes in oxygen saturation in tumors within the first 20 min post WST11-VTP treatment. Within the first hour post-treatment, SO2 decreased by more than 60% over baseline (p < 0.05), whereas it remained unchanged (p > 0.1) in the sham-treated group. Moreover, unlike in the control group, SO2 in treated tumors further decreased over the course of 24 to 48 h post-treatment, concomitant with the propagation of profound central tumor necrosis present in histological analysis. We further show that pulsed MSOT illumination can activate WST11 as efficiently as the continuous wave irradiation employed for treatment. Conclusion : Handheld MSOT non-invasively monitored WST11-VTP effects based on the SO2 signal and detected blood saturation changes within the first 20 min post-treatment. MSOT may potentially serve as a means for both VTP induction and real-time VTP monitoring in a theranostic approach.

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Dey S et al.

The vascular disrupting agent combretastatin A-4 phosphate causes prolonged elevation of proteins involved in heme flux and function in resistant tumor cells

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Vascular disrupting agents (VDAs) represent a promising class of anti-cancer drugs for solid tumor treatment. Here, we aim to better understand the mechanisms underlying tumor reccurrence and treatment resistance following the administration of a VDA, combretastatin A-4 phosphate (CA4P). Firstly, we used photoacoustic tomography to noninvasively map the effect of CA4P on blood oxygen levels throughout subcutaneous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors in mice. We found that the oxygenation of peripheral tumor vessels was significantly decreased at 1 and 3 hours post-CA4P treatment. The oxygenation of the tumor core reduced significantly at 1 and 3 hours, and reached anoxia after 24 hours. Secondly, we examined the effect of CA4P on the levels of proteins involved in heme flux and function, which are elevated in lung tumors. Using immunohistochemistry, we found that CA4P substantially enhanced the levels of enzymes involved in heme biosynthesis, uptake, and degradation, as well as oxygen-utilizing hemoproteins. Furthermore, measurements of markers of mitochondrial function suggest that CA4P did not diminish mitochondrial function in resistant tumor cells. These results suggest that elevated levels of heme flux and function contribute to tumor regrowth and treatment resistance post-VDA administration.

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Napp J et al.

Fluorescence- and multispectral optoacoustic imaging for an optimized detection of deeply located tumors in an orthotopic mouse model of pancreatic carcinoma

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

A crucial point for the management of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the decrease of R1 resections. Our aim was to evaluate the combination of multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) with fluorescence guided surgery (FGS) for diagnosis and perioperative detection of tumor nodules and resection margins in a xenotransplant mouse model of human pancreatic cancer. The peptide cRGD, conjugated with the near infrared fluorescent (NIRF) dye IRDye800CW and with a trans-cyclooctene (TCO) tag for future click chemistry (cRGD-800CW-TCO), was applied to PDAC bearing immunodeficient nude mice; 27 days after orthotopic transplantation of human AsPC-1 cells into the head of the pancreas, mice were injected with cRGD-800CW-TCO and imaged with fluorescence- and optoacoustic devices before and 2, 6 and 24 hr after injection, before they were sacrificed and dissected with a guidance of FGS imaging system. Fluorescence imaging of cRGD-800CW-TCO allowed detection of the tumor area but without information about the depth, whereas MSOT allowed high resolution 3 D identification of the tumor area, in particular of small tumor nodules. Highly sensitive delineation of tumor burden was achieved during FGS in all mice. Imaging of whole-mouse cryosections, histopathological analysis and NIRF microscopy confirmed the localization of cRGD-800CW-TCO within the tumor tissue. In principle, all imaging modalities applied here were able to detect PDAC in vivo. However, the combination of MSOT and FGS provided detailed spatial information of the signal and achieved a complete overview of the distribution and localization of cRGD-800CW-TCO within the tumor before and during surgical intervention.

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Yang Q et al.

Porous Au@Pt Nanoparticles: Therapeutic Platform for Tumor Chemo-Photothermal Co-Therapy and Alleviating Doxorubicin-Induced Oxidative Damage

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Nanoparticle-based systems explore not only the delivery efficacy of drugs or contrast agents, but also additional capabilities like reducing the systemic toxicity, especially during cancer chemotherapy. Since some of the noble metal nanoparticles exhibit the catalysis properties which can scavenge the reactive oxygen species (ROS), they can be used as a promising drug delivery platform for reducing the oxidative stress damage in normal tissues caused by some chemotherapy drugs. Herein, in this study, we construct porous Au@Pt nanoparticles and further explore the properties of porous Au@Pt nanoparticles in relieving the oxidative stress damage as well as in tumor growth inhibition by chemo-photothermal co-therapy. The tunable surface pore structure of Au@Pt nanoparticle provides space for Doxorubicin (DOX) loading. cRGD peptide modification enable the DOX-loaded Au@Pt nanoparticles to improve drug delivery properties. The constructed nanocarrier (DOX/Au@Pt-cRGD) shows controlled drug release behavior. Meanwhile, the absorbance peak of the Au@Pt structure in the near-infrared (NIR) portion provides the capacity for in vivo photoacoustic imaging and the high photoconversion efficiency, which make Au@Pt nanoparticle a suitable carrier for photothermal therapy (PTT). Combined with chemotherapy, the nanosystem DOX/Au@Pt-cRGD shows enhanced anticancer therapeutic effects. More importantly, ROS-scavenging activity of Au@Pt alleviates the DOX-induced oxidative stress damage, especially the cardiomyopathy during chemotherapy. Herein, this nanosystem DOX/Au@Pt-cRGD could be explored as reactive oxygen scavenger and drug delivery system for side effects relieving chemo-photothermal combinational therapy.

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Stylogiannis A et al.

Continuous wave laser diodes enable fast optoacoustic imaging

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

Pulsed laser diodes may offer a smaller, less expensive alternative to conventional optoacoustic laser sources; however they do not provide pulse rates faster than a few tens of kHz and emit at wavelengths only within the near-infrared region. We investigated whether continuous wave (CW) laser diodes, which are available in visible and near-infrared regions, can be good optoacoustic light sources when overdriven with a peak current >40-fold higher than the CW absolute maximum. We found that overdriven CW diodes provided ∼10 ns pulses of ∼200 nJ/pulse and repetition rates higher than 600 kHz without being damaged, outperforming many pulsed laser diodes. Using this system, we obtained images of phantoms and mouse ear and human arm in vivo, confirming their use in optoacoustic imaging and sensing.

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Ovsepian SV et al.

Pushing the Boundaries of Neuroimaging with Optoacoustics

NeuroPreclinicalMSOT

With the central ability to visualize a variety of endogenous chromophores and biomarkers or exogenous contrast agents, optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging empowers new experimental capabilities for investigating brain mechanisms and functions. Here, the operational principles of optoacoustic neuroimaging are reviewed in conjunction with recent advances enabling high-resolution and real-time observation, which extend beyond the reach of optical imaging methods. Multiple implementations of optoacoustics for monitoring hemodynamics and neuro-vascular responses in the brain are showcased. The unique capabilities of optoacoustic imaging for multi-spectral cellular and molecular sensing are discussed with reference to recent application for visualizing healthy and diseased brains. Outstanding challenges in the field are considered in the context of current and future applications of optoacoustic neuroimaging for basic and translational neuroscience research. In pushing the boundaries of brain imaging, optoacoustic methods afford major insights into the neuronal mechanisms of brain functions and organization of behavior.

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Zhang M et al.

Precise synthesis of unique polydopamine/mesoporous calcium phosphate hollow Janus nanoparticles for imaging-guided chemo-photothermal synergistic therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Multifunctional polymer–inorganic Janus nanoparticles (JNPs) that simultaneously have therapeutic and imaging functions are highly desired in biomedical applications. Here, we fabricated spherical polydopamine/mesoporous calcium phosphate hollow JNPs (PDA/mCaP H-JNPs) via a novel and facile approach. The obtained PDA/mCaP H-JNPs were further selectively functionalized with indocyanine green (ICG) and methoxy-poly(ethylene glycol)thiol (PEG-SH) on PDA domains to achieve a superior photoacoustic (PA) imaging capability and stability, while the other mCaP sides with hollow cavities served as storage spaces and passages for the anti-cancer drug, doxorubicin (DOX). The resultant PEG–ICG–PDA/mCaP H-JNPs possess excellent biocompatibility, a competent drug loading capability, high photothermal conversion efficiency, strong near-infrared (NIR) absorbance, and pH/NIR dual-responsive properties, enabling the H-JNPs to be applied for PA imaging-guided synergistic cancer chemo-phototherapy in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, the synthetic approach could be extended to prepare PDA/various mesoporous inorganic H-JNPs with spherical shapes for specific applications.

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Chen L et al.

Biodegradable Nanoagents with Short Biological Half-Life for SPECT/PAI/MRI Multimodality Imaging and PTT Therapy of Tumors

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Rapid clearance of nanoagents is a critical criterion for their clinical translation. Herein, it is reported that biodegradable and renal clearable nanoparticles are potentially useful for image-guided photothermal therapy of tumors. The multifunctional nanoparticles with excellent colloidal stability are synthesized through coordination reactions between Fe3+ ions and gallic acid (GA)/polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) in aqueous solution. Detailed characterization reveals that the resulting Fe3+ /GA/PVP complex nanoparticles (FGPNs) integrate strong near-infrared absorption with paramagnetism well. As a result, the FGPNs present outstanding performance for photoacoustic imaging and magnetic resonance imaging of tumors, and outstanding photothermal ablation effect for tumor therapy owing to their high photothermal conversion efficiency. More importantly, the pharmacokinetic behaviors of the FGPNs determined through 125 I labeling suggest that the FGPNs are readily degraded in vivo showing a short biological half-life, and the decomposition products are excreted through either renal clearance pathway or bowel elimination pathway via stomach, which highlights the characteristics of the current multifunctional theranostic agent and their potential in clinical translation.

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Dong L et al.

Multifunctional Cu-Ag2S nanoparticles with high photothermal conversion efficiency for photoacoustic imaging-guided photothermal therapy in vivo

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photothermal therapy (PTT) has attracted increasing interest and become widely used in cancer therapy owing to its noninvasiveness and low level of systemic adverse effects. However, there is an urgent need to develop biocompatible and multifunctional PTT agents with high photothermal conversion efficiency. Herein, biocompatible Cu-Ag2S/PVP nanoparticles (NPs) with strong near-infrared absorption and high photothermal conversion efficiency were successfully synthesized for high-performance photoacoustic (PA) imaging-guided PTT in vivo. The novel Cu-Ag2S/PVP NPs feature high photothermal conversion efficiency (58.2%) under 808 nm light irradiation, noticeably higher than those of most reported PTT agents. Because of their good dispersibility, Cu-Ag2S/PVP NPs passively accumulate within tumors via the enhanced permeability and retention effect, which can be confirmed by PA imaging, photothermal performance, and biodistribution in vivo. Furthermore, Cu-Ag2S/PVP NPs are thoroughly cleared through feces and urine within seven days, indicating a high level of biosafety for further potential clinical translation.

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Ke K et al.

Copper Manganese Sulfide Nanoplates: A New Two-Dimensional Theranostic Nanoplatform for MRI/MSOT Dual-Modal Imaging-Guided Photothermal Therapy in the Second Near-Infrared Window

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Multifunctional nanoplatforms with integrated diagnostic and therapeutic functions have attracted tremendous attention. Especially, the second near-infrared (NIR-II) light response-based nanoplatforms hold great potential in cancer theranostic applications, which is because the NIR-II window provides larger tissue penetration depth and higher maximum permissible exposure (MPE) than that of the well-studied first near-infrared (NIR-I) window. Herein, we for the first time present a two-dimensional (2D)-nanoplatform based on Cu2MnS2 nanoplates (NPs) for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) dual-modal imaging-guided photothermal therapy (PTT) of cancer in the NIR-II window. Methods: Cu2MnS2 NPs were synthesized through a facile and environmentally friendly process. A series of experiments, including the characterization of Cu2MnS2 NPs, the long-term toxicity of Cu2MnS2 NPs in BALB/c nude mice, the applications of Cu2MnS2 NPs for in vitro and in vivo MRI/MSOT dual-modal imaging and NIR-II PTT of cancer were carried out. Results: The as-synthesized Cu2MnS2 NPs exhibit low cytotoxicity, excellent biocompatibility as well as high photothermal conversion efficiency (~49.38%) and outstanding photostability. Together with their good T1-shortening effect and strong absorbance in the NIR-I and NIR-II region, the Cu2MnS2 NPs display high-contrast imaging performance both in MRI and MSOT (900 nm laser source). Moreover, the subsequent in vitro and in vivo results demonstrate that the Cu2MnS2 NPs possess excellent PTT efficacy under 1064 nm laser irradiation with a low power density (0.6 W cm-2). In addition, the detailed long-term toxicity studies further confirming the safety of Cu2MnS2 NPs in vivo. Conclusion: We have developed a new 2D Cu2MnS2 NPs as multifunctional theranostic agents for MRI/MSOT dual-modal imaging-guided PTT of cancer in the NIR-II window. Such biocompatible Cu2MnS2 NPs might provide a new perspective for exploring new 2D-based nanoplatforms with improved properties for clinical applications in the future.

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Guo Z et al.

Synthesis of BSA‐Coated BiOI@Bi2S3 Semiconductor Heterojunction Nanoparticles and Their Applications for Radio/Photodynamic/Photothermal Synergistic Therapy of Tumor

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Developing an effective theranostic nanoplatform remains a great challenge for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Here, BiOI@Bi2S3@BSA (bovine serum albumin) semiconductor heterojunction nanoparticles (SHNPs) for triple‐combination radio/photodynamic/photothermal cancer therapy and multimodal computed tomography/photoacoustic (CT/PA) bioimaging are reported. On the one hand, SHNPs possess strong X‐ray attenuation capability since they contain high‐Z elements, and thus they are anticipated to be a very competent candidate as radio‐sensitizing materials for radiotherapy enhancement. On the other hand, as a semiconductor, the as‐prepared SHNPs offer an extra approach for reactive oxygen species generation based on electron–hole pair under the irradiation of X‐ray through the photodynamic therapy process. This X‐ray excited photodynamic therapy obviously has better penetration depth in bio‐tissue. What’s more, the SHNPs also possess well photothermal conversion efficiency for photothermal therapy, because Bi2S3 is a thin band semiconductor with strong near‐infrared absorption that can cause local overheat. In vivo tumor ablation studies show that synergistic radio/photodynamic/photothermal therapy achieves more significant therapeutic effect than any single treatment. In addition, with the strong X‐ray attenuation and high near‐infrared absorption, the as‐obtained SHNPs can also be applied as a multimodal contrast agent in CT/PA imaging.

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Joseph J et al.

Distance dependent photoacoustics revealed through DNA nanostructures

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Molecular rulers that rely on the Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) mechanism are widely used to investigate dynamic molecular processes that occur on the nanometer scale. However, the capabilities of these fluorescence molecular rulers are fundamentally limited to shallow imaging depths by light scattering in biological samples. Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) has recently emerged as a high resolution modality for in vivo imaging, coupling optical excitation with ultrasound detection. In this paper, we report the capability of PAT to probe distance-dependent FRET at centimeter depths. Using DNA nanotechnology we created several nanostructures with precisely positioned fluorophore–quencher pairs over a range of nanoscale separation distances. PAT of the DNA nanostructures showed distance-dependent photoacoustic signal enhancement and demonstrated the ability of PAT to reveal the FRET process deep within tissue mimicking phantoms. Further, we experimentally validated these DNA nanostructures as a novel and biocompatible strategy to augment the intrinsic photoacoustic signal generation capabilities of small molecule fluorescent dyes.

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Chen Z et al.

Hybrid system for in vivo epifluorescence and 4D optoacoustic imaging

NeuroPreclinicalMSOT

Epifluorescence imaging is widely used in cell and molecular biology due to its excellent sensitivity, contrast, and ease of implementation. Optoacoustic imaging has been shown to deliver a highly complementary and unique set of capabilities for biological discovery, such as high spatial resolution in noninvasive deep tissue observations, fast volumetric imaging capacity, and spectrally enriched contrast. In this Letter, we report on a hybrid system combining planar fluorescence and real-time volumetric four-dimensional optoacoustic imaging by means of a fiberscope integrated within a handheld hemispherical ultrasound detection array. The in vivo imaging performance is demonstrated by non-invasive visualization of fast contrast agent perfusion through the mouse brain. The proposed synergistic combination of fluorescence and optoacoustic imaging can benefit numerous studies looking at multi-scale in vivo dynamics, such as functional neuroimaging, visualization of organ perfusion and contrast agent uptake, cell tracking, and pharmacokinetic and bio-distribution analysis.

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Lin HA et al.

Characterization of Cardiac Dynamics in an Acute Myocardial Infarction Model by Four-Dimensional Optoacoustic and Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Extraction of murine cardiac functional parameters on a beat-by-beat basis is limited with the existing imaging modalities due to insufficient three-dimensional temporal resolution. Faster volumetric imaging methods enabling in vivo characterization of functional parameters are poised to advance cardiovascular research and provide a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying cardiac diseases. We present a new approach based on analyzing contrast-enhanced optoacoustic (OA) images acquired at high volumetric frame rate without using cardiac gating or other approaches for motion correction. We apply an acute murine myocardial infarction model optimized for acquisition of artifact-free optoacoustic imaging data to study cardiovascular hemodynamics. Infarcted hearts (n = 21) could be clearly differentiated from healthy controls (n = 9) based on a significantly higher pulmonary transit time (PTT) (2.25 [2.00-2.41] s versus 1.34 [1.25-1.67] s, p = 0.0235), while no statistically significant difference was observed in the heart rate (318 [252-361] bpm versus 264 [252-320] bpm, p = 0.3129). Nevertheless, nonlinear heartbeat dynamics was stronger in the healthy hearts, as evidenced by the third harmonic component in the heartbeat spectra. MRI data acquired from the same mice further revealed that the PTT increases with the size of infarction and similarly increases with reduced ejection fraction. Moreover, an inverse relationship between infarct PTT and time post-surgery was found, which suggests the occurrence of cardiac healing. In combination with the proven ability of optoacoustics to track targeted probes within the injured myocardium, our method can depict cardiac anatomy, function, and molecular signatures, with both high spatial and temporal resolution. Volumetric four-dimensional optoacoustic characterization of cardiac dynamics with supreme temporal resolution can capture cardiovascular dynamics on a beat-by-beat basis in mouse models of myocardial ischemia.

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Roberts S et al.

Calcium Sensor for Photoacoustic Imaging

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

We introduce a selective and cell-permeable calcium sensor for photoacoustics (CaSPA), a versatile imaging technique that allows for fast volumetric mapping of photoabsorbing molecules with deep tissue penetration. To optimize for Ca2+-dependent photoacoustic signal changes, we synthesized a selective metallochromic sensor with high extinction coefficient, low quantum yield, and high photobleaching resistance. Micromolar concentrations of Ca2+ lead to a robust blueshift of the absorbance of CaSPA, which translated into an accompanying decrease of the peak photoacoustic signal. The acetoxymethyl esterified sensor variant was readily taken up by cells without toxic effects and thus allowed us for the first time to perform live imaging of Ca2+ fluxes in genetically unmodified cells and heart organoids as well as in zebrafish larval brain via combined fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging.

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Li D et al.

Investigating the Effect of Chemical Structure of Semiconducting Polymer Nanoparticle on Photothermal Therapy and Photoacoustic Imaging

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

The donor-acceptor semiconducting polymers (SPs) have robust absorbance in near-infrared (NIR) region, great photostability, high photothermal conversion efficiency, and good biocompatibility. Thus, the SPs exhibit great potentials for photothermal therapy (PTT) and photoacoustic imaging (PAI). However, poor understanding of the underlying mechanisms and the correlation between the SP polymer chemical structures and their performances of PTT and PAI have significantly hindered their biomedical application. Herein, a series of acceptor-π-acceptor type (A1-π-A2) type SPs were synthesized. The diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) and thiophene are used as A1 electron accepting block and π-bridge, and the chemical structure of A2 unit was variable. The SPs were formulated into PEGylated nanoparticles, which ensured these SP-based nanoparticles (SP@NPs) exhibited similar size, shape, and physiological stability. Thus, the chemical structure of A2 unit was the only variable. The effects of the SP chemical structures are carefully and comprehensively evaluated through both in vitro and in vivo experiments. Our results demonstrated the chemical structure of A2 unit simultaneously impact their absorption spectra and photothermal (PT) conversion efficiency, which finally determined their PTT and PAI performances. Among these A2 acceptors, thieno[3,2-b]thiophene (TT) unit exhibited the best in vitro and in vivo anticancer efficacies and PAI performances. This study not only provides molecular insights into the design of efficient SPs for PTT and PAI but also highlights the flexibility and potential of SP@NPs for biomedical application. Thus, SP@NPs can act as a versatile nanoplatform for the development of novel light intensive imaging and therapeutic approaches.

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Cheng X et al.

Enhanced Radiotherapy using Bismuth Sulfide Nanoagents Combined with Photo-thermal Treatment

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Nanotechniques that can improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy (RT) by integrating it with multimodal imaging are highly desirable. Results In this study, we fabricated Bi2S3 nanorods that have attractive features such as their ability to function as contrast agents for X-ray computed tomography (CT) and photoacoustic (PA) imaging as well as good biocompatibility. Both in vitro and in vivo studies confirmed that the Bi2S3 nanoagents could potentiate the lethal effects of radiation via amplifying the local radiation dose and enhancing the anti-tumor efficacy of RT by augmenting the photo-thermal effect. Furthermore, the nanoagent-mediated hyperthermia could effectively increase the oxygen concentration in hypoxic regions thereby inhibiting the expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF-1α). This, in turn, interfered with DNA repair via decreasing the expression of DNA repair-related proteins to overcome radio-resistance. Also, RT combined with nanoagent-mediated hyperthermia could substantially suppress tumor metastasis via down-regulating angiogenic factors. Conclusion In summary, we constructed a single-component powerful nanoagent for CT/PA imaging-guided tumor radiotherapy and, most importantly, explored the potential mechanisms of nanoagent-mediated photo-thermal treatment for enhancing the efficacy of RT in a synergistic manner. Keywords : multimodal imaging, radiation therapy, hypoxia, DNA repair, synergistic therapy.

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Diot G et al.

Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) of Human Breast Cancer

Breast CancerClinicalMSOT

Purpose : In a pilot study, we introduce fast handheld multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) of the breast at 28 wavelengths, aiming to identify high-resolution optoacoustic (photoacoustic) patterns of breast cancer and noncancerous breast tissue. Experimental Design : We imaged 10 female patients ages 48-81 years with malignant nonspecific breast cancer or invasive lobular carcinoma. Three healthy volunteers ages 31-36 years were also imaged. Fast-MSOT was based on unique single-frame-per-pulse (SFPP) image acquisition employed to improve the accuracy of spectral differentiation over using a small number of wavelengths. Breast tissue was illuminated at the 700-970 nm spectral range over 0.56 seconds total scan time. MSOT data were guided by ultrasonography and X-ray mammography or MRI. Results : The extended spectral range allowed the computation of oxygenated hemoglobin (HBO2), deoxygenated hemoglobin (HB), total blood volume (TBV), lipid, and water contributions, allowing first insights into in vivo high-resolution breast tissue MSOT cancer patterns. TBV and Hb/HBO2 images resolved marked differences between cancer and control tissue, manifested as a vessel-rich tumor periphery with highly heterogeneous spatial appearance compared with healthy tissue. We observe significant TBV variations between different tumors and between tumors over healthy tissues. Water and fat lipid layers appear disrupted in cancer versus healthy tissue; however, offer weaker contrast compared with TBV images. Conclusions : In contrast to optical methods, MSOT resolves physiologic cancer features with high resolution and revealed patterns not offered by other radiologic modalities. The new features relate to personalized and precision medicine potential.

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Shah A et al.

Value of combining dynamic contrast enhanced ultrasound and optoacoustic tomography for hypoxia imaging

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Optoacoustic imaging (OAI) can detect haemoglobin and assess its oxygenation. However, the lack of a haemoglobin signal need not indicate a lack of perfusion. This study uses a novel method to assist the co-registration of optoacoustic images with dynamic contrast enhanced ultrasound (DCE-US) images to demonstrate, in preclinical tumour models, the value of combining haemoglobin imaging with a perfusion imaging method, showing that a lack of a haemoglobin signal does not necessarily indicate an absence of perfusion. DCE-US was chosen for this particular experiment because US is extremely sensitive to microbubble contrast agents and because microbubbles, like red blood cells but unlike currently available optical contrast agents, do not extravasate. Significant spatial correlations were revealed between the DCE-US properties and tumour blood-oxygen saturation and haemoglobin, as estimated using OAI. It is speculated that DCE-US properties could be applied as surrogate biomarkers for hypoxia when planning clinical radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

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Schwarz M et al.

Motion correction in optoacoustic mesoscopy

TechnologyPreclinicalClinicalRSOM

Raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM), also termed photoacoustic mesoscopy, offers novel insights into vascular morphology and pathophysiological biomarkers of skin inflammation in vivo at depths unattainable by other optical imaging methods. Using ultra-wideband detection and focused ultrasound transducers, RSOM can achieve axial resolution of 4 micron and lateral resolution of 20 micron to depths of several millimeters. However, motion effects may deteriorate performance and reduce the effective resolution. To provide high-quality optoacoustic images in clinical measurements, we developed a motion correction algorithm for RSOM. The algorithm is based on observing disruptions of the ultrasound wave front generated by the vertical movement of the melanin layer at the skin surface. From the disrupted skin surface, a smooth synthetic surface is generated, and the offset between the two surfaces is used to correct for the relative position of the ultrasound detector. We test the algorithm in measurements of healthy and psoriatic human skin and achieve effective resolution up to 5-fold higher than before correction. We discuss the performance of the correction algorithm and its implications in the context of multispectral mesoscopy.

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Mason RP

Oxygen breathing challenge- the simplest theranostic

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Multispectral optoacoustic tomography provides insights into tumor vascular oxygenation with high temporal and spatial resolution non-invasively. New work indicates that a simple oxygen breathing challenge can reveal differences in tumor, potentially as a prognostic biomarker.

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Ju Y et al.

Monodisperse Au-Fe2C Janus Nanoparticles: An Attractive Multifunctional Material for Triple-Modal Imaging-Guided Tumor Photothermal Therapy

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Imaging-guided photothermal therapy (PTT) by combination of imaging and PTT has been emerging as a promising therapeutic method for precision therapy. However, the development of multicomponent nanoplatforms with stable structures for both PTT and multiple-model imaging remains a great challenge. Herein, we synthesized monodisperse Au-Fe2C Janus nanoparticles (JNPs) of 12 nm, which are multifunctional entities for cancer theranostics. Due to the broad absorption in the near-infrared range, Au-Fe2C JNPs showed a significant photothermal effect with a 30.2% calculated photothermal transduction efficiency under 808 nm laser irradiation in vitro. Owing to their excellent optical and magnetic properties, Au-Fe2C JNPs were demonstrated to be advantageous agents for triple-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)/multispectral photoacoustic tomography (MSOT)/computed tomography (CT) both in vitro and in vivo. We found that Au-Fe2C JNPs conjugated with the affibody (Au-Fe2C-ZHER2:342) have more accumulation and deeper penetration in tumor sites than nontargeting JNPs (Au-Fe2C-PEG) in vivo. Meanwhile, our results verified that Au-Fe2C-ZHER2:342 JNPs can selectively target tumor cells with low cytotoxicity and ablate tumor tissues effectively in a mouse model. In summary, monodisperse Au-Fe2C JNPs, used as a multifunctional nanoplatform, allow the combination of multiple-model imaging techniques and high therapeutic efficacy and have great potential for precision theranostic nanomedicines.

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Landa FJO et al.

Volumetric Optoacoustic Temperature Mapping in Photothermal Therapy

TechnologyPreclinicalClinicalMSOT

Photothermal therapy and ablation are commonplace medical procedures employed for treatment of tumors, vascular and brain abnormalities as well as other disorders that require selective destruction of tissues. Yet, accurate mapping of the dynamic temperature field distribution in the treated region represents an unmet clinical need, strongly affecting the clinical outcome of these interventions. We introduce a fast three-dimensional temperature mapping method based on real-time optoacoustic sensing of the treated region coupled with a thermal-diffusion-based model of heat distribution in tissues. Deviations of the optoacoustic temperature readings provided at 40  ms intervals remained below 10% in tissue-mimicking phantom experiments for temperature elevations above 3 °C, as validated by simultaneous thermocouple measurements. Performance of the new method to dynamically estimate the volumetric temperature distribution was further showcased in post-mortem mouse imaging experiments. The newly discovered capacity to non-invasively measure the temperature map in an entire treated volume with both high spatial and temporal resolutions holds potential for improving safety and efficacy of light-based therapeutic interventions.

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Xiao W et al.

Normalizing Tumor Vessels To Increase the Enzyme-Induced Retention and Targeting of Gold Nanoparticle for Breast Cancer Imaging and Treatment

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Abnormal tumor vessels impede the transport and distribution of chemotherapeutics, resulting in low drug concentration at tumor sites and compromised drug efficacy. Normalizing tumor vessels can modulate tumor vascular permeability, alleviate tumor hypoxia, increase blood perfusion, attenuate interstitial fluid pressure, and improve drug delivery. Herein, a novel strategy combining cediranib, a tumor vessel normalizing agent, with an enzyme responsive size-changeable gold nanoparticle (AuNPs-A&C) was developed. In vivo photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging showed that oral pretreatment with 6 mg/kg/day of cediranib for two consecutive days significantly enhanced the retention of AuNPs-A&C in 4T1 tumor. In vivo photoacoustic imaging for hemoglobin (Hb) and oxyhemoglobin (HbO2), Evans blue assay, and immunofluorescence assay showed that cediranib pretreatment markedly increased tumor vascular permeability and tumor oxygenation, while distinctly decreased the tumor microvessel density, demonstrating normalized tumor vessels and favorably altered microenvironment. Additionally, the combination strategy considerably elevated the tumor targeting capacity of different nanoparticle formulations (AuNPs-PEG, AuNPs-A&C), while coadministration of cediranib and AuNPs-A&C achieved prevailing tumor targeting and antitumor efficacy in 4T1 tumor bearing mouse model. In conclusion, we report a novel combined administration strategy to further improve tumor diagnosis and treatment.

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Xie B et al.

Optoacoustic Detection of Early Therapy-Induced Tumor Cell Death Using a Targeted Imaging Agent

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Purpose : The development of new treatments and their deployment in the clinic may be assisted by imaging methods that allow an early assessment of treatment response in individual patients. The C2A domain of Synaptotagmin-I (C2Am), which binds to the phosphatidylserine (PS) exposed by apoptotic and necrotic cells, has been developed as an imaging probe for detecting cell death. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) is a real-time and clinically applicable imaging modality that was used here with a near infrared (NIR) fluorophore-labeled C2Am to image tumor cell death in mice treated with a TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor 2 (TRAILR2) agonist and with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Experimental Design : C2Am was labeled with a NIR fluorophore and injected intravenously into mice bearing human colorectal TRAIL-sensitive Colo205 and TRAIL-resistant HT-29 xenografts that had been treated with a potent agonist of TRAILR2 and in Colo205 tumors treated with 5-FU. Results : Three-dimensional (3D) MSOT images of probe distribution showed development of tumor contrast within 3 hours of probe administration and a signal-to-background ratio in regions containing dead cells of >10 after 24 hours. A site-directed mutant of C2Am that is inactive in PS binding showed negligible binding. Tumor retention of the active probe was strongly correlated (R2 = 0.97, P value < 0.01) with a marker of apoptotic cell death measured in histologic sections obtained post mortem. Conclusions : The rapid development of relatively high levels of contrast suggests that NIR fluorophore-labeled C2Am could be a useful optoacoustic imaging probe for detecting early therapy-induced tumor cell death in the clinic.

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Shah A et al.

Detecting human melanoma cell re-differentiation following BRAF or heat shock protein 90 inhibition using photoacoustic and magnetic resonance imaging

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Targeted therapies specific to the BRAF-MEK-ERK signaling pathway have shown great promise in the treatment of malignant melanoma in the last few years, with these drugs now commonly used in clinic. Melanoma cells treated using these agents are known to exhibit increased levels of melanin pigment and tyrosinase activity. In this study we assessed the potential of non-invasive imaging approaches (photoacoustic imaging (PAI) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)) to detect melanin induction in SKMEL28 human melanoma cells, following inhibition of Hsp90 and BRAF signaling using 17-AAG and vemurafenib, respectively. We confirmed, using western blot and spectrophotometry, that Hsp90 or BRAF inhibitor-induced melanoma cell differentiation resulted in an upregulation of tyrosinase and melanin expression levels, in comparison to control cells. This post-treatment increase in cellular pigmentation induced a significant increase in PAI signals that are spectrally identifiable and shortening of the MRI relaxation times T 1 and [Formula: see text]. This proof-of-concept study demonstrates the potential of MRI and PAI for detecting the downstream cellular changes induced by Hsp90 and BRAF-MEK-targeted therapies in melanoma cells with potential significance for in vivo imaging.

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Becker A et al.

Multispectral optoacoustic tomography of the human breast: characterisation of healthy tissue and malignant lesions using a hybrid ultrasound-optoacoustic approach

Breast CancerClinicalMSOT

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) represents a new in vivo imaging technique with high resolution (~250 μm) and tissue penetration (>1 cm) using the photoacoustic effect. While ultrasound contains anatomical information for lesion detection, MSOT provides functional information based on intrinsic tissue chromophores. We aimed to evaluate the feasibility of combined ultrasound/MSOT imaging of breast cancer in patients compared to healthy volunteers.

METHODS: Imaging was performed using a handheld MSOT system for clinical use in healthy volunteers (n = 6) and representative patients with histologically confirmed invasive breast carcinoma (n = 5) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS, n = 2). MSOT values for haemoglobin and oxygen saturation were assessed at 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 cm depth and selected wavelengths between 700 and 850 nm.

RESULTS: Reproducible signals were obtained in all wavelengths with consistent MSOT signals in superficial tissue in breasts of healthy individuals. In contrast, we found increased signals for haemoglobin in invasive carcinoma, suggesting a higher perfusion of the tumour and tumour environment. For DCIS, MSOT values showed only little variation compared to healthy tissue.

CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary MSOT breast imaging study provided stable, reproducible data on tissue composition and physiological properties, potentially enabling differentiation of solid malignant and healthy tissue.

KEY POINTS: • A handheld MSOT probe enables real-time molecular imaging of the breast. • MSOT of healthy controls provides a reproducible reference for pathology identification. • MSOT parameters allows for differentiation of invasive carcinoma and healthy tissue

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Brillant N et al.

Dynamic and accurate assessment of acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity by integrated photoacoustic imaging and mechanistic biomarkers in vivo

PharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

The prediction and understanding of acetaminophen (APAP)-induced liver injury (APAP-ILI) and the response to therapeutic interventions is complex. This is due in part to sensitivity and specificity limitations of currently used assessment techniques. Here we sought to determine the utility of integrating translational non-invasive photoacoustic imaging of liver function with mechanistic circulating biomarkers of hepatotoxicity with histological assessment to facilitate the more accurate and precise characterization of APAP-ILI and the efficacy of therapeutic intervention. Perturbation of liver function and cellular viability was assessed in C57BL/6J male mice by Indocyanine green (ICG) clearance (Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT)) and by measurement of mechanistic (miR-122, HMGB1) and established (ALT, bilirubin) circulating biomarkers in response to the acetaminophen and its treatment with acetylcysteine (NAC) in vivo. We utilised a 60% partial hepatectomy model as a situation of defined hepatic functional mass loss to compared acetaminophen-induced changes to. Integration of these mechanistic markers correlated with histological features of APAP hepatotoxicity in a time-dependent manner. They accurately reflected the onset and recovery from hepatotoxicity compared to traditional biomarkers and also reported the efficacy of NAC with high sensitivity. ICG clearance kinetics correlated with histological scores for acute liver damage for APAP (i.e. 3h timepoint; r=0.90, P<0.0001) and elevations in both of the mechanistic biomarkers, miR-122 (e.g. 6h timepoint; r=0.70, P=0.005) and HMGB1 (e.g. 6h timepoint; r=0.56, P=0.04). For the first time we report the utility of this non-invasive longitudinal imaging approach to provide direct visualisation of the liver function coupled with mechanistic biomarkers, in the same animal, allowing the investigation of the toxicological and pharmacological aspects of APAP-ILI and hepatic regeneration.

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Deng X et al.

A Hollow‐Structured CuS@Cu2S@Au Nanohybrid: Synergistically Enhanced Photothermal Efficiency and Photoswitchable Targeting Effect for Cancer Theranostics

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

It is of great importance in drug delivery to fabricate multifunctional nanocarriers with intelligent targeting properties, for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Herein, hollow‐structured CuS@Cu2S@Au nanoshell/satellite nanoparticles are designed and synthesized for enhanced photothermal therapy and photoswitchable targeting theranostics. The remarkably improved photothermal conversion efficiency of CuS@Cu2S@Au under 808 nm near‐infrared (NIR) laser irradiation can be explained by the reduced bandgap and more circuit paths for electron transitions for CuS and Cu2S modified with Au nanoparticles, as calculated by the Vienna ab initio simulation package, based on density functional theory. By modification of thermal‐isomerization RGD targeting molecules and thermally sensitive copolymer on the surface of nanoparticles, the transition of the shielded/unshielded mode of RGD (Arg‐Gly‐Asp) targeting molecules and shrinking of the thermally sensitive polymer by NIR photoactivation can realize a photoswitchable targeting effect. After loading an anticancer drug doxorubicin in the cavity of CuS@Cu2S@Au, the antitumor therapy efficacy is greatly enhanced by combining chemo‐ and photothermal therapy. The reported nanohybrid can also act as a photoacoustic imaging agent and an NIR thermal imaging agent for real‐time imaging, which provides a versatile platform for multifunctional theranostics and stimuli‐responsive targeted cancer therapy.

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Tomaszewski MR et al.

Oxygen Enhanced Optoacoustic Tomography (OE-OT) Reveals Vascular Dynamics in Murine Models of Prostate Cancer

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Poor oxygenation of solid tumours has been linked with resistance to chemo- and radio-therapy and poor patient outcomes, hence non-invasive imaging of oxygen supply and demand in tumours could improve disease staging and therapeutic monitoring. Optoacoustic tomography (OT) is an emerging clinical imaging modality that provides static images of endogenous haemoglobin concentration and oxygenation. Here, we demonstrate oxygen enhanced (OE)-OT, exploiting an oxygen gas challenge to visualise the spatiotemporal heterogeneity of tumour vascular function. We show that tracking oxygenation dynamics using OE-OT reveals significant differences between two prostate cancer models in nude mice with markedly different vascular function (PC3 & LNCaP), which appear identical in static OT. LNCaP tumours showed a spatially heterogeneous response within and between tumours, with a substantial but slow response to the gas challenge, aligned with ex vivo analysis, which revealed a generally perfused and viable tumour with marked areas of haemorrhage. PC3 tumours had a lower fraction of responding pixels compared to LNCaP with a high disparity between rim and core response. While the PC3 core showed little or no dynamic response, the rim showed a rapid change, consistent with our ex vivo findings of hypoxic and necrotic core tissue surrounded by a rim of mature and perfused vasculature. OE-OT metrics are shown to be highly repeatable and correlate directly on a per-tumour basis to tumour vessel function assessed ex vivo. OE-OT provides a non-invasive approach to reveal the complex dynamics of tumour vessel perfusion, permeability and vasoactivity in real time. Our findings indicate that OE-OT holds potential for application in prostate cancer patients, to improve delineation of aggressive and indolent disease as well as in patient stratification for chemo- and radio-therapy.

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Karlas A et al.

Flow-mediated dilatation test using optoacoustic imaging: a proof-of-concept

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Label-free multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) has recently shown superior performance in visualizing the morphology of human vasculature, especially of smaller vessels, compared to ultrasonography. Herein, we extend these observations towards MSOT interrogation of macrovascular endothelial function. We employed a real-time handheld MSOT scanner to assess flow-mediated dilatation (FMD), a technique used to characterize endothelial function. A data processing scheme was developed to quantify the dimensions and diameter changes of arteries in humans and determine wall distensibility parameters. By enabling high-resolution delineation of the blood-vessel wall in a cross-sectional fashion, the findings suggest MSOT as a capable alternative to ultrasonography for clinical FMD measurements.

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Lin YX et al.

"In vivo self-assembled" nanoprobes for optimizing autophagy-mediated chemotherapy

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Autophagic therapy is regarded as a promising strategy for disease treatment. Appropriate autophagy regulations in vivo play a crucial role in translating this new concept from benchside to bedside. So far, emerging technologies are required to spatially and quantitatively monitor autophagic process in vivo in order to minimize the cytotoxity concerns associated with autophagy-mediated therapy. We successfully demonstrate the “proof-of-concept” study on autophagy-mediated chemotherapy in mice. Here, we describe a photoacoustic (PA) nanoprobe based on “in vivo self-assembly” idea for real-time and quantitative detection of autophagy in mice for the first time. The purpurin-18 (P18) monomer is connected to hydrophilic poly(amidoamine) dendrimer (4th generation) through a peptide (GKGSFGFTG) that can be cleaved by an autophagy-specific enzyme, i.e., ATG4B, consequently resulting in aggregation of P18 and enhanced PA signals. Based on this aggregation-induced “turn-on” PA signals, we noninvasively determine the ATG4B activity for monitoring autophagy of tumor in vivo. According to the results of PA imaging, we could optimize chemotherapy efficacy through precisely modulating autophagy, which thereby decrease systemic toxicity from chemotherapeutics and autophagy inhibitors. We envision it will pave the way for developing autophagy-based treatment of diseases in the future.

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Tang J et al.

Dual-Mode Imaging-Guided Synergistic Chemo- and Magnetohyperthermia Therapy in a Versatile Nanoplatform To Eliminate Cancer Stem Cells

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been identified as a new target for therapy in diverse cancers. Traditional therapies usually kill the bulk of cancer cells, but are often unable to effectively eliminate CSCs, which may lead to drug resistance and cancer relapse. Herein, we propose a novel strategy: fabricating multifunctional magnetic Fe3O4@PPr@HA hybrid nanoparticles and loading it with the Notch signaling pathway inhibitor N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl-l-alanyl)]-S-phenylglycinet-butylester (DAPT) to eliminate CSCs. Hyaluronic acid ligands greatly enhance the accumulation of the hybrid nanoparticles in the tumor site and in the CSCs. Both hyaluronase in the tumor microenvironment and the magnetic hyperthermia effect of the inner magnetic core can accelerate the release of DAPT. This controlled release of DAPT in the tumor site further enhances the ability of the combination of chemo- and magnetohyperthermia therapy to eliminate cancer stem cells. With the help of polypyrrole-mediated photoacoustic and Fe3O4-mediated magnetic resonance imaging, the drug release can be precisely monitored in vivo. This versatile nanoplatform enables effective elimination of the cancer stem cells and monitoring of the drugs.

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Du J et al.

Design of TPGS-functionalized Cu3BiS3 nanocrystals with strong absorption in the second near-infrared window for radiation therapy enhancement

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Integrating radiation therapy with high-depth photothermal therapy in the second near-infrared (NIR) window is highly required for efficient treatment of deep-seated tumor cells. Here, we constructed a multifunctional nano-theranostic with bimetallic chalcogenide nanocrystals (NCs) functionalized with amphiphilic D -α-tocopherol polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS-Cu 3 BiS 3 ). Benefiting from the strong absorbance of both X-ray and NIR light in the second NIR window, TPGS-Cu 3 BiS 3 CNs can not only deposit more radiation dose to trigger enhanced radiation damage in vivo , but also conduct photo-induced hyperthermia for thermal ablation in the second NIR window and effective improvement of tumor oxygenation to overcome the hypoxia-associated radio-resistance of tumors. Moreover, copper ions on the surface of TPGS-Cu 3 BiS 3 NCs are capable of catalyzing the Fenton-like and Haber–Weiss reactions to produce highly reactive hydroxyl radicals, leading to the increase in the level of oxygen radicals and further enhance cancer cell destruction. Apart from their therapeutic application, by means of X-ray computer tomography imaging as well as multispectral optoacoustic tomography imaging, TPGS-Cu 3 BiS 3 NCs also have the potential as a nano-theranostic to offer remarkable therapeutic outcome for deep-seated tumor cells in imaging-guided synergistically enhanced radiation therapy.

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Yang C et al.

Multifunctional Bismuth Nanoparticles as Theranostic Agent for PA/CT Imaging and NIR Laser-Driven Photothermal Therapy

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

“One-for-all” multifunctional theranostic agents are highly demanded in biomedical fields. However, their design and fabrication still face enormous challenges. Herein, we strategically design and fabricate 1,2-dilauroyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine-modified (DLPC-modified) bismuth nanoparticles (denoted as Bi@DLPC NPs) with desirable size of 47 ± 3 nm as a theranostic agent for photoacoustic (PA) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging guided photothermal therapy (PTT) in response to near-infrared (NIR) laser irradiation. Bi@DLPC NPs possess the excellent photothermal conversion efficiency of 35% and PA/CT imaging properties, which are attributed to the strong NIR absorption and high atomic number (83) of bismuth element. Moreover, it is demonstrated that Bi@DLPC NPs are effectively accumulated in the tumor region because of the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. With the PTT, the growth of cancer cells (MDA-MB-231 cells) can be remarkably ablated in vitro and in vivo; meanwhile no obvious damage and noticeable toxicity are detected to major organs. The antitumor mechanism of Bi@DLPC NPs is attributable to the mitochondrial dysfunction and change of cell membrane permeability of MDA-MB-231 cells caused by photothermal effects upon laser irradiation. On the basis of their high stability and excellent biocompatibility, Bi@DLPC NPs have great potential for the treatment of various types of tumors.

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Cao Y et al.

Near-infrared conjugated polymers for photoacoustic imaging-guided photothermal/chemo combination therapy

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Conjugated polymers (CPs) with intensive near-infrared (NIR) absorption and high photothermal conversion efficiency (PCE) have emerged as a new generation of photothermal therapy (PTT) and photoacoustic imaging (PAI) agents for cancer therapy. PTT + chemotherapy has been identified as a powerful modality to offer synergistic effects in the destruction and monitoring of cancer tissues. In this study, diketopyrrolopyrrole-based polymers (DPP) were designed through a combination of donor–acceptor moieties. Then, doxorubicin (DOX) and DPP were co-encapsulated in tocopheryl polyethylene-glycol-succinate-cholesterol (TPGS-CHO) copolymers to build a combined theranostic system for tumor treatment. These combined NPs with high PCE (∼50%) and strong (NIR) absorption exhibit excellent real-time photoacoustic imaging detection and synergistic cancer inhibition.

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Jia Q et al.

Biocompatible Iron Phthalocyanine-Albumin Assemblies as Photoacoustic and Thermal Theranostics in Living Mice

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Exploring novel and versatile nanomaterials for the construction of personalized multifunctional phototheranostics with significant potentials in bioimaging-guided tumor phototherapies has attracted considerable attention. Herein, the phototheranostic agent human serum albumin-iron (II) phthalocyanine FePc nanoparticles (HSA-FePc NPs) were fabricated for photoacoustic (PA) imaging-guided photothermal therapy (PTT) of cancer in vivo. The prepared HSA-FePc NPs exhibited high stability, efficient NIR absorption, good capability and stability of photothermal behavior with a high photothermal conversion efficiency of ∼44.4%, high contrast and spatial resolution of PA imaging, efficient cancer therapy, and low long-term toxicity. This potent multifunctional phototheranostic is, therefore, very promising and favorable for effective, precise, and safe antitumor treatment in clinical application.

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Attia ABE et al.

Noninvasive real-time characterization of non-melanoma skin cancers with handheld optoacoustic probes

CancerClinicalMSOT

Currently, imaging technologies that enable dermsurgeons to visualize non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) in vivo preoperatively are lacking, resulting in excessive or incomplete removal. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) is a volumetric imaging tool to differentiate tissue chromophores and exogenous contrast agents, based on differences in their spectral signatures and used for high-resolution imaging of functional and molecular contrast at centimeter scale depth. We performed MSOT imaging with two- and three-dimensional handheld scanners on 21 Asian patients with NMSC. The tumors and their oxygenation parameters could be distinguished from normal skin endogenously. The lesion dimensions and depths were extracted from the spectral melanin component with three-dimensional spatial resolution up to 80 μm. The intraclass correlation coefficient correlating tumor dimension measurements between MSOT and ex vivo histology of excised tumors, showed good correlation. Real-time 3D imaging was found to provide information on lesion morphology and its underlying neovasculature, indicators of the tumor’s aggressiveness.

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Shi Y et al.

The interactions of single-wall carbon nanohorns with polar epithelium

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Single-wall carbon nanohorns (SWCNHs), which have multitudes of horn interstices, an extensive surface area, and a spherical aggregate structure, offer many advantages over other carbon nanomaterials being used as a drug nanovector. The previous studies on the interaction between SWCNHs and cells have mostly emphasized on cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking, but seldom on epithelial cells. Polar epithelium as a typical biological barrier constitutes the prime obstacle for the transport of therapeutic agents to target site. This work tried to explore the permeability of SWCNHs through polar epithelium and their abilities to modulate transcellular transport, and evaluate the potential of SWCNHs in drug delivery. Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cell monolayer was used as a polar epithelial cell model, and as-grown SWCNHs, together with oxidized and fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated bovine serum albumin-labeled forms, were constructed and comprehensively investigated in vitro and in vivo. Various methods such as transmission electron microscopy and confocal imaging were used to visualize their intracellular uptake and localization, as well as to investigate the potential transcytotic process. The related mechanism was explored by specific inhibitors. Additionally, fast multispectral optoacoustic tomography imaging was used for monitoring the distribution and transport process of SWCNHs in vivo after oral administration in nude mice, as an evidence for their interaction with the intestinal epithelium. The results showed that SWCNHs had a strong bioadhesion property, and parts of them could be uptaken and transcytosed across the MDCK monolayer. Multiple mechanisms were involved in the uptake and transcytosis of SWCNHs with varying degrees. After oral administration, oxidized SWCNHs were distributed in the gastrointestinal tract and retained in the intestine for up to 36 h probably due to their surface adhesion and endocytosis into the intestinal epithelium. Overall, this comprehensive investigation demonstrated that SWCNHs can serve as a promising nanovector that can cross the barrier of polar epithelial cells and deliver drugs effectively.

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Berninger MT et al.

Detection of intramyocardially injected DiR-labeled mesenchymal stem cells by optical and optoacoustic tomography

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

The distribution of intramyocardially injected rabbit MSCs, labeled with the near-infrared dye 1,1′-dioctadecyl-3,3,3′,3′-tetramethylindotricarbo-cyanine-iodide (DiR) using hybrid Fluorescence Molecular Tomography-X-ray Computed Tomography (FMT-XCT) and Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) imaging technologies, was investigated. Viability and induction of apoptosis of DiR labeled MSCs were assessed by XTT- and Caspase-3/-7-testing in vitro. 2 × 106, 2 × 105 and 2 × 104 MSCs labeled with 5 and 10 μg DiR/ml were injected into fresh frozen rabbit hearts. FMT-XCT, MSOT and fluorescence cryosection imaging were performed. Concentrations up to 10 μg DiR/ml did not cause apoptosis in vitro (p > 0.05). FMT and MSOT imaging of labeled MSCs led to a strong signal. The imaging modalities highlighted a difference in cell distribution and concentration correlated to the number of injected cells. Ex-vivo cryosectioning confirmed the molecular fluorescence signal. FMT and MSOT are sensitive imaging techniques offering high-anatomic resolution in terms of detection and distribution of intramyocardially injected stem cells in a rabbit model.

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Bao S et al.

Gold nanocages with dual modality for image-guided therapeutics

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Numerous studies have demonstrated that microRNAs are very important in cancer development and progression. However, the complex relationship between the size of microRNA delivery systems, cellular uptake, biodistribution and therapeutic efficiency remains unclear. Herein, we have successfully constructed a series of differently-sized microRNA delivery systems, miR-26a-loaded, hyaluronic acid-modified, polyetherimide-conjugated PEGylated gold nanocage ternary nanocomplexes (PPHAuNCs-TNCs), which can be monitored optically by fluorescence and photoacoustic tomography imaging. We evaluated the effect of the particle size on the cellular uptake and biodistribution in the BEL-7402 cell line in vitro and in the subcutaneous and orthotopic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mouse models. Our findings showed that the cellular uptake and biodistribution were optimal for cancer therapy with the PPHAuNCs-30-TNCs (30 nm AuNCs in edge length) in comparison with their 50 nm and 70 nm counterparts. PPHAuNCs-30-TNCs could accumulate in the liver for a longer time in an orthotopic mouse model of HCC than that in normal mice and could considerably restrain tumor growth in an orthotopic HCC mouse model under near-infrared radiation. This study may provide insightful information for developing novel non-viral microRNA vectors, and PPHAuNCs-30-TNCs have great potential for application in tumor diagnosis and cancer therapy in the future.

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Jiang X et al.

Ultrasmall Magnetic CuFeSe2 Ternary Nanocrystals for Multimodal Imaging Guided Photothermal Therapy of Cancer

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Nanoscale ternary chalcogenides have attracted intense research interest due to their wealth of tunable properties and diverse applications in energy and environmental and biomedical fields. In this article, ultrasmall magnetic CuFeSe2 ternary nanocrystals (<5.0 nm) were fabricated in the presence of thiol-functionalized poly(methacrylic acid) by an environmentally friendly aqueous method under ambient conditions. The small band gap and the existence of intermediate bands lead to a broad NIR absorbance in the range of 500-1100 nm and high photothermal conversion efficiency (82%) of CuFeSe2 nanocrystals. The resultant CuFeSe2 nanocrystals show superparamagnetism and effective attenuation for X-rays. In addition, they also exhibit excellent water solubility, colloidal stability, biocompatibility, and multifunctional groups. These properties enable them to be an ideal nanotheranostic agent for multimodal imaging [e.g., photoacoustic imaging (PAI), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) imaging] guided photothermal therapy of cancer.

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Mercep E et al.

Combined Pulse-Echo Ultrasound and Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography With a Multi-Segment Detector Array

TechnologyClinicalMSOT

The high complementarity of ultrasonography and optoacoustic tomography has prompted the development of combined approaches that utilize the same transducer array for detecting both optoacoustic and pulse-echo ultrasound responses from tissues. Yet, due to the fundamentally different physical contrast and image formation mechanisms, the development of detection technology optimally suited for image acquisition in both modalities remains a major challenge. Herein, we introduce a multi-segment detector array approach incorporating array segments of linear and concave geometry to optimally support both ultrasound and optoacoustic image acquisition. The various image rendering strategies are tested and optimized in numerical simulations and calibrated tissue-mimicking phantom experiments. We subsequently demonstrate real-time hybrid optoacoustic ultrasound image acquisition in a healthy volunteer. The new approach enables the acquisition of high-quality anatomical data by both modalities complemented by functional information on blood oxygenation status provided by the multispectral optoacoustic tomography.

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Ni Y et al.

Push-pull type meso-ester substituted BODIPY near-infrared dyes as contrast agents for photoacoustic imaging

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

A series of push-pull type meso-ester substituted BODIPY dyes 1-4 with intense near-infrared absorption, largely enhanced photoacoustic (PA) activity and excellent photo-stability were synthesized. The impact of the electronic structure on the PA activity was also discussed. Moreover, the in vitro and in vivo PA imaging were investigated, which suggested a passive targeting capacity in the tumor site.

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Li W et al.

Overcoming photodynamic resistance and tumor targeting dual-therapy mediated by indocyanine green conjugated gold nanospheres

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT) have captured much attention due to the great potential to cure malignant tumor. Nevertheless, photodynamic resistance of cancer cells has limited the further efficacy of PDT. Unfortunately, the resistance mechanism and efforts to overcome the resistance still have been rarely reported so far. Here, we report a nanosystem with specific tumor targeting for combined PDT and PTT mediated by near-infrared (NIR) light, which was established by covalently conjugating indocyanine green (ICG) and TNYL peptide onto the surface of hollow gold nanospheres (HAuNS). Our nanosystem (TNYL-ICG-HAuNS) was proved to possess significantly increased light stability, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and photothermal effect under NIR light irradiation, thus presenting a remarkably enhanced antitumor efficacy. The up-regulation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (NFE2L2, Nrf2) in cancer cells during PDT induced a significant increase of ABCG2, NQO-1 and HIF-1α expression, causing PDT resistance of the cells. Interestingly, ABCG2 expression could almost keep a normal level in the whole PDT process mediated by TNYL-ICG-HAuNS. After repeated irradiations, TNYL-ICG-HAuNS could still produce almost constant ROS in cells while the Nrf2 expression reduced significantly. Furthermore, PDT resistance induced an obvious decrease of the internalization of free ICG, but didn’t influence the cell uptake of TNYL-ICG-HAuNS. Our data explained that TNYL-ICG-HAuNS could overcome the photodynamic resistance of cancer cells, acting as a promising modality for simultaneous photothermal and photodynamic cancer therapy.

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Aguirre J et al.

Precision assessment of label-free psoriasis biomarkers with ultra-broadband optoacoustic mesoscopy

Other ApplicationsClinicalRSOM

Imaging plays a critical role in the diagnosis and assessment of dermatological conditions. However, optical or optoacoustic microscopy techniques are limited to visualizing superficial skin features owing to strong photon scattering, whereas ultrasound methods, which can probe deeper-seated tissue, lack the contrast to image pathophysiological mechanisms in detail. Here, we demonstrate that raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM) implemented in ultra-broadband (10–180 MHz) detection mode bridges the depth capabilities of ultrasound and the resolution range and high contrast of optical methods in clinical dermatology. Using tomographic reconstruction and frequency equalization to represent low and high spatial-frequency components, we visualize skin morphology and vascular patterns in the dermis and sub-dermis of psoriasis patients, enabling quantification of inflammation and other biomarkers of psoriasis without the need for contrast agents. Implemented in a handheld device, we showcase how label-free biomarkers detected by RSOM correlate with clinical score. The method can also be extended to assess a larger spectrum of dermatological conditions.

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Lin S et al.

Optically and acoustically triggerable sub-micron phase-change contrast agents for enhanced photoacoustic and ultrasound imaging

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

We demonstrate a versatile phase-change sub-micron contrast agent providing three modes of contrast enhancement: 1) photoacoustic imaging contrast, 2) ultrasound contrast with optical activation, and 3) ultrasound contrast with acoustic activation. This agent, which we name ‘Cy-droplet’, has the following novel features. It comprises a highly volatile perfluorocarbon for easy versatile activation, and a near-infrared optically absorbing dye chosen to absorb light at a wavelength with good tissue penetration. It is manufactured via a ‘microbubble condensation’ method. The phase-transition of Cy-droplets can be optically triggered by pulsed-laser illumination, inducing photoacoustic signal and forming stable gas bubbles that are visible with echo-ultrasound in situ. Alternatively, Cy-droplets can be converted to microbubble contrast agents upon acoustic activation with clinical ultrasound. Potentially all modes offer extravascular contrast enhancement because of the sub-micron initial size. Such versatility of acoustic and optical ‘triggerability’ can potentially improve multi-modality imaging, molecularly targeted imaging and controlled drug release.

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Meng X et al.

Dual-Responsive Molecular Probe for Tumor Targeted Imaging and Photodynamic Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

The precision oncology significantly relies on the development of multifunctional agents to integrate tumor targeting, imaging and therapeutics. In this study, a first small-molecule theranostic probe, RhoSSCy is constructed by conjugating 5′-carboxyrhodamines (Rho) and heptamethine cyanine IR765 (Cy) using a reducible disulfide linker and pH tunable amino-group to realize thiols/pH dual sensing. In vitro experiments verify that RhoSSCy is highly sensitive for quantitative analysis and imaging intracellular pH gradient and biothiols. Furthermore, RhoSSCy shows superb tumor targeted dual-modal imaging via near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) and photoacoustic (PA). Importantly, RhoSSCy also induces strongly reactive oxygen species for tumor photodynamic therapy (PDT) with robust antitumor activity both in vitro and in vivo. Such versatile small-molecule theranostic probe may be promising for tumor targeted imaging and precision therapy.

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Liang X et al.

Activatable near infrared dye conjugated hyaluronic acid based nanoparticles as a targeted theranostic agent for enhanced fluorescence/CT/photoacoustic imaging guided photothermal therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Targeted theranostic nano-system integrating functions of both diagnosis and therapy shows great potential for improving diagnosis and therapeutic efficacy. Herein, multifunctional nanoparticle based on activatable hyaluronic acid (HA) conjugating two near-infrared (NIR) dyes of Cy5.5 and IR825 was successfully designed and fabricated, and simultaneously used as a carrier for encapsulating perfluorooctylbromide (PFOB). In this system, PFOB showed good capability to absorb the X-rays, Cy5.5 on the outer surface acted as a fluorescent dye activatable by hyaluronidases (Hyals) in the tumor, and IR825 in the core as a photothermal agent. The obtained nanoparticles (NPs) of PFOB@IR825-HA-Cy5.5 can be utilized for triple X-ray computed tomography (CT), fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging. When PFOB@IR825-HA-Cy5.5 NPs were intravenously injected into the mice bearing HT-29 tumor, efficient tumor accumulation was clearly observed, as revealed by the triple modal imaging. An in vivo tumor treatment experiment was conducted by combination of PFOB@IR825-HA-Cy5.5 and near-infrared laser irradiation, achieving effective tumor ablation in mice. Therefore, PFOB@IR825-HA-Cy5.5 NPs is a safe, efficient, imageable photothermal nanoprobe, showing great potential for cancer theranostics.

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He W et al.

Plasmonic titanium nitride nanoparticles for in vivo photoacoustic tomography imaging and photothermal cancer therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Titanium nitride, an alternative plasmonic material to gold with unique physiochemical properties, has been widely used in microelectronics, biomedical devices and food-contact applications. However, its potential application in the area of biomedicine has not been effectively explored. With the spectral match of their plasmon resonance band and the biological transparency window as well as good biocompatibility, titanium nitride nanoparticles (TiN NPs) are promising photoabsorbing agents for photothermal therapy (PTT) and photoacoustic imaging. Nevertheless, the photothermal performance of TiN NPs has not been investigated until now. Here, we presented the investigation of employing TiN NPs as photoabsorbing agents for in vivo photoacoustic tomography (PAT) imaging-guided photothermal cancer therapy. Our experimental results showed that TiN NPs could strongly absorb the NIR light and provided up to 48% photothermal conversion efficiency. After PEGylation, the resultant nanoparticles demonstrated improved physiological stability and extensive blood retention. Following intravenously administration, they could simultaneously enhance the photoacoustic signals of the tumor region and destroy tumors in the tumor-bearing mouse model by taking advantage of the photothermal effect of the TiN NPs. Our findings highlighted the great potential of plasmonic TiN NPs in detection and treatment of cancer.

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Hu Y et al.

Multifunctional hetero-nanostructures of hydroxyl-rich polycation wrapped cellulose-gold hybrids for combined cancer therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

The development of new hetero-nanostructures for multifunctional applications in cancer therapy has attracted widespread attention. In this work, we put forward a facile approach to synthesize multifunctional hetero-nanostructures of cellulose nanocrystal (CNC)-gold nanoparticle hybrids wrapped with low-toxic hydroxyl-rich polycations to integrate versatile functions for effective cancer therapy. Biocompatible CNCs with the superior rod-like morphology for high cellular uptake were employed as substrates to flexibly load spherical gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) or gold nanorods (Au NRs) through gold-thiolate bonds, producing hetero-layered nanohybrids of CNC-Au NPs or CNC-Au NRs. Profound hydroxyl-rich cationic gene carrier, CD-PGEA (comprising β-cyclodextrin cores and ethanolamine-functionalized poly(glycidyl methacrylate) arms), was then assembled onto the surface of CNC-Au nanohybrids through host-guest interaction and gold-thiolate bonds, where PEG was employed as the intermediate and spacer. The resultant CNC-Au-PGEA hetero-nanostructures exhibited excellent performances as gene carriers. Furthermore, CNC-Au NR-PGEA comprising Au NRs demonstrated favorable optical absorption properties and were validated for photoacoustic imaging and combined photothermal/gene therapy with considerable antitumor effects. The present work provided a flexible strategy for the construction of new multifunctional hetero-nanostructures with high antitumor efficacy.

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Guo L et al.

Single Near‐Infrared Emissive Polymer Nanoparticles as Versatile Phototheranostics

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Attaining consistently high performance of diagnostic and therapeutic functions in one single nanoplatform is of great significance for nanomedicine. This study demonstrates the use of donor–acceptor (D–A) structured polymer (TBT) to develop a smart “all‐five‐in‐one” theranostic that conveniently integrates fluorescence/photoacoustic/thermal imaging and photodynamic/photothermal therapy into single nanoparticle. The prepared nanoparticles (TBTPNPs) exhibit near‐infrared emission, high water solubility, excellent light resistance, good pH stability, and negligible toxicity. Additionally, the TBTPNPs exhibit an excellent singlet oxygen (1O2) quantum yield (40%) and high photothermal conversion efficiency (37.1%) under single‐laser irradiation (635 nm). Apart from their two phototherapeutic modalities, fluorescence, photoacoustic signals, and thermal imaging in vivo can be simultaneously achieved because of their enhanced permeability and retention effects. This work demonstrates that the prepared TBTPNPs are “all‐five‐in‐one” phototheranostic agents that can exhibit properties to satisfy the “one‐fits‐all” requirement for future phototheranostic applications. Thus, the prepared TBTPNPs can provide fundamental insights into the development of PNP‐based nanoagents for cancer therapy.

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Haedicke K et al.

Sonophore labeled RGD: a targeted contrast agent for optoacoustic imaging

CancerPreclinicalRSOM

Optoacoustic imaging is a rapidly expanding field for the diagnosis, characterization, and treatment evaluation of cancer. However, the availability of tumor specific exogenous contrast agents is still limited. Here, we report on a small targeted contrast agent for optoacoustic imaging using a black hole quencher® (BHQ) dye. The sonophore BHQ-1 exhibited strong, concentration-dependent, optoacoustic signals in phantoms, demonstrating its ideal suitability for optoacoustic imaging. After labeling BHQ-1 with cyclic RGD-peptide, BHQ-1-cRGD specifically bound to αvβ3-integrin expressing glioblastoma cell spheroids in vitro. The excellent optoacoustic properties of BHQ-1-cRGD could furthermore be proven in vivo. Together with this emerging imaging modality, our sonophore labeled small peptide probe offers new possibilities for non-invasive detection of molecular structures with high resolution in vivo and furthers the specificity of optoacoustic imaging. Ultimately, the discovery of tailor-made sonophores might offer new avenues for various molecular optoacoustic imaging applications, similar to what we see with fluorescence imaging.

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Sun M et al.

Thermally Triggered in Situ Assembly of Gold Nanoparticles for Cancer Multimodal Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

The assembly of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) to AuNP assemblies is of interest for cancer therapy and imaging. Herein we introduce a new and general paradigm, thermally triggered AuNP assembly, for the development of novel intelligent platforms for cancer photothermal therapy (PTT) and multimodal imaging. Site-specific conjugation of a thermally sensitive elastin-like polypeptide (ELP) to AuNPs yields thermally sensitive ELP-AuNPs. Interestingly, ELP-AuNPs can in situ form AuNP assemblies composed of short necklace-like gold nanostructures at elevated temperatures and thus show strong near-infrared light absorption and high photothermal effect. These thermally responsive properties of ELP-AuNPs enable simultaneous photothermal/photoacoustic/X-ray computed tomographic imaging and PTT of melanoma after single intratumoral injection of ELP-AuNPs. The thermally triggered assembly of a variety of nanoparticles with optical, electronic, and magnetic properties into nanoparticle assemblies may open new ways for the establishment of intelligent platforms for various applications in biomedicine.

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Zhang S et al.

Terrylenediimide-Based Intrinsic Theranostic Nanomedicines with High Photothermal Conversion Efficiency for Photoacoustic Imaging-Guided Cancer Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Activatable theranostic nanomedicines involved in photothermal therapy (PTT) have received constant attention as promising alternatives to traditional therapies in clinic. However, the theranostic nanomedicines widely suffer from instability and complicated nanostructures, which hamper potential clinical applications. Herein, we demonstrated a terrylenediimide (TDI)-poly(acrylic acid) (TPA)-based nanomedicine (TNM) platform used as an intrinsic theranostic agent. As an exploratory paradigm in seeking biomedical applications, TDI was modified with poly(acrylic acid)s (PAAs), resulting in eight-armed, star-like TPAs composed of an outside hydrophilic PAA corona and an inner hydrophobic TDI core. TNMs were readily fabricated via spontaneous self-assembly. Without additional vehicle and cargo, the as-prepared TNMs possessed a robust nanostructure and high photothermal conversion efficiency up to approximately 41%. The intrinsic theranostic properties of TNMs for use in photoacoustic (PA) imaging by a multispectral optoacoustic tomography system and in mediating photoinduced tumor ablation were intensely explored. Our results suggested that the TNMs could be successfully exploited as intrinsic theranostic agents for PA imaging-guided efficient tumor PTT. Thus, these TNMs hold great potential for (pre)clinical translational development.

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Cai X et al.

Organic molecules with propeller structures for efficient photoacoustic imaging and photothermal ablation of cancer cells

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Photoacoustic (PA) imaging has recently attracted great attention due to its noninvasive and nonionizing properties and high penetration depth. This technique is particularly attractive for sentinel lymph node (SLN) imaging, which is highly desirable during sentinel lymph node biopsy for the detection of breast cancer metastasis. In this work, we report the design and synthesis of BTPETTQ with a propeller structure and a donor–acceptor–donor configuration, which exhibits strong NIR absorption, extremely weak fluorescence and a high PA signal in solution as molecular species. After being encapsulated into a polymeric matrix, BTPETTQ nanoparticles (NPs) also show excellent PA signal output, which is superior to the widely used gold nanorods based on the same mass and is also better than that from the NPs based on the core molecule of TTQ without tetraphenylethene modification. High-resolution PA imaging of SLN is achieved after injection of BTPETTQ NPs into the left paw of rats. The good photothermal conversion efficiency (40%) of BTPETTQ NPs also ensures their good performance in photothermal therapy, which is validated by the effective killing of HeLa cells upon 808 nm laser irradiation. This work demonstrates the great potential of compounds with propeller structures for PA imaging and photothermal therapy applications.

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Jin W et al.

Lanthanide-integrated supramolecular polymeric nanoassembly with multiple regulation characteristics for multidrug-resistant cancer therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Cancer treatment can in principle be enhanced by the synergistic effects of chemo- and nucleic acid-based combination therapies but the lack of efficient drug nanocarriers and occurrence of multidrug resistance (MDR) are major obstacles adversely affecting the effectiveness. Herein, a lanthanide-integrated supramolecular polymeric nanoassembly that delivers anticancer drugs and siRNA for more effective cancer therapy is described. This nanotherapeutic system is prepared by loading adamantane-modified doxorubicin (Dox) into polyethylenimine-crosslinked-γ-cyclodextrin (PC) through the supramolecular assembly to form the interior Dox-loaded PC (PCD) followed by electrostatically driven self-assembly of siRNA and PCD to produce the PCD/siRNA nanocomplexes. The PCD/siRNA nanocomplex is further decorated with the exterior neodymium (Nd)-integrated PC (Nd-PC) layer to obtain the PCD/siRNA/Nd-PC nanoassembly in which the interior PC serves as an efficient carrier for simultaneous delivery of Dox and siRNA to the human breast cancer cell line, Dox-resistant MCF-7 (MCF-7/ADR) both in vitro and in vivo. The exterior Nd-PC layer improves the drug sensitivity to the MCF-7/ADR cells as a result of the improved nanoassembly uptake, reduced drug efflux, and enhanced apoptosis, as evidenced by multiple regulation of a series of intracellular proteins related to MDR. Furthermore, in vivo delivery of the PCD/siRNA/Nd-PC nanoassembly is demonstrated to inhibit tumor growth in the mouse model with MCF-7/ADR tumor xenografts as a result of reduced angiogenesis and increased necrosis at the tumor site. This study reveals a simple and universal strategy to transform polymer-based nanoassemblies into advanced organic-inorganic nanotherapeutics suitable for cancer MDR therapy.

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Vaas M et al.

Extracerebral Tissue Damage in the Intraluminal Filament Mouse Model of Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion

NeuroPreclinicalMSOT

Middle cerebral artery occlusion is the most common model of focal cerebral ischemia in the mouse. In the surgical procedure, the external carotid artery (ECA) is ligated; however, its effect on the tissue supplied by the vessel has not been described so far. C57BL/6 mice underwent 1 h of transient MCAO (tMCAO) or sham surgery. Multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography was employed at 30 min after surgery to assess oxygenation in the temporal muscles. Microstructural changes were assessed with magnetic resonance imaging and histological examination at 24 h and 48 h after surgery. Ligation of the ECA resulted in decreased oxygenation of the left temporal muscle in most sham-operated and tMCAO animals. Susceptible mice of both groups exhibited increased T2 relaxation times in the affected muscle with histological evidence of myofibre degeneration, interstitial edema, and neutrophil influx. Ligatures had induced an extensive neutrophil-dominated inflammatory response. ECA ligation leads to distinct hypoxic degenerative changes in the tissue of the ECA territory and to ligature-induced inflammatory processes. An impact on outcome needs to be considered in this stroke model.

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Shen S et al.

Near-infrared light-responsive nanoparticles with thermosensitive yolk-shell structure for multimodal imaging and chemo-photothermal therapy of tumor

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Thermosensitive yolk-shell nanoparticles were developed as remote-controlled targeting drug delivery platform for multimodal imaging and combined therapy of cancer. The nanoparticles were fabricated using magnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles as photothermal cores, thermo-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-co-1-Vinyl-2-pyrrolidone p(NIPAM-co-NVP) as shells (Fe3O4-PNIPAM), with a hollow space between the two layers for loading of chemotherapeutic drug. The magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle cores could absorb and transform light to heat efficiently upon the irradiation of near infrared (NIR) laser, resulting in the shrink of the PNIPAM shell and the release of chemo-drugs. In vivo fluorescence/photoacoustic images demonstrated that Fe3O4-PNIPAM nanoparticles could accumulate in the tumor after intravenous injection. Upon the irradiation of the NIR laser, DOX-Fe3O4-PNIPAM nanoparticles exhibited outstanding synergistic effect. The tumor inhibition rate increased from 40.3% (DOX-Fe3O4-PNIPAM alone) and 65.2% (Fe3O4-PNIPAM +NIR) to 91.5%. The results demonstrated that the NIR-responsive nanocarrier offers a novel strategy for cancer theranostics and combined therapy of cancer.

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Hou L et al.

Copper sulfide nanoparticle-based localized drug delivery system as an effective cancer synergistic treatment and theranostic platform

NanoPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Localized cancer treatment with combination therapy has attracted increasing attention for effective inhibition of tumor growth. In this work, we introduced diffusion molecular retention (DMR) tumor targeting effect, a new strategy that employed transferrin (Tf) modified hollow mesoporous CuS nanoparticles (HMCuS NPs) to undergo extensive diffuse through the interstitium and tumor retention after a peritumoral (PT) injection. Herein, HMCuS NPs with strong near-infrared (NIR) absorption and photothermal conversion efficiency could serve as not only a drug carrier but also a powerful contrast agent for photoacoustic imaging to guide chemo-phototherapy. The iron-dependent artesunate (AS), which possessed profound cytotoxicity against tumor cell, was used as model drug. As a result, this AS loaded Tf-HMCuS NPs (AS/Tf-HMCuS NPs) system could specially target to tumor cells and synchronously deliver AS as well as irons into tumor to achieve enhanced antitumor activity. It was found that AS/Tf-HMCuS NPs was taken up by MCF-7 cells via Tf-mediated endocytosis, and could effectively convert NIR light into heat for photothermal therapy as well as generated high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) for photodynamic therapy. In addition, in vivo antitumor efficacy studies showed that tumor-bearing mice treated with AS/Tf-HMCuS NPs through peritumoral (PT) injection under NIR laser irradiation displayed the strongest inhibition rate of about 74.8%, even with the reduced frequency of administration. Furthermore, to demonstrate DMR, the optical imaging, photoacoustic tomography and immunofluorescence after PT injection were adopted to track the behavior of AS/Tf-HMCuS NPs in vivo. The results exhibited that Tf-HMCuS NPs prolonged the local accumulation and retention together with slow vascular uptake and extensive interstitial diffusion, which was consistent with the biodistribution studies of AS/Tf-HMCuS NPs. Therefore, the approach of localized delivery through DMR combined with multi-mechanism therapy may be a promising method for cancer treatment.

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Shi B et al.

Photoacoustic probes for real-time tracking of endogenous H2S in living mice

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

H2S is a key chemical mediator that exerts a vital role in diverse physiological and pathological processes. However, in vivo tracking of endogenous H2S generation still remains difficult due to the lack of reliable analytical methods. Herein, we present the first example of activatable photoacoustic probes for real-time imaging of H2S in living mice through the full utilization of the superiority of photoacoustic imaging modality at fine spatial resolution during deep tissue penetration. The designed probe can generate high NIR absorption at 780 nm in the presence of H2S, thus producing a strong photoacoustic signal output in the NIR region. Furthermore, this probe exhibits extremely fast and highly selective responsiveness, good water-solubility and excellent biocompatibility. In light of these outstanding features, this probe realizes the direct photoacoustic trapping of endogenous H2S generation in a HCT116 tumor-bearing mouse model. These preliminary imaging studies show that HCT116 colon tumors exhibit CBS upregulation activity, resulting in an increased rate of H2S generation.

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Xiao W et al.

Melanin-originated carbonaceous dots for triple negative breast cancer diagnosis by fluorescence and photoacoustic dual-mode imaging

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Carbonaceous dots exhibit increasing applications in diagnosis and drug delivery due to excellent photostability and biocompatibility properties. However, relative short excitation and emission of melanin carbonaceous dots (MCDs) limit the applicability in fluorescence bioimaging. Furthermore, the generally poor spatial resolution of fluorescence imaging limits potential in vivo applications. Due to a variety of beneficial properties, in this study, MCDs were prepared exhibiting great potential in fluorescence and photoacoustic dual-mode bioimaging. The MCDs exhibited a long excitation peak at 615nm and emission peak at 650nm, further highlighting the applicability in fluorescence imaging, while the absorbance peak at 633nm renders MCDs suitable for photoacoustic imaging. In vivo, the photoacoustic signal of MCDs was linearly correlated with the concentration of MCDs. Moreover, the MCDs were shown to be taken up into triple negative breast cancer cell line 4T1 in both a time- and concentration-dependent manner. In vivo fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging of subcutaneous 4T1 tumor demonstrated that MCDs could passively target triple negative breast cancer tissue by enhanced permeability and retention effects and may therefore be used for tumor dual-mode imaging. Furthermore, fluorescence distribution in tissue slices suggested that MCDs may distribute in 4T1 tumor with high efficacy. In conclusion, the MCDs studied offer potential application in fluorescence and photoacoustic dual-mode imaging.

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Pan Y et al.

Annexin V-Conjugated Mixed Micelles as a Potential Drug Delivery System for Targeted Thrombolysis

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

To alleviate the hemorrhagic side effect of thrombolysis therapy, a thrombus targeted drug delivery system based on the specific affinity of Annexin V to phosphatidylserine exposed on the membrane surface of activated platelet was developed. The amphiphilic and biodegradable biomaterial, polycaprolactone-block-poly(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate)-block-poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PCL-b-PDMAEMA-b-PHEMA (PCDH)) triblock polymer, was synthesized via ring opening polymerization (ROP) and atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) to use as the nanocarriers of thrombolytic drug. In order to conjugate Annexin V to the polymer, PCDH was modified by succinic anhydride via ring-opening reaction to introduce the carboxyl group (PCDH-COOH). After preparation of PCDH/PCDH-COOH (9/1, m/m) mixed micelles, Annexin V was coupled with the micelles using carbodiimide chemistry. The blood clot lysis assay in vitro confirmed that lumbrokinase-loaded targeted micelles (LKTM) had stronger thrombolysis potency than free lumbrokinase (LK) and LK-loaded nontargeted micelles (LKM, P < 0.05). In vivo thrombolytic assay, multispectral, optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) was used to assess the target ability of LKTM. The results of MSOT images indicated the fluorescence intensity of the LKTM group located in the blood clot position were significantly stronger than the LKM group. A 5 mm of carotid artery containing blood clot was cut out 24 h later after administration to assess the degree of thrombolysis. The results of thrombolytic assay in vivo were consistent with the assay in vitro, which the differences between LK, LKM, and LKTM groups were both statistically significant. All the results of thrombolysis assays above proved that the capacity of thrombolysis in the LKTM group was optimal. It suggested that Annexin V-conjugated micelles will be a potential drug delivery system for targeted thrombolysis.

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Buehler A et al.

Imaging of fatty tumors: appearance of subcutaneous lipomas in optoacoustic images

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

A wide variety of subcutaneous soft-tissue masses may be seen in clinical practice. Clinical examination based on palpation alone is often insufficient to identify the nature and exact origin of the mass, in which case imaging is necessary. We used handheld multispectral optoacoustic imaging technology (MSOT) in a proof-of-principle study to image superficial fatty tumors and compare the images with diagnostic ultrasound. Fatty tumors were clearly visualized by MSOT and exhibited a spectral signature which differed from normal fatty tissue or muscle tissue. Our findings further indicated that MSOT offers highly complementary contrast to sonography. Based on the performance achieved, we foresee a promising role for MSOT in the diagnosis and evaluation of subcutaneous soft-tissue masses. Picture: Pseudo-color representation of a cross-sectional multi-spectral optoacoustic slice through a subcutaneous lipoma. Multi-spectral information is encoded in color. The lipoma can clearly be distinguished from the surrounding tissue based on its color.

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Clarke J et al.

Novel circulating- and imaging-based biomarkers to enhance the mechanistic understanding of human drug-induced liver injury

PharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Liver safety biomarkers in current clinical practice are recognized to have certain shortcomings including their representation of general cell death and thus lacking in indicating the specific underlying mechanisms of injury. An informative mechanistic biomarker, or panel of circulating- and imaging- based biomarkers, will allow a more complete understanding of the mechanisms underlying the complex and multi-cellular disease such as drug-induced liver injury; potentially preceding and therefore enabling prediction of disease progression as well as directing appropriate, existing or novel, therapeutic strategies. Several putative liver safety biomarkers are under investigation as discussed throughout this review, informing on a multitude of hepatocellular mechanisms including: early cell death (miR-122), necrosis (HMGB1, K18), apoptosis, (K18), inflammation (HMGB1), mitochondrial damage (GLDH, mtDNA), liver dysfunction (MRI, MSOT) and regeneration (CSF1). These biomarkers also hold translational value to provide important read across between in vitro-in vivo and clinical test systems. However, gaps in our knowledge remain requiring further focused research and the ultimate qualification of key exploratory biomarkers.

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Bhutiani N et al.

Detection of microspheres in vivo using multispectral optoacoustic tomography

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

We introduce a new approach to detect individual microparticles that contain NIR fluorescent dye by multispectral optoacoustic tomography in the context of the hemoglobin-rich environment within murine liver. We encapsulated a near infrared (NIR) fluorescent dye within polystyrene microspheres, then injected them into the ileocolic vein, which drains to the liver. NIR absorption was determined using multispectral optoacoustic tomography. To quantitate the minimum diameter of microspheres, we used both colorimetric and spatial information to segment the regions in which the microspheres appear. Regional diameter was estimated by doubling the maximum regional distance. We found that the minimum microsphere size threshold for detection by multispectral optoacoustic tomography images is 78.9 µm.

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Liu T et al.

A poly(l-glutamic acid)-combretastatin A4 conjugate for solid tumor therapy: Markedly improved therapeutic efficiency through its low tissue penetration in solid tumor

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Combretastatin A4 (CA4) is a leading agent in vascular disrupting strategies for tumor therapy. Although many small-molecule prodrugs of CA4 have been developed to improve its solubility, the overall therapeutic efficiency is moderate. A key reason for this is the reversible effect that CA4 has on tubulin as well as its rapid clearance from plasma and tissues. In this study, we proposed a poly(l-glutamic acid)-CA4 conjugate (PLG-CA4) nanomedicine to fulfill the requirements for fully liberating the potential of CA4 on tumor therapy. Enhanced accumulation and retention of CA4 in tumor tissue, especially, high distribution and gradual release around tumor blood vessels resulted in prolonged vascular disruption and markedly enhanced therapeutic efficiency. We examined and compared the therapeutic effect of PLG-CA4 and commercial combretastatin-A4 phosphate (CA4P) in a murine colon C26 tumor. PLG-CA4 showed significantly prolonged retention in plasma and tumor tissue. Most importantly, the PLG-CA4 was mainly distributed around the tumor vessels because of its low tissue penetration in solid tumor. Pathology tests showed that PLG-CA4 treatment resulted in persistent vascular disruption and tumor damage 72h after a single injection, this in contrast to CA4P treatment, which showed quick relapse at an equal dose. Tumor suppression tests showed that PLG-CA4 treatment resulted in a tumor suppression rate of 74%, which indicates a significant advantage when compared to tumor suppression rate of the CA4P group, which was 24%. This is the first time that an advantage of the polymeric CA4 nanomedicine with low tissue penetration for solid tumor therapy has been shown. Thus, the results presented in this study provide a new idea for enhancing the tumor therapeutic effect of vascular disrupting agents.

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Yan Y et al.

Heteropoly blue doped polymer nanoparticles: an efficient theranostic agent for targeted photoacoustic imaging and near-infrared photothermal therapy in vivo

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

With the development of personalized medicine, the research of theranostic agents with good biocompatibility, stability, and targeting properties remains meaningful. Herein, we report a two-step process to construct heteropoly blue (HPB) doped polymer nanoparticles (HPB/P4VP-b-PEO NPs) with efficient near-infrared (NIR) light absorption and photothermal conversion efficiency of ∼23% to simultaneously perform photoacoustic imaging and photothermal therapy in vivo. After intravenous injection into the 4T1 xenograft model, in vivo photoacoustic imaging confirmed the targeted property of HPB/P4VP-b-PEO NPs due to the enhanced EPR effect. The photoacoustic signal in the tumor at 24 h p.i. was more than ∼10 times that of the pre-injection group. By virtue of their EPR effect, HPB/P4VP-b-PEO NPs achieved a good photothermal therapeutic efficacy in vivo.

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Joseph J et al.

Evaluation of Precision in Optoacoustic Tomography for Preclinical Imaging in Living Subjects

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Optoacoustic tomography (OT) is now widely used in preclinical imaging; however, the precision (repeatability and reproducibility) of OT has yet to be determined. Methods: We used a commercial small-animal OT system. Measurements in stable phantoms were used to independently assess the impact of system variables on precision (using coefficient of variation, COV), including acquisition wavelength, rotational position, and frame averaging. Variables due to animal handling and physiology, such as anatomic placement and anesthesia conditions, were then assessed in healthy nude mice using the left kidney and spleen as reference organs. Temporal variation was assessed by repeated measurements over hours and days both in phantoms and in vivo. Sensitivity to small-molecule dyes was determined in phantoms and in vivo; precision was assessed in vivo using IRDye800CW. Results: OT COV in a stable phantom was less than 2.8% across all wavelengths over 30 d. The factors with the greatest impact on signal repeatability in phantoms were rotational position and user experience, both of which still resulted in a COV of less than 4% at 700 nm. Anatomic region-of-interest size showed the highest variation, at 12% and 18% COV in the kidney and spleen, respectively; however, functional SO2 measurements based on a standard operating procedure showed an exceptional reproducibility of less than 4% COV. COV for repeated injections of IRDye800CW was 6.6%. Sources of variability for in vivo data included respiration rate, degree of user experience, and animal placement. Conclusion: Data acquired with our small-animal OT system were highly repeatable and reproducible across subjects and over time. Therefore, longitudinal OT studies may be performed with high confidence when our standard operating procedure is followed.

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Lv S et al.

Inhibiting Solid Tumor Growth In Vivo by Non-Tumor-Penetrating Nanomedicine

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Nanomedicine (NM) cannot penetrate deeply into solid tumors, which is partly attributed to the heterogeneous microenvironment and high interstitial fluid pressure of solid tumors. To improve NM efficacy, there has been tremendous effort developing tumor-penetrating NMs by miniaturizing NM sizes or controlling NM surface properties. But progress along the direction of developing tumor penetrating nanoparticle has been slow and improvement of the overall antitumor efficacy has been limited. Herein, a novel strategy of inhibiting solid tumor with high efficiency by dual-functional, nontumor-penetrating NM is demonstrated. The intended NM contains 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA), a vascular-disrupting agent, and doxorubicin (DOX), a cytotoxic drug. Upon arriving at the target tumor site, sustained release of DMXAA from NMs results in disruption of tumor vessel functions, greatly inhibiting the interior tumor cells by cutting off nutritional supply. Meanwhile, the released DOX kills the residual cells at the tumor exterior regions. The in vivo studies demonstrate that this dual-functional, nontumor penetrating NM exhibits superior anticancer activity, revealing an alternative strategy of effective tumor growth inhibition.

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Brochu FM et al.

Towards Quantitative Evaluation of Tissue Absorption Coefficients Using Light Fluence Correction in Optoacoustic Tomography

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

Optoacoustic tomography is a fast developing imaging modality, combining the high contrast available from optical excitation of tissue with the high resolution and penetration depth of ultrasound detection. Light is subject to both absorption and scattering when traveling through tissue; adequate knowledge of tissue optical properties and hence the spatial fluence distribution is required to create an optoacoustic image that is directly proportional to chromophore concentrations at all depths. Using data from a commercial multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) system, we implemented an iterative optimization for fluence correction based on a finite-element implementation of the delta-Eddington approximation to the Radiative Transfer Equation (RTE). We demonstrate a linear relationship between the image intensity and absorption coefficients across multiple wavelengths and depths in phantoms. We also demonstrate improved feature visibility and spectral recovery at depth in phantoms and with in vivo measurements, suggesting our approach could in the future enable quantitative extraction of tissue absorption coefficients in biological tissue.

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Ding Y et al.

Precision combination therapy for triple negative breast cancer via biomimetic polydopamine polymer core-shell nanostructures

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photothermal-based combination therapy using functional nanomaterials shows great promise in eradication of aggressive tumors and improvement of drug sensitivity. The therapeutic efficacy and adverse effects of drug combinations depend on the precise control of timely tumor-localized drug release. Here a polymer-dopamine nanocomposite is designed for combination therapy, thermo-responsive drug release and prevention of uncontrolled drug leakage. The thermo-sensitive co-polymer poly (2-(2-methoxyethoxy) ethyl methacrylate-co-oligo (ethylene glycol) methacrylate)-co-2-(dimethylamino) ethyl methacrylate-b-poly (D, l-lactide-co-glycolide) is constructed into core-shell structured nanoparticles for co-encapsulation of two cytotoxic drugs and absorption of small interfering RNAs against survivin. The drug-loaded nanoparticles are surface-coated with polydopamine which confers the nanoformulation with photothermal activity and protects drugs from burst release. Under tumor-localized laser irradiation, polydopamine generates sufficient heat, resulting in nanoparticle collapse and instant drug release within the tumor. The combination strategy of photothermal, chemo-, and gene therapy leads to triple-negative breast cancer regression, with a decrease in the chemotherapeutic drug dosage to about 1/20 of conventional dose. This study establishes a powerful nanoplatform for precisely controlled combination therapy, with dramatic improvement of therapeutic efficacy and negligible side effects.

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Li Y et al.

Targeted polydopamine nanoparticles enable photoacoustic imaging guided chemo-photothermal synergistic therapy of tumor

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Near infrared light responsive nanoparticles can transfer the absorbed NIR optical energy into heat, offering a desirable platform for photoacoustic (PA) imaging guided photothermal therapy (PTT) of tumor. However, a key issue in exploiting this platform is to achieve optimal combination of PA imaging and PTT therapy in single nanoparticle. Here, we demonstrate that the biodegradable polydopamine nanoparticles (PDAs) are excellent PA imaging agent and highly efficient for PTT therapy, thus enabling the optimal combination of PA imaging and PTT therapy in single nanoparticle. Upon modification with arginine-glycine-aspartic-cysteine acid (RGDC) peptide, PDA-RGDC can successfully target tumor site. Moreover, PDA-RGDC can load a chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin (DOX), whose release can be triggered by near-infrared (NIR) light and pH dual-stimuli. The in vitro and in vivo experiments show that this platform can deliver anti-cancer drugs to target cells, release them intracellular upon NIR irradiation, and effectively eliminate tumors through chemo-photothermal synergistic therapeutic effect. Our results offer a way to harness PDA-based theranostic agents to achieve PA imaging-guided cancer therapy.

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Cheng X et al.

Light-Triggered Assembly of Gold Nanoparticles for Photothermal Therapy and Photoacoustic Imaging of Tumors In Vivo

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photocross-linkable Au nanoparticles are prepared through surface decoration of photolabile diazirine moieties. Both in vitro and in vivo studies indicate that the light-triggered cross-linking can dramatically shift the surface plasmon resonance of Au nanoparticles to near-infrared regions, which in consequence remarkably enhances their efficacy for photothermal therapy and photoacoustic imaging of tumors in vivo.

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Sun Y et al.

Multifunctional polycationic photosensitizer conjugates with rich hydroxyl groups for versatile water-soluble photodynamic therapy nanoplatforms

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) has already shown immense potential in antitumor fields due to its low systemic toxicity and negligible drug resistance. However, the clinical application of current photosensitizers is still restricted by the low singlet oxygen yield or insolubility. Herein, series of star-like hydroxyl-rich polycations (Pc-PGEA/Pc) with flanking phthalocyanine (Pc) were proposed for effective water-soluble photosensitizers. The designed Pc-PGEA/Pc polymers consist of one Pc core and four ethanolamine and Pc-difunctionalized poly(glycidyl methacrylate) arms. The strong π-π stacking and hydrophobicity of introduced Pc units drive the amphipathic Pc-PGEA/Pc polymers to self-assemble into well-defined cationic nanoparticles. Such Pc-PGEA/Pc nanoparticles present impressive photodynamic therapy effects under moderate irradiation and remarkable photoacoustic imaging (PAI) ability. These kinds of nanoparticles also exhibit good performance as gene vectors. The PAI ability given by the proper wavelength absorbance of Pc units provides one promising method for PAI-guided combined antitumor therapy. The present work would contribute valuable information for the development of new strategies of visible antitumor therapy.

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Bhutiani N et al.

Noninvasive Imaging of Colitis Using Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Currently, several noninvasive modalities, including MRI and PET, are being investigated to identify early intestinal inflammation, longitudinally monitor disease status, or detect dysplastic changes in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Here, we assess the applicability and utility of multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) in evaluating the presence and severity of colitis. Methods: C57B/6 mice were untreated or treated with Bacteroides fragilis and antibiotic-mediated depletion of intestinal flora to initiate colitis. Mice were imaged using MSOT to detect intestinal inflammation. Intestinal inflammation identified with MSOT was also confirmed using both colonoscopy and histology. Results: Mice with bacterial colitis demonstrated a temporally associated increase in mesenteric and colonic vascularity with an increase in mean signal intensity of oxygenated hemoglobin (P = 0.004) by MSOT 2 d after inoculation. These findings were significantly more prominent 7 d after inoculation, with increased mean signal intensity of oxygenated hemoglobin (P = 0.0002) and the development of punctate vascular lesions on the colonic surface, which corresponded to changes observed on colonoscopy as well as histology. Conclusion: With improvements in depth of tissue penetration, MSOT may hold potential as a sensitive, accurate, noninvasive imaging tool in the evaluation of patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Kannadorai RK et al.

Noninvasive in vivo multispectral optoacoustic imaging of apoptosis in triple negative breast cancer using indocyanine green conjugated phosphatidylserine monoclonal antibody

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Noninvasive and nonradioactive imaging modality to track and image apoptosis during chemotherapy of triple negative breast cancer is much needed for an effective treatment plan. Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a biomarker transiently exposed on the outer surface of the cells during apoptosis. Its externalization occurs within a few hours of an apoptotic stimulus by a chemotherapy drug and leads to presentation of millions of phospholipid molecules per apoptotic cell on the cell surface. This makes PS an abundant and accessible target for apoptosis imaging. In the current work, we show that PS monoclonal antibody tagged with indocyanine green (ICG) can help to track and image apoptosis using multispectral optoacoustic tomography <italic<in vivo</italic<. When compared to saline control, the doxorubicin treated group showed a significant increase in uptake of ICG-PS monoclonal antibody in triple negative breast tumor xenografted in NCr nude female mice. Day 5 posttreatment had the highest optoacoustic signal in the tumor region, indicating maximum apoptosis and the tumor subsequently shrank. Since multispectral optoacoustic imaging does not involve the use of radioactivity, the longer the circulatory time of the PS antibody can be exploited to monitor apoptosis over a period of time without multiple injections of commonly used imaging probes such as Tc-99m Annexin V or F-18 ML10. The proposed apoptosis imaging technique involving multispectral optoacoustic tomography, monoclonal antibody, and near-infrared absorbing fluorescent marker can be an effective tool for imaging apoptosis and treatment planning.

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Chuah SY et al.

Structural and functional 3D mapping of skin tumours with non-invasive multispectral optoacoustic tomography

CancerClinicalMSOT

BACKGROUND: Recent advances in technology have enabled the development of various non-invasive skin imaging tools to aid real-time diagnosis of both benign and malignant skin tumours, minimizing the need for invasive skin biopsy. Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) is a recently developed non-invasive imaging tool, which offers the unique capacity for high resolution three dimensional (3D) optical mapping of tissue by further delivering highly specific optical contrast from a depth of several millimetres to centimetres in living tissues. MSOT enables volumetric, spectroscopic differentiation of tissue, both in vivo and in real time, with and without the application of biomarker-specific probes, and is further able of providing spatial maps of skin chromophores, as well as underlying blood vasculature.

METHODS: Three patients with suspicious skin tumours consented to have their lesions imaged with MSOT prior to excision. The histological findings and measurements were compared.

RESULTS: We demonstrated the first in vivo clinical use of MSOT for 3D reconstruction of skin tumours in three patients with good histological correlation.

CONCLUSION: Our findings confirm the potential benefit of the new imaging method in guiding surgical intervention to achieve a more precise excision with better clearance and lower relapse rates. It can also potentially help to shorten the duration of Mohs’ micrographic surgery. Further large-scale studies are necessary to ensure correlation between MSOT and histology.

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Mao F et al.

Ultrasmall Biocompatible Bi2Se3 Nanodots for Multimodal Imaging-Guided Synergistic Radiophotothermal Therapy against Cancer

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Sub-3 nm ultrasmall Bi2Se3 nanodots stabilized with bovine serum albumin were successfully synthesized through a reaction of hydroxyethylthioselenide with bismuth chloride in aqueous solution under ambient conditions. These nanodots exhibit a high photothermal conversion efficiency (η = 50.7%) due to their strong broad absorbance in the near-infrared (NIR) window and serve as a nanotheranostic agent for photoacoustic imaging and photothermal cancer therapy. In addition, they also display radioenhancement with a ratio of 6% due to their sensitivity to X-rays, which makes them a potential sensitizer for radiotherapy. These nanodots were also labled with radioactive 99mTc for quantification of their biodistribution by single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT)/computed tomography (CT) imaging. Our work demonstrates the potential of ultrasmall Bi2Se3 nanodots in multimodal imaging-guided synergetic radiophotothermal therapy of cancer.

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Yang W et al.

Albumin-Bioinspired Gd:CuS Nanotheranostic Agent for In Vivo Photoacoustic/Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Tumor-Targeted Photothermal Therapy

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Photothermal therapy (PTT) is attracting increasing interest and becoming more widely used for skin cancer therapy in the clinic, as a result of its noninvasiveness and low systemic adverse effects. However, there is an urgent need to develop biocompatible PTT agents, which enable accurate imaging, monitoring, and diagnosis. Herein, a biocompatible Gd-integrated CuS nanotheranostic agent (Gd:CuS@BSA) was synthesized via a facile and environmentally friendly biomimetic strategy, using bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a biotemplate at physiological temperature. The as-prepared Gd:CuS@BSA nanoparticles (NPs) with ultrasmall sizes (ca. 9 nm) exhibited high photothermal conversion efficiency and good photostability under near-infrared (NIR) laser irradiation. With doped Gd species and strong tunable NIR absorbance, Gd:CuS@BSA NPs demonstrate prominent tumor-contrasted imaging performance both on the photoacoustic and magnetic resonance imaging modalities. The subsequent Gd:CuS@BSA-mediated PTT result shows high therapy efficacy as a result of their potent NIR absorption and high photothermal conversion efficiency. The immune response triggered by Gd:CuS@BSA-mediated PTT is preliminarily explored. In addition, toxicity studies in vitro and in vivo verify that Gd:CuS@BSA NPs qualify as biocompatible agents. A biodistribution study demonstrated that the NPs can undergo hepatic clearance from the body. This study highlights the practicality and versatility of albumin-mediated biomimetic mineralization of a nanotheranostic agent and also suggests that bioinspired Gd:CuS@BSA NPs possess promising imaging guidance and effective tumor ablation properties, with high spatial resolution and deep tissue penetration.

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Shang W et al.

Core-Shell Gold Nanorod@Metal-Organic Framework Nanoprobes for Multimodality Diagnosis of Glioma

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

One of the most significant challenges in the diagnosis of brain cancer is efficient in vivo imaging using nontoxic nanoprobes. Core-shell gold nanorod@MIL-88(Fe) nanostars are successfully constructed as triple-modality imaging (computed tomography/magnetic-resonance imaging/photoacoustic imaging) nanoprobes that show low cytotoxicity, high contrast, high penetration depth, and high spatial resolution for accurate and noninvasive imaging and diagnosis of gliomas.

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Wittmann A et al.

Sphingomyelin Synthase 1 Is Essential for Male Fertility in Mice

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Sphingolipids and the derived gangliosides have critical functions in spermatogenesis, thus mutations in genes involved in sphingolipid biogenesis are often associated with male infertility. We have generated a transgenic mouse line carrying an insertion in the sphingomyelin synthase gene Sms1, the enzyme which generates sphingomyelin species in the Golgi apparatus. We describe the spermatogenesis defect of Sms1-/- mice, which is characterized by sloughing of spermatocytes and spermatids, causing progressive infertility of male homozygotes. Lipid profiling revealed a reduction in several long chain unsaturated phosphatidylcholins, lysophosphatidylcholins and sphingolipids in the testes of mutants. Multi-Spectral Optoacoustic Tomography indicated blood-testis barrier dysfunction. A supplementary diet of the essential omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid diminished germ cell sloughing from the seminiferous epithelium and restored spermatogenesis and fertility in 50% of previously infertile mutants. Our findings indicate that SMS1 has a wider than anticipated role in testis polyunsaturated fatty acid homeostasis and for male fertility.

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Gao S et al.

A non-viral suicide gene delivery system traversing the blood brain barrier for non-invasive glioma targeting treatment

CancerNeuroPreclinicalMSOT

Herpes simplex virus type I thymidine kinase gene (HSV-TK) in viral vector is a promising strategy against glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). However, the biosafety risk restricts its application in clinic. In this work, poly (l-lysine)-grafted polyethylenimine (PEI-PLL), which combines the high transfection efficiency of polyethylenimine and the good biodegradability of poly (l-lysine), was adopted as the non-viral vector backbone. Angiopep-2, a blood brain barrier (BBB) crossing and glioma targeting bifunctional peptide was conjugated on PEI-PLL via polyethyleneglycol (PEG) and designated as PPA. The optimal transfection ratio of PPA/DNA complexes nanoparticles (PPA NPs) was firstly characterized. Next, the glioma targeting of the PPA NPs was confirmed through cellular uptake and transfection analysis. The in vivo imaging studies demonstrated that the PPA NPs could not only penetrate BBB but also accumulate in striatum and cortex via systemic administration. Moreover, the PPA/HSV-TK NPs showed remarkably anti-glioma effect and survival benefit in an invasive orthotopic human GBM mouse model through inhibiting proliferation and inducing apoptosis (p<0.05 vs control). This study firstly illustrated that the cationic polymer PPA could be exploited as an efficient gene vector to cross the BBB, and innovatively provided a potential non-viral nanomedicine for noninvasive suicide gene therapy in the glioma treatment.

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Chen J et al.

Gold-Nanorods-Based Gene Carriers with the Capability of Photoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

NanoPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Multifunctional nanoparticles with high gene transfection activity, low cytotoxicity, photoacoustic imaging ability, and photothermal therapeutic properties were prepared by conjugating low-molecular-weight polyethylenimine onto the surfaces of gold nanorods through the formation of stable S–Au bonded conjugates. Results revealed that the gene transfection efficiency of the prepared polyethylenimine-modified gold nanorods (GNRs-PEI1.8k) was higher and their cytotoxicity was less than those of the commercial reagent PEI25k. GNRs-PEI1.8k could also be potentially used as a photoacoustic and photothermal reagent to evaluate the pharmacokinetics, biodistribution, and antitumor effects of gene/drug nanoparticles. Therefore, GNRs-PEI1.8k can be considered a promising candidate for the clinical diagnosis and treatment of tumors.

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Gottschalk S et al.

Correlation between volumetric oxygenation responses and electrophysiology identifies deep thalamocortical activity during epileptic seizures

NeuroPreclinicalMSOT

Visualization of whole brain activity during epileptic seizures is essential for both fundamental research into the disease mechanisms and the development of efficient treatment strategies. It has been previously discussed that pathological synchronization originating from cortical areas may reinforce backpropagating signaling from the thalamic neurons, leading to massive seizures through enhancement of high frequency neural activity in the thalamocortical loop. However, the study of deep brain neural activity is challenging with the existing functional neuroimaging methods due to lack of adequate spatiotemporal resolution or otherwise insufficient penetration into subcortical areas. To investigate the role of thalamocortical activity during epileptic seizures, we developed a new functional neuroimaging framework based on spatiotemporal correlation of volumetric optoacoustic hemodynamic responses with the concurrent electroencephalogram recordings and anatomical brain landmarks. The method is shown to be capable of accurate three-dimensional mapping of the onset, spread, and termination of the epileptiform events in a 4-aminopyridine acute model of focal epilepsy. Our study is the first to demonstrate entirely noninvasive real-time visualization of synchronized epileptic foci in the whole mouse brain, including the neocortex and subcortical structures, thus opening new vistas in systematic studies toward the understanding of brain signaling and the origins of neurological disorders.

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Ni Y et al.

Naphthalene-fused BODIPY near-infrared dye as a stable contrast agent for in vivo photoacoustic imaging

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) has emerged as an advantageous modality with high resolution and deep tissue penetration. However, its application is limited by the lack of available contrast agents. In this work, we report the synthesis of a naphthalene fused BODIPY dimer Na-BD, and the impact of the electronic structure on the oxidative cyclo-dehydrogenation process was systematically studied. Na-BD exhibited intense NIR absorption, much better photo-stability and higher PA activity compared to commercial ICG dye, which makes it an excellent contrast agent for PAI. Moreover, the in vivo PAI studies based on Na-BD loaded BSA nanoparticles were carried out and they demonstrated a significant passive targeting capacity by exploiting the enhanced permeability and retention effect in the tumor region.

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Lv G et al.

Near-Infrared Emission CuInS/ZnS Quantum Dots: All-in-One Theranostic Nanomedicines with Intrinsic Fluorescence/Photoacoustic Imaging for Tumor Phototherapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Many theranostic nanomedicines (NMs) have been fabricated by packaging imaging and therapeutic moieties together. However, concerns about their potential architecture instability and pharmacokinetic complexity remain major obstacles to their clinical translation. Herein, we demonstrated the use of CuInS/ZnS quantum dots (ZCIS QDs) as “all-in-one” theranostic nanomedicines that possess intrinsic imaging and therapeutic capabilities within a well-defined nanostructure. ZCIS QDs were exploited for multispectral optical tomography (MSOT) imaging and synergistic PTT/PDT therapy. Due to the intrinsic fluorescence/MSOT imaging ability of the ZCIS QDs, their size-dependent distribution profiles were successfully visualized at tumor sites in vivo. Our results showed that the smaller nanomedicines (ZCIS NMs-25) have longer tumor retention times, higher tumor uptake, and deeper tumor penetration than the larger nanomedicines (ZCIS NMs-80). The ability of ZCIS QDs to mediate photoinduced tumor ablation was also explored. Our results verified that under a single 660 nm laser irradiation, the ZCIS NMs had simultaneous inherent photothermal and photodynamic effects, resulting in high therapy efficacy against tumors. In summary, the ZCIS QDs as “all-in-one” versatile nanomedicines allow high therapeutic efficacy as well as noninvasively monitoring tumor site localization profiles by imaging techniques and thus hold great potential as precision theranostic nanomedicines.

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Li Z et al.

Multimodal Imaging-Guided Antitumor Photothermal Therapy and Drug Delivery Using Bismuth Selenide Spherical Sponge

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Elaborately designed biocompatible nanoplatforms simultaneously having diverse therapeutic and imaging functions are highly desired for biomedical applications. Herein, a Bi2Se3 nanoagent with a special morphology as a nanoscale spherical sponge (NSS) has been fabricated and investigated in vitro and in vivo. The highly porous NSS exhibits strong, steady, and broad-band absorbance in the near-infrared range as well as high efficiency and stability of photothermal conversion, resulting in high antitumor efficacy for photothermal therapy (PTT). Together with a high X-ray attenuation coefficient (218% that of the clinically used iopromide), the NSS shows excellent performance on triple-modal high-contrast imaging, including X-ray-computed tomography, multispectral optoacoustic tomography, and infrared thermal imaging. Furthermore, the high surface area and porous structure impart the NSS a competent drug loading capability as high as 600% of that on Bi2Se3 nanoplates, showing a bimodal pH/photothermal sensitive drug release and pronounced synergetic effects of thermo-chemotherapy with a tumor inhibition ratio even higher than that of PTT alone (∼94.4% vs ∼66.0%). Meanwhile, the NSS is highly biocompatible with rather low in vitro/in vivo toxicity and high stability, at variance with easily oxidized Bi2Se3 nanoagents reported previously. Such biocompatible single-component theranostic nanoagents produced by a facile synthesis and highly integrated multimodal imaging and multiple therapeutic functions may have substantial potentials for clinical antitumor applications. This highly porous nanostructure with a large fraction of void space may allow versatile use of the NSS, for example, in catalysis, gas sensing, and energy storage, in addition to accommodating drugs and other biomolecules.

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Du Y et al.

DNA-Nanostructure-Gold-Nanorod Hybrids for Enhanced In Vivo Optoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

A functional cancer theranostic nanoplatform is developed, specifically tailored toward the optoacoustic modality by combining gold nanorods with DNA nanostructures (D-AuNR). DNA origami is used as an efficient delivery vehicle owing to its prominent tumor-targeting property. The D-AuNR hybrids display an enhanced tumor diagnostic sensitivity by improved optoacoustic imaging and excellent photothermal therapeutic properties in vivo.

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Gao C et al.

Near-infrared dye-loaded magnetic nanoparticles as photoacoustic contrast agent for enhanced tumor imaging

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Objective: Photoacoustic (PA) tomography (PAT) has attracted extensive interest because of its optical absorption contrast and ultrasonic detection. This study aims to develop a biocompatible and biodegradable PA contrast agent particularly promising for clinical applications in human body. Methods: In this study, we presented a PA contrast agent: 1, 2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine- N-[methoxy (polyethylene glycol)] (DSPE-PEG)-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) nanoparticles (NPs) loaded with indocyanine green (ICG). We used ICG and SPIO NPs because both drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Given the strong absorption of near-infrared laser pulses, SPIO@DSPE-PEG/ICG NPs with a uniform diameter of ~28 nm could significantly enhance PA signals. Results: We demonstrated the contrast enhancement of these NPs in phantom and animal experiments, in which the in vivo circulation time of SPIO@DSPE-PEG/ICG NPs was considerably longer than that of free ICG. These novel NPs also displayed a high efficiency of tumor targeting. Conclusions: SPIO@DSPE-PEG/ICG NPs are promising PAT contrast agents for clinical applications.

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Zhang S et al.

Ambient Aqueous Synthesis of Ultrasmall PEGylated Cu2−xSe Nanoparticles as a Multifunctional Theranostic Agent for Multimodal Imaging Guided Photothermal Therapy of Cancer

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Ultrasmall PEGylated Cu2–xSe nanoparticles with strong near‐infrared absorption have been prepared by an ambient aqueous method. The resultant water‐soluble and biocompatible nanoparticles are demonstrated to be a novel nanotheranostic agent for effective deep‐tissue photoacoustic imaging, computed tomography imaging, single‐photon emission computed tomography imaging, and photothermal therapy of cancer.

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Chekkoury A et al.

High-Resolution Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography of the Vascularization and Constitutive Hypoxemia of Cancerous Tumors

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Diversity of the design and alignment of illumination and ultrasonic transducers empower the fine scalability and versatility of optoacoustic imaging. In this study, we implement an innovative high-resolution optoacoustic mesoscopy for imaging the vasculature and tissue oxygenation within subcutaneous and orthotopic cancerous implants of mice in vivo through acquisition of tomographic projections over 180° at a central frequency of 24 MHz. High-resolution volumetric imaging was combined with multispectral functional measurements to resolve the exquisite inner structure and vascularization of the entire tumor mass using endogenous and exogenous optoacoustic contrast. Evidence is presented for constitutive hypoxemia within the carcinogenic tissue through analysis of the hemoglobin absorption spectra and distribution. Morphometric readouts obtained with optoacoustic mesoscopy have been verified with high-resolution ultramicroscopic studies. The findings described herein greatly extend the applications of optoacoustic mesoscopy toward structural and multispectral functional measurements of the vascularization and hemodynamics within solid tumors in vivo and are of major relevance to basic and preclinical oncological studies in small animal models.

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Salvador-Morales C et al.

Mechanistic Studies on the Self-Assembly of PLGA Patchy Particles and Their Potential Applications in Biomedical Imaging

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Currently, several challenges prevent poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) particles from reaching clinical settings. Among these is a lack of understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of these particles. We have been studying in depth the formation of patchy polymeric particles. These particles are made of PLGA and lipid-polymer functional groups. They have unique patch-core-shell structural features: hollow or solid hydrophobic cores and a patchy surface. Previously, we identified the shear stress as the most important parameter in a patchy particle’s formation. Here, we investigated in detail the role of shear stress in the patchy particle’s internal and external structure using an integrative experimental and computational approach. By cross-sectioning the multipatch particles, we found lipid-based structures embedded in the entire PLGA matrix, which represents a unique finding in the PLGA field. By developing novel computational fluid dynamics and molecular dynamics simulations, we found that the shear stress determines the internal structure of the patchy particles. Equally important, we discovered that these particles emit a photoacoustic (PA) signal in the optical clinical imaging window. Our results show that particles with multiple patches emit a higher PA signal than single-patch particles. This phenomenon most likely is due to the fact that multipatchy particles absorb more heat than single-patchy particles as shown by differential scanning calorimetry analysis. Furthermore, we demonstrated the use of patchy polymeric particles as photoacoustic molecular probes both in vitro and in vivo studies. The fundamental studies described here will help us to design more effective PLGA carriers for a number of medical applications as well as to accelerate their medical translation.

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Wang S et al.

Metal-Organic-Framework-Derived Mesoporous Carbon Nanospheres Containing Porphyrin-Like Metal Centers for Conformal Phototherapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Mesoporous carbon nanospheres containing porphyrin‐like metal centers (denoted as “PMCS”) are successfully synthesized by the pyrolysis of an imidazolate framework using a mesoporous‐silica protection strategy. The PMCS allow infrared and photoacoustic imaging and synergetic photothermal therapy/photodynamic therapy derived from the porphyrin‐like moieties, offering the possibility of real‐time monitoring of therapeutic processes and image‐guided precise conformal phototherapy. PMCS thus represent a novel multifunctional theranostic platform for improved treatment efficiencies.

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Zhu H et al.

Monodisperse Dual Plasmonic Au@Cu2-xE (E= S, Se) Core@Shell Supraparticles: Aqueous Fabrication, Multimodal Imaging, and Tumor Therapy at in Vivo Level

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

We herein report aqueous fabrication of well-defined Au@Cu2-xE (E = S, Se) core@shell dual plasmonic supraparticles (SPs) for multimodal imaging and tumor therapy at the in vivo level. By means of a modified self-limiting self-assembly based strategy, monodisperse core@shell dual plasmonic SPs, including spherical Au@Cu2-xS SPs, Au@Cu2-xSe SPs, and rod-like Au@Cu2-xS SPs, are reliably and eco-friendly fabricated in aqueous solution. Due to plasmonic coupling from the core and shell materials, the as-prepared hybrid products possess an extremely large extinction coefficient (9.32 L g-1 cm-1 for spherical Au@Cu2-xS SPs) at 808 nm, which endows their excellent photothermal effect. Furthermore, the hybrid core@shell SPs possess the properties of good biocompatibility, low nonspecific interactions, and high photothermal stability. So, they show favorable performances for photoacoustic imaging and X-ray computed tomography imaging as well as photothermal therapy of tumors, indicating their application potentials in biological field.

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Peng D et al.

Precise diagnosis in different scenarios using photoacoustic and fluorescence imaging with dual-modality nanoparticles

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photoacoustic imaging and fluorescence molecular imaging are emerging as important research tools for biomedical studies. Photoacoustic imaging offers both strong optical absorption contrast and high ultrasonic resolution, and fluorescence molecular imaging provides excellent superficial resolution, high sensitivity, high throughput, and the ability for real-time imaging. Therefore, combining the imaging information of both modalities can provide comprehensive in vivo physiological and pathological information. However, currently there are limited probes available that can realize both fluorescence and photoacoustic imaging, and advanced biomedical applications for applying this dual-modality imaging approach remain underexplored. In this study, we developed a dual-modality photoacoustic-fluorescence imaging nanoprobe, ICG-loaded Au@SiO2, which was uniquely designed, consisting of gold nanorod cores and indocyanine green with silica shell spacer layers to overcome fluorophore quenching. This nanoprobe was examined by both PAI and FMI for in vivo imaging on tumor and ischemia mouse models. Our results demonstrated that the nanoparticles can specifically accumulate at the tumor and ischemic areas and be detected by both imaging modalities. Moreover, this dual-modality imaging strategy exhibited superior advantages for a precise diagnosis in different scenarios. The new nanoprobe with the dual-modality imaging approach holds great potential for diagnosis and stage classification of tumor and ischemia related diseases.

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Zeiderman MR et al.

Acidic pH-Targeted Chitosan-Capped Mesoporous Silica Coated Gold Nanorods Facilitate Detection of Pancreatic Tumors via Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

We present a cancer nanomedicine based on acidic pH targeted gold nanorods designed for multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT). We have designed gold nanorods coated with mesoporous silica and subsequently capped with chitosan (CMGs). We have conjugated pH-sensitive variant 7 pHLIP peptide to the CMGs (V7-CMG) to provide targeting specificity to the acidic tumor microenvironment. In vitro, treatment of S2VP10 and MiaPaca2 cells with V7-CMG containing gemcitabine resulted in significantly greater cytotoxicity with 97% and 96.5% cell death, respectively than gemcitabine alone 60% and 76% death at pH 6.5 (S2VP10 pH 6.5 p = 0.009; MiaPaca2 pH 6.5 p = 0.0197). In vivo, the V7-CMGs provided the contrast and targeting specificity necessary for MSOT of retroperitoneal orthotopic pancreatic tumors. In the in vivo S2VP10 model, the V7-CMG particle preferentially accumulated within the tumor at 17.1 MSOT a.u. signal compared with 0.7 MSOT a.u. in untargeted CMG control in tumor (P = 0.0002). Similarly, V7-CMG signal was 9.34 MSOT a.u. in the S2013 model compared with untargeted CMG signal at 0.15 MSOT a.u. (P = 0.0004). The pH-sensitivity of the targeting pHLIP peptide and chitosan coating makes the particles suitable for simultaneous in vivo tumor imaging and drug delivery.

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Taruttis A et al.

Optoacoustic Imaging of Human Vasculature: Feasibility by Using a Handheld Probe

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

Purpose To investigate whether multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) developed for deep-tissue imaging in humans could enable the clinical assessment of major blood vessels and microvasculature.

Materials and Methods The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University Medical Center Groningen (CCMO-NL-43587) and registered in the Dutch National Trial Registry (NTR4125). The authors designed a real-time handheld optoacoustic scanner for human use, based on a concave 8-MHz transducer array, attaining 135° angular coverage. They applied a single-pulse-frame (SPF) sequence, which enabled motion insensitive optoacoustic imaging during handheld operation. SPF optoacoustic imaging was applied to imaging arteries and microvascular landmarks in the lower extremities of 10 healthy volunteers. The diameters selected microvessels were determined by measuring the full width at half maximum through the vessels in the MSOT images. Duplex ultrasonography was performed on the same landmarks in seven of the 10 volunteers for subjective comparison to the corresponding optoacoustic images.

Results Optoacoustic imaging resolved blood vessels as small as 100 µm in diameter and within 1 cm depth. Additionally, MSOT provided images reflecting hemoglobin oxygen saturation in blood vessels, clearly identifying arteries and veins, and was able to identify pulsation in arteries during imaging. Larger blood vessels, specifically the tibialis posterior and the dorsalis pedis arteries, were also visualized with MSOT.

Conclusion Handheld MSOT was found to be capable of clinical vascular imaging, providing visualization of major blood vessels and microvasculature and providing images of hemoglobin oxygen saturation and pulsation.

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Sharkey J et al.

Imaging technologies for monitoring the safety, efficacy and mechanisms of action of cell-based regenerative medicine therapies in models of kidney disease

PharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

The incidence of end stage kidney disease is rising annually and it is now a global public health problem. Current treatment options are dialysis or renal transplantation, which apart from their significant drawbacks in terms of increased morbidity and mortality, are placing an increasing economic burden on society. Cell-based Regenerative Medicine Therapies (RMTs) have shown great promise in rodent models of kidney disease, but clinical translation is hampered due to the lack of adequate safety and efficacy data. Furthermore, the mechanisms whereby the cell-based RMTs ameliorate injury are ill-defined. For instance, it is not always clear if the cells directly replace damaged renal tissue, or whether paracrine effects are more important. Knowledge of the mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of cell therapies is crucial because it could lead to the development of safer and more effective RMTs in the future. To address these questions, novel in vivo imaging strategies are needed to monitor the biodistribution of cell-based RMTs and evaluate their beneficial effects on host tissues and organs, as well as any potential adverse effects. In this review we will discuss how state-of-the-art imaging modalities, including bioluminescence, magnetic resonance, nuclear imaging, ultrasound and an emerging imaging technology called multispectral optoacoustic tomography, can be used in combination with various imaging probes to track the fate and biodistribution of cell-based RMTs in rodent models of kidney disease, and evaluate their effect on renal function.

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Dima A et al.

In-vivo handheld optoacoustic tomography of the human thyroid

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

We interrogated the application and imaging features obtained by non-invasive and handheld optoacoustic imaging of the thyroid in-vivo. Optoacoustics can offer complementary contrast to ultrasound, by resolving optical absorption-based and offering speckle-free imaging. In particular we inquired whether vascular structures could be better resolved using optoacoustics. For this reason we developed a compact handheld version of real-time multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) using a detector adapted to the dimensions and overall geometry of the human neck. For delivering high-fidelity performance, a curved ultrasound array was employed. The feasibility of handheld thyroid MSOT was assessed on healthy human volunteers at single wavelength. The results were contrasted to ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound images obtained from the same volunteers. Imaging findings demonstrate the overall MSOT utility to accurately retrieve optical features consistent with the thyroid anatomy and the morphology of surrounding structures.

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Comenge J et al.

Preventing Plasmon Coupling between Gold Nanorods Improves the Sensitivity of Photoacoustic Detection of Labeled Stem Cells in Vivo

NanoPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Gold nanorods are excellent contrast agents for imaging technologies which rely on near-infrared absorption such as photoacoustic imaging. For cell tracking applications, the cells of interest are labeled with the contrast agent prior to injection. However, after uptake into cells by endocytosis, the confinement and high concentration in endosomes leads to plasmon band broadening and reduced absorbance. This would limit the potential of multispectral optoacoustic tomography in terms of spectral processing and, consequently, sensitivity. Here, we show that steric hindrance provided by silica coating of the nanorods leads to the preservation of their spectral properties and improved photoacoustic sensitivity. This strategy allowed the detection and monitoring of as few as 2 × 104 mesenchymal stem cells in mice over a period of 15 days with a high spatial resolution. Importantly, the silica-coated nanorods did not affect the viability or differentiation potential of the transplanted mesenchymal stem cells.

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Li L et al.

Microenvironment-Driven Bioelimination of Magnetoplasmonic Nanoassemblies and Their Multimodal Imaging-Guided Tumor Photothermal Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Biocompatibility and bioelimination are basic requirements for systematically administered nanomaterials for biomedical purposes. Gold-based plasmonic nanomaterials have shown potential applications in photothermal cancer therapy. However, their inability to biodegrade has impeded practical biomedical application. In this study, a kind of bioeliminable magnetoplasmonic nanoassembly (MPNA), assembled from an Fe3O4 nanocluster and gold nanoshell, was elaborately designed for computed tomography, photoacoustic tomography, and magnetic resonance trimodal imaging-guided tumor photothermal therapy. A single dose of photothermal therapy under near-infrared light induced a complete tumor regression in mice. Importantly, MPNAs could respond to the local microenvironment with acidic pH and enzymes where they accumulated including tumors, liver, spleen, etc., collapse into small molecules and discrete nanoparticles, and finally be cleared from the body. With the bioelimination ability from the body, a high dose of 400 mg kg(-1) MPNAs had good biocompatibility. The MPNAs for cancer theranostics pave a way toward biodegradable bio-nanomaterials for biomedical applications.

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Zhao

Hierarchical Nanohybrids of Gold Nanorods and PGMA‐Based Polycations for Multifunctional Theranostics

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Organic/inorganic nanohybrids hold great importance in fabricating multifunctional theranostics to integrate therapeutic functions with real‐time imaging. Although Au nanorods (NRs) have been employed for theranostics, complicated design of materials limits their practical applications. In this work, new multifunctional theranostic agents are designed and synthesized employing Au NRs with desirable near‐infrared absorbance as the cores. A facile “grafting‐onto” approach is put forward to prepare the series of hierarchical nanohybrids (Au‐PGEA and Au‐PGED) of Au NRs and poly(glycidyl methacrylate)‐based polycations. The resultant nanohybrids can be utilized as gene carriers with high gene transfection performances. The structural effect of polycations on gene transfection is investigated in detail, and Au‐PGEA with abundant hydroxyl groups on the surface exhibits superior performance. Au‐PGEA nanohybrids are further validated to possess remarkable capability of combined photothermal therapy (PTT) and gene therapy (GT) for complementary tumor treatment. Moreover, significantly enhanced computed tomography (CT)/photoacoustic (PA) signals are detected both in vitro and in vivo, verifying the potential of Au‐PGEA for dual‐modal imaging with precise and accurate information. Therefore, these multifunctional nanohybrids fabricated from a simple and straightforward strategy are promising for in vivo dual‐modal CT/PA imaging guided GT/PTT therapy with high antitumor efficacy.

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Dong X et al.

Mesoporous Bamboo Charcoal Nanoparticles as a New Near-Infrared Responsive Drug Carrier for Imaging-Guided Chemotherapy/Photothermal Synergistic Therapy of Tumor

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Near-infrared-(NIR)-light-triggered photothermal nanocarriers have attracted much attention for the construction of more smart and effective therapeutic platforms in nanomedicine. Here, a multifunctional drug carrier based on a low cost, natural, and biocompatible material, bamboo charcoal nanoparticles (BCNPs), which are prepared by the pyrolysis of bamboo followed by physical grinding and ultrasonication is reported. The as-prepared BCNPs with porous structure possess not only large surface areas for drug loading but also an efficient photothermal effect, making them become both a suitable drug carrier and photothermal agent for cancer therapy. After loading doxorubicin (DOX) into the BCNPs, the resulting DOX-BCNPs enhance drug potency and more importantly can overcome the drug resistance of DOX in a MCF-7 cancer cell model by significantly increasing cellular uptake while remarkably decreasing drug efflux. The in vivo synergistic effect of combining chemotherapy and photothermal therapy in this drug delivery system is also demonstrated. In addition, the BCNPs enhance optoacoustic imaging contrast due to their high NIR absorbance. Collectively, it is demonstrated that the BCNP drug delivery system constitutes a promising and effective nanocarrier for simultaneous bioimaging and chemo-photothermal synergistic therapy of cancer.

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Wen L et al.

Ultrasmall Biocompatible WO3- x Nanodots for Multi-Modality Imaging and Combined Therapy of Cancers

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Ultrasmall biocompatible WO3 – x nanodots with an outstanding X-ray radiation sensitization effect are prepared, and demonstrated to be applicable for multi-modality tumor imaging through computed tomography and photoacoustic imaging (PAI), and effective cancer treatment combining both photothermal therapy and radiation therapy.

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McNally LR et al.

Current and Emerging Clinical Applications of Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) in Oncology

Breast CancerMelanomaClinicalMSOT

Accurate detection and characterization of cancers are key for providing timely intervention and effective treatments. Current imaging technologies are particularly limited when it comes to detecting very small tumors in vivo, i.e., very early cancers or metastases, differentiating viable tumor from surrounding dead tumor tissue, and evaluating tumor metabolism within tissue. Optoacoustic imaging offers potential solutions to these imaging problems because of its ability to image optical absorption properties of both intrinsic tissue chromophores and exogenous contrast agents without the involvement of ionizing radiation. Optoacoustic imaging uses pulsed laser to induce localized thermoelastic expansion that generates acoustic waves detectable by an ultrasound transducer. To date, multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) has primarily been used in preclinical research; however, its use in translational and clinical research is expanding. This review focuses on current and emerging applications of optoacoustic imaging for molecular imaging of cancer using both exogenous and endogenous contrast agents and sheds light on potential future clinical applications.

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Chen Q et al.

Albumin-NIR dye self-assembled nanoparticles for photoacoustic pH imaging and pH-responsive photothermal therapy effective for large tumors

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Real-time in vivo pH imaging in the tumor, as well as designing therapies responsive to the acidic tumor microenvironment to achieve optimized therapeutic outcomes have been of great interests in the field of nanomedicine. Herein, a pH-responsive near-infrared (NIR) croconine (Croc) dye is able to induce the self-assembly of human serum albumin (HSA) to form HSA-Croc nanoparticles useful not only for real-time ratiometric photoacoustic pH imaging of the tumor, but also for pH responsive photothermal therapy with unexpected great performance against tumors with relatively large sizes. Such HSA-Croc nanoparticles upon intravenous injection exhibit efficient tumor homing. As the decrease of pH, the absorption of Croc at 810 nm would increase while that at 680 nm would decrease, allowing real-time pH sensing in the tumor by double-wavelength ratiometric photoacoustic imaging, which reveals the largely decreased pH inside the cores of large tumors. Moreover, utilizing HSA-Croc as a pH-responsive photothermal agent, effective photothermal ablation of large tumors is realized, likely owing to the more evenly distributed intratumoral heating compared to that achieved by conventional pH-insensitive photothermal agents, which are effective mostly for tumors with small sizes.

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Dou R et al.

The polyvinylpyrrolidone functionalized rGO/Bi2S3 nanocomposite as a near-infrared light-responsive nanovehicle for chemo-photothermal therapy of cancer

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Recently, a combination of chemotherapy with photothermal therapy (PTT) has received great attention for the construction of a near infrared (NIR)-controlled drug-delivery system for synergistic treatment of cancer, ultimately resulting in the enhancement of the therapeutic efficacy of anticancer drugs. Here, we developed a novel system for synergistic cancer therapy based on bismuth sulfide (Bi2S3) nanoparticle-decorated graphene functionalized with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) (named PVP-rGO/Bi2S3). The as-prepared PVP-rGO/Bi2S3 nanocomposite has a high storage capacity for anticancer drugs (∼500% for doxorubicin (DOX)) and simultaneously has perfect photothermal conversion efficiency in the NIR region. The results of the in vitro accumulative drug release test manifests that the PVP-rGO/Bi2S3 nanocomposite could be applied as a dual pH- and NIR-responsive nanotherapeutic carrier for the controlled release of DOX from DOX-loaded PVP-rGO/Bi2S3 (PVP-rGO/Bi2S3@DOX). Moreover, the treatment of both cancer cells (including Hela, MCF-7, HepG2 and BEL-7402 cells) and BEL-7402 tumor-bearing mice with the PVP-rGO/Bi2S3@DOX complex followed by NIR laser irradiation produces significantly greater inhibition of cancer cell growth than the treatment with NIR irradiation alone or DOX alone, exhibiting a synergistic antitumor effect. Furthermore, due to the obvious NIR and X-ray absorption ability, the PVP-rGO/Bi2S3 nanocomposite could be employed as a dual-modal contrast agent for both photoacoustic tomography and X-ray computed tomography imaging. In addition to the good biocompatibility, the PVP-rGO/Bi2S3 nanocomposite paves a potential way for the fabrication of theranostic agents for dual-modal imaging-guided chemo-photothermal combined cancer therapy.

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Neuschmelting V et al.

Lymph Node Micrometastases and In-Transit Metastases from Melanoma: In Vivo Detection with Multispectral Optoacoustic Imaging in a Mouse Model

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Purpose To study whether multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) can serve as a label-free imaging modality for the detection of lymph node micrometastases and in-transit metastases from melanoma on the basis of the intrinsic contrast of melanin in comparison to fluorine 18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT). Materials and Methods The study was approved by the institutional animal care and use committee. Sequential MSOT was performed in a mouse B16F10 melanoma limb lymph node metastasis model (n = 13) to survey the development of macro-, micro- and in-transit metastases (metastases that are in transit from the primary tumor site to the local nodal basin) in vivo. The in vitro limit of detection was assessed in a B16F10 cell phantom. Signal specificity was determined on the basis of a simultaneous lymphadenitis (n = 4) and 4T1 breast cancer lymph metastasis (n = 2) model. MSOT was compared with intravenous FDG PET/CT. The diagnosis was assessed with histologic examination. Differences in the signal ratio (metastatic node to contralateral limb) between the two modalities were determined with the two-tailed paired t test. Results The mean signal ratios acquired with MSOT in micrometastases (2.5 ± 0.3, n = 6) and in-transit metastases (8.3 ± 5.8, n = 4) were higher than those obtained with FDG PET/CT (1.1 ± 0.5 [P < .01] and 1.3 ± 0.6 [P < .05], respectively). MSOT was able to help differentiate even small melanoma lymph node metastases from the other lymphadenopathies (P < .05 for both) in vivo, whereas FDG PET/CT could not (P > .1 for both). In vitro, the limit of detection was at an approximate cell density of five cells per microliter (P < .01). Conclusion MSOT enabled detection of melanoma lymph node micrometastases and in-transit metastases undetectable with FDG PET/CT and helped differentiate melanoma metastasis from other lymphadenopathies.

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Shi Y et al.

Targeted Aucore-Agshell nanorods as a dual-functional contrast agent for photoacoustic imaging and photothermal therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Optimizing contrast enhancement is essential for producing specific signals in biomedical imaging and therapy. The potential of using Aucore-Agshell nanorods (Au@Ag NRs) as a dual-functional theranostic contrast agent is demonstrated for effective cancer imaging and treatments. Due to its strong NIR absorption and high efficiency of photothermal conversion, effects of both photoacoustic tomography (PAT) and photothermal therapy (PTT) are enhanced significantly. The PAT signal grows by 45.3% and 82% in the phantom and in vivo experiments, respectively, when compared to those using Au NRs. In PTT, The maximum increase of tissue temperature treated with Au@Ag NRs is 22.8 °C, twice that with Au NRs. Results of the current study show the feasibility of using Au@Ag NRs for synergetic PAT with PTT. And it will enhance the potential application on real-time PAT guided PTT, which will greatly benefit the customized PTT treatment of cancer.

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Maccarinelli F et al.

Photoacoustic molecular imaging for in vivo liver iron quantitation

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

A recent study showed that ferritin is a suitable endogenous contrast agent for photoacoustic molecular imaging in cultured mammalian cells. We have therefore tested whether this imaging technique can be used for in vivo quantification of iron in mouse livers. To verify this hypothesis, we used multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) to image albino CD1 mice before and after experimental iron loading. Postmortem assays showed that the iron treatment caused a 15-fold increase in liver iron and a 40-fold increase in liver ferritin levels, while in vivo longitudinal analysis using MSOT revealed just a 1.6-fold increase in the ferritin/iron photoacoustic signal in the same animals. We conclude that MSOT can monitor changes in ferritin/iron levels in vivo, but its sensitivity is much lower than that of ex vivo iron assays.

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Cao J et al.

In Vivo Chemiluminescent Imaging Agents for Nitroreductase and Tissue Oxygenation

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Tissue oxygenation is a driving parameter of the tumor microenvironment and hypoxia can be a prognostic indicator of aggressiveness, metastasis, and poor response to therapy. Here we report a chemiluminescence imaging (CLI) agent based on the oxygen-dependent reduction of a nitroaromatic spiroadamantane 1,2-dioxetane scaffold. Hypoxia ChemiLuminescent Probe 2 (HyCL-2) responds to nitroreductase with ~170-fold increase in luminescence intensity, with high selectivity for enzymatic reductase versus other small molecule reductants. HyCL-2 can image exogenous nitroreductase in vitro and in vivo in living mice and total luminescent intensity is increased by ~5-fold under low oxygen conditions. HyCL-2 is demonstrated to report on tumor oxygenation during oxygen challenge in H1299 lung tumor xenografts grown in a murine model as independently confirmed using multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) imaging of hemoglobin oxygenation.

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Attia AB et al.

Multispectral optoacoustic and MRI coregistration for molecular imaging of orthotopic model of human glioblastoma

CancerNeuroPreclinicalMSOT

Multi-modality imaging methods are of great importance in oncologic studies for acquiring complementary information, enhancing the efficacy in tumor detection and characterization. We hereby demonstrate a hybrid non-invasive in vivo imaging approach of utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) for molecular imaging of glucose uptake in an orthotopic glioblastoma in mouse. The molecular and functional information from MSOT can be overlaid on MRI anatomy via image coregistration to provide insights into probe uptake in the brain, which is verified by ex vivo fluorescence imaging and histological validation. In vivo MSOT and MRI imaging of an orthotopic glioma mouse model injected with IRDye800-2DG. Image coregistration between MSOT and MRI enables multifaceted (anatomical, functional, molecular) information from MSOT to be overlaid on MRI anatomy images to derive tumor physiological parameters such as perfusion, haemoglobin and oxygenation.

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Kazakeviciut A et al.

Multispectral Photoacoustic Imaging Artifact Removal and Denoising Using Time Series Model-Based Spectral Noise Estimation

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

Multispectral photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is well-known to be prone to various noise and artifacts. A type of noise in multispectral PAI may be similar to that present in hyperspectral imaging (HSI) such as pattern noise due to calibration error [1], while another type of noise, such as additive electronic noise, comes from system thermal noise or electromagnetic interference [2]. Multispectral PAI artifacts can be due to motion or image reconstruction. Motion-based artifacts arise due to movement of an object such as breathing or heart beat [3]. Reconstruction-based artifacts can arise due to limited angle issues in backprojection reconstruction algorithms. For instance, spatial undersampling can lead to streak artifacts during image reconstruction due to limited number of elements in the transducer array. In these contexts, denoising multispectral PAI and removing artifacts is a crucial procedure for further image processing and analysis such as image segmentation, spectral unmixing or co-registration.

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Liu K et al.

Polymeric nanosystems for near-infrared multispectral photoacoustic imaging: Synthesis, characterization and in vivo evaluation

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is a new biomedical imaging modality based on light-triggered ultrasound emission. For in vivo application, materials with good photoacustic response to illumination in the near-infrared spectrum and suited tissue delivery strategies are needed. We developed polymeric, near-infrared responsive nanomaterials tuned for in vivo application based on oxazoline block copolymer chemistry by living cationic polymerization and a related functional transformation, loaded with a new photonic material, hydrophobized phthalocyanine Zinc complex (H-PcZn), that was efficiently encapsulated into the nanoparticles by self-assembly. The resulting nanoparticles P-NPs and N-NPs bear positive, and negative surface charge, respectively. After physicochemical characterization, applicability of the two nanoparticles as photoacoustic contrast agents was evaluated in vitro and in phantom experiments, where they exhibited excellent PAI contrast. In vivo distribution and visualization of P-NPs and N-NPs following i.v. injection imaged by PAI was confirmed by cryosection fluorescence analysis and showed that the materials accumulated in tissues within 1 h with differential tissue distribution. This pilot study thus describes synthesis of a novel polymeric photoacoustic nanosystem and demonstrates its potential for multimodal, photoacoustic in vivo imaging and for fluorescence imaging.

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Liu J et al.

Rapid Degradation and High Renal Clearance of Cu3BiS3 Nanodots for Efficient Cancer Diagnosis and Photothermal Therapy in Vivo

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

A key challenge for the use of inorganic nanomedicines in clinical applications is their long-term accumulation in internal organs, which raises the common concern of the risk of adverse effects and inflammatory responses. It is thus necessary to rationally design inorganic nanomaterials with proper accumulation and clearance mechanism in vivo. Herein, we prepared ultrasmall Cu3BiS3 nanodots (NDs) as a single-phased ternary bimetal sulfide for photothermal cancer therapy guided by multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) due to bismuth’s excellent X-ray attenuation coefficient. We then monitored and investigated their absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. We also used CT imaging to demonstrate that Cu3BiS3 NDs can be quickly removed through renal clearance, which may be related to their small size, rapid chemical transformation, and degradation in an acidic lysosomal environment as characterized by synchrotron radiation-based X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy. These results reveal that Cu3BiS3 NDs act as a simple but powerful “theranostic” nanoplatform for MSOT/CT imaging-guided tumor ablation with excellent metabolism and rapid clearance that will improve safety for clinical applications in the future.

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Anees P et al.

Real time monitoring of aminothiol level in blood using a near-infrared dye assisted deep tissue fluorescence and photoacoustic bimodal imaging

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

The development of molecular probes for the detection and imaging of biological thiols is a major step forward diagnosing various types of diseases. Previously reported thiol imaging strategies were mainly based on a single mode of imaging with a limited application in vivo. In this work, we introduced an unsymmetrical near-infrared (NIR) squaraine dye (USq) as an exogenous contrast agent for photoacoustic and fluorescence bimodal imaging of thiol variations in live animals. USq exhibits a narrow absorption band at 680 nm that generates a photoacoustic signal and a strong NIR emission at 700 nm (ΦF = 0.27), which is applicable for deep tissue optical imaging. Both photoacoustic and fluorescence signals could selectively disappear in the presence of different thiols. Through in vitro and in vivo imaging studies, unique imaging capability of USq was demonstrated, and the effect of food uptake on the increased level of aminothiols in blood was confirmed.

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Sun C et al.

One-pot solventless preparation of PEGylated black phosphorus nanoparticles for photoacoustic imaging and photothermal therapy of cancer

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Black phosphorus (BP) nanostructures such as nanosheets and nanoparticles have attracted considerable attention in recent years due to their unique properties and great potential in various physical, chemical, and biological fields. In this article, water-soluble and biocompatible PEGylated BP nanoparticles with a high yield were prepared by one-pot solventless high energy mechanical milling technique. The resultant BP nanoparticles can efficiently convert near infrared (NIR) light into heat, and exhibit excellent photostability, which makes them suitable as a novel nanotheranostic agent for photoacoustic (PA) imaging and photothermal therapy of cancer. The in-vitro results demonstrate the excellent biocompatibility of PEGylated BP nanoparticles, which can be used for photothermal ablation of cancer cells under irradiation with NIR light. The in-vivo PA images demonstrate that these BP nanoparticles can be efficiently accumulated in tumors through the enhanced permeability retention effect. The resultant BP nanoparticles can be further utilized for photothermal ablation of tumors by irradiation with NIR light. The tumor-bearing mice were completely recovered after photothermal treatment with BP nanoparticles, in comparison with mice from control groups. Our research highlights the great potential of PEGylated BP nanoparticles in detection and treatment of cancer.

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Hu Y et al.

Multifunctional pDNA‐Conjugated Polycationic Au Nanorod‐Coated Fe3O4 Hierarchical Nanocomposites for Trimodal Imaging and Combined Photothermal/Gene Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

It is very desirable to design multifunctional nanocomposites for theranostic applications via flexible strategies. The synthesis of one new multifunctional polycationic Au nanorod (NR)‐coated Fe3O4 nanosphere (NS) hierarchical nanocomposite (Au@pDM/Fe3O4) based on the ternary assemblies of negatively charged Fe3O4 cores (Fe3O4‐PDA), polycation‐modified Au nanorods (Au NR‐pDM), and polycations is proposed. For such nanocomposites, the combined near‐infrared absorbance properties of Fe3O4‐PDA and Au NR‐pDM are applied to photoacoustic imaging and photothermal therapy. Besides, Fe3O4 and Au NR components allow the nanocomposites to serve as MRI and CT contrast agents. The prepared positively charged Au@pDM/Fe3O4 also can complex plasmid DNA into pDNA/Au@pDM/Fe3O4 and efficiently mediated gene therapy. The multifunctional applications of pDNA/Au@pDM/Fe3O4 nanocomposites in trimodal imaging and combined photothermal/gene therapy are demonstrated using a xenografted rat glioma nude mouse model. The present study demonstrates that the proper assembly of different inorganic nanoparticles and polycations is an effective strategy to construct new multifunctional theranostic systems.

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Neuschmelting V et al.

Performance of a Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) System equipped with 2D vs. 3D Handheld Probes for Potential Clinical Translation

CancerClinicalMSOT

A handheld approach to optoacoustic imaging is essential for the clinical translation. The first 2- and 3-dimensional handheld multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) probes featuring real-time unmixing have recently been developed. Imaging performance of both probes was determined in vitro and in a brain melanoma metastasis mouse model in vivo. T1-weighted MR images were acquired for anatomical reference. The limit of detection of melanoma cells in vitro was significantly lower using the 2D than the 3D probe. The signal decrease was more profound in relation to depth with the 3D versus the 2D probe. Both approaches were capable of imaging the melanoma tumors qualitatively at all time points. Quantitatively, the 2D approach enabled closer anatomical resemblance of the tumor compared to the 3D probe, particularly at depths beyond 3 mm. The 3D probe was shown to be superior for rapid 3D imaging and, thus, holds promise for more superficial target structures.

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Wu C et al.

A novel photoacoustic nanoprobe of ICG@PEG-Ag2S for atherosclerosis targeting and imaging in vivo

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Atherosclerosis is a major cause of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases that have high mortality and disability rates. Because of its unclear pathogenic mechanism and heterogeneous distribution feature, it is still a big challenge to achieve precise diagnosis and therapy of atherosclerosis at its early stage in vivo. Herein, we fabricated a new ICG@PEG-Ag2S nanoprobe by a simple self-assembly of DT-Ag2S QDs, amphipathic C18/PEG polymer molecules and ICG. The ICG@PEG-Ag2S nanoprobe showed relatively long blood retention and was selectively accumulated in the region of atherosclerotic plaque due to the lipophilicity of the C18 chain to the atherosclerosis microenvironment, and thus the atherosclerosis was real-time monitored by high contrast-enhanced photoacoustic (PA) imaging of ICG. Combining the high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and high spatial resolution fluorescence imaging of Ag2S QDs in the second near-infrared window (NIR-II) and related histological assessment in vitro, the feasibility of this new nanoprobe for atherosclerosis targeting in an Apoe(-/-) mouse model was verified. Additionally, hemolysis and coagulation assays of the ICG@PEG-Ag2S revealed its decent hemocompatibility and no histological changes were observed in the main organs of the mouse. Such a simple, multifunctional nanoprobe for targeting and PA imaging of atherosclerosis will have a great potential for future clinical applications.

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Zeng J et al.

pH-Responsive Fe(III)-Gallic Acid Nanoparticles for In Vivo Photoacoustic-Imaging-Guided Photothermal Therapy

NanoCancerPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

pH-responsive biocompatible Fe(III)-gallic acid nanoparticles with strong near-infrared absorbance are very stable in mild acidic conditions, but easily decomposed in neutral conditions, which enables the nanoparticles to be stable in a tumor and easily metabolized in other organs, thus providing a safe nanoplatform for in vivo photoacoustic imaging/photothermal therapy theranostic applications.

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Li LL et al.

Pathological-Condition-Driven Construction of Supramolecular Nanoassemblies for Bacterial Infection Detection

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

A pyropheophorbide-α-based building block (Ppa-PLGVRG-Van) can be used to construct self-aggregated superstructures in vivo for highly specific and sensitive diagnosis of bacterial infection by noninvasive photoacoustic tomography. This in vivo supramolecular chemistry approach opens a new avenue for efficient, rapid, and early-stage disease diagnosis with high sensitivity and specificity.

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Gurka MK et al.

Identification of pancreatic tumors in vivo with ligand-targeted, pH responsive mesoporous silica nanoparticles by multispectral optoacoustic tomography

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Despite significant efforts to translate nanotechnology for cancer application, lack of identification of biodistribution/accumulation of these nanovehicles in vivo remains a substantial barrier for successful implementation of theranostic nanoparticles in the clinic. The purpose of the study was to develop a tumor-targeted theranostic nanovehicle for pancreatic cancer detectable by multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT). To improve the tumor specificity of our mesoporous silica nanoparticle (MSN), we utilized a dual targeting strategy: 1) an elevated tumor receptor, urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (UPAR), and 2) the acidic tumor microenvironment. The tumor specificity of the MSN particle was improved with the addition of both chitosan, targeting acidic pH, and urokinase plasminogen activator (UPA), targeting UPAR. Drug release assays confirmed pH responsive release of gemcitabine in vitro. The UPAR specific binding of MSN-UPA nanoparticles was confirmed by reduction in fluorescence signal following MSN-UPA nanoparticle treatment in UPAR positive cells blocked with a UPAR-blocking antibody. Based upon Indocyanine Green encapsulation within the nanoparticles, UPA ligand targeted MSNs demonstrated increased intensity compared to untargeted MSNs at both pH7.4 (7×) and 6.5 (20×); however the signal was much more pronounced at a pH of 6.5 using tissue phantoms (p<0.05). In vivo, MSN-UPA particles demonstrated orthotopic pancreatic tumor specific accumulation compared to liver or kidney as identified using multispectral optoacoustic tomography (p<0.05) and confirmed by ex vivo analysis. By tracking in vivo nanoparticle biodistribution with MSOT, it was shown that pH responsive, ligand targeted MSNs preferentially bind to pancreatic tumors for payload delivery.

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Zhou H et al.

Superstable Magnetic Nanoparticles in Conjugation with Near-Infrared Dye as a Multimodal Theranostic Platform

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Near-infrared (NIR) dyes functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) have been widely applied in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), NIR fluorescence imaging, drug delivery, and magnetic hyperthermia. However, the stability of MNPs and NIR dyes in water is a key problem to be solved for long-term application. In this study, a kind of superstable iron oxide nanoparticles was synthesized by a facile way, which can be used as T1 and T2 weighted MRI contrast agent. IR820 was grafted onto the surface of nanoparticles by 6-amino hexanoic acid to form IR820-CSQ-Fe conjugates. Attached IR820 showed increased stability in water at least for three months and an enhanced ability of singlet oxygen production of almost double that of free dyes, which will improve its efficiency for photodynamic therapy. Meanwhile, the multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) and NIR imaging ability of IR820-CSQ-Fe will greatly increase the accuracy of disease detection. All of these features will broaden the application of this material as a multimodal theranostic platform.

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Yong Y et al.

Tungsten Sulfide Quantum Dots as Multifunctional Nanotheranostics for In Vivo Dual-Modal Image-Guided Photothermal/Radiotherapy Synergistic Therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Designing a multifunctional nanomedicine for integration of precise diagnosis and effective treatment of tumors is desirable but remains a great challenge. Here, we report a multifunctional nanomedicine based on WS2 quantum dots (QDs), which was prepared by a facile and “green” method through physical grinding and ultrasonication. The as-obtained WS2 QDs with small size (3 nm) possess not only significant X-ray computed tomography (CT)/photoaccoustic (PA) imaging signal enhancement but also remarkable photothermal therapy (PTT)/radiotherapy (RT) synergistic effect for tumor treatment. With CT/PA imaging and the synergistic effect between PTT and RT, the tumor could be accurately positioned and thoroughly eradicated in vivo after intravenous injection of WS2 QDs. Moreover, hematoxylin and eosin staining, blood hematology, and biochemistry analysis revealed no noticeable toxicity of WS2 QDs in vitro and in vivo, which confirmed that WS2 QDs possess good biocompatibility. This multifunctional nanoparticle could play an important role in facilitating simultaneously multimodal imaging and synergistic therapy between PTT and RT to achieve better therapeutic efficacy.

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Stoffels I et al.

Metastatic status of sentinel lymph nodes in melanoma determined noninvasively with multispectral optoacoustic imaging

MelanomaClinicalMSOT

Sentinel lymph node (SLN) excision is included in various cancer guidelines to identify microscopic metastatic disease. Although effective, SLN excision is an invasive procedure requiring radioactive tracing. Novel imaging approaches assessing SLN metastatic status could improve or replace conventional lymph node excision protocols. In our first-in-human study, we used noninvasive multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) to image SLNs ex vivo and in vivo in patients with melanoma, to determine metastatic status. MSOT significantly improved the tumor metastasis detection rate in excised SLN (506 SLNs from 214 melanoma patients) compared with the conventional EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer) Melanoma Group protocol (22.9% versus 14.2%). MSOT combined with the near-infrared fluorophore indocyanine green reliably visualized SLNs in vivo in 20 patients, up to 5-cm penetration and with 100% concordance with (99m)Tc-marked SLN lymphoscintigraphy. MSOT identified cancer-free SLNs in vivo and ex vivo without a single false negative (189 total lymph nodes), with 100% sensitivity and 48 to 62% specificity. Our findings indicate that a noninvasive, nonradioactive MSOT-based approach can identify and determine SLN status and confidently rule out the presence of metastasis. The study further demonstrates that optoacoustic imaging strategies can improve the identification of SLN metastasis as an alternative to current invasive SLN excision protocols.

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Yin W et al.

Tumor specific liposomes improve detection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma in vivo using optoacoustic tomography

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer often goes undiagnosed until late stage disease due in part to suboptimal early detection. Our goal was to develop a Syndecan-1 tagged liposome containing fluorescent dye as an improved contrast agent for detection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma in vivo using multispectral optoacoustic tomography.

RESULTS: The diagnostic capabilities and specificity to pancreatic adenocarcinoma of Syndecan-1 targeted liposomes were evaluated both in vitro and in vivo. Immunocytochemistry showed that liposomes preferentially bound to and released their contents into cells expressing high levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor. We determined that the contents of the liposome were released into the cell as noted by the change in propidium iodide fluorescence from green to red based upon nucleic acid binding. In an orthotopic mouse model, the liposomes preferentially targeted the pancreatic tumor with little off-target binding in the liver and spleen. Peak accumulation of the liposomes in the tumor occurred at 8 h post-injection. Multispectral optoacoustic tomographic imaging was able to provide high-resolution 3D images of the tumor and liposome location. Ex vivo analysis showed that non-targeted liposomes accumulated in the liver, suggesting that specificity of the liposomes for pancreatic adenocarcinoma was due to the presence of the Syndecan-1 ligand.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that Syndecan-1 liposomes were able to release cargo into IGF1-R expressing tumor cells. The Syndecan-1 liposomes demonstrated tumor specificity in orthotopic pancreatic cancer as observed using multispectral optoacoustic tomography with reduced kidney and liver uptake. By targeting the liposome with Syndecan-1, this nanovehicle has potential as a targeted theranostic nanoparticle for both drug and contrast agent delivery to pancreatic tumors.

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Ford SJ et al.

Structural and Functional Analysis of Intact Hair Follicles and Pilosebaceous Units by Volumetric Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

Visualizing anatomical and functional features of hair follicle development in their unperturbed environment is key in understanding complex mechanisms of hair pathophysiology and in discovery of novel therapies. Of particular interest is in vivo visualization of the intact pilosebaceous unit, vascularization of the hair bulb, and evaluation of the hair cycle, particularly in humans. Furthermore, noninvasive visualization of the sebaceous glands could offer crucial insight into the pathophysiology of follicle-related diseases and dry or seborrheic skin, in particular by combining in vivo imaging with other phenotyping, genotyping, and microbial analyses. The available imaging techniques are limited in their ability for deep tissue in vivo imaging of hair follicles and lipid-rich sebaceous glands in their entirety without biopsy. We developed a noninvasive, painless, and risk-free volumetric multispectral optoacoustic tomography method for deep tissue three-dimensional visualization of whole hair follicles and surrounding structures with high spatial resolution below 80 μm. Herein we demonstrate on-the-fly assessment of key morphometric parameters of follicles and lipid content as well as functional oxygenation parameters of the associated capillary bed. The ease of handheld operation and versatility of the newly developed approach poise it as an indispensable tool for early diagnosis of disorders of the pilosebaceous unit and surrounding structures, and for monitoring the efficacy of cosmetic and therapeutic interventions.

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Schwarz M et al.

Three-dimensional multispectral optoacoustic mesoscopy reveals melanin and blood oxygenation in human skin in vivo

Other ApplicationsClinicalRSOM

Optical imaging plays a major role in disease detection in dermatology. However, current optical methods are limited by lack of three-dimensional detection of pathophysiological parameters within skin. It was recently shown that single-wavelength optoacoustic (photoacoustic) mesoscopy resolves skin morphology, i.e. melanin and blood vessels within epidermis and dermis. In this work we employed illumination at multiple wavelengths for enabling three-dimensional multispectral optoacoustic mesoscopy (MSOM) of natural chromophores in human skin in vivo operating at 15-125 MHz. We employ a per-pulse tunable laser to inherently co-register spectral datasets, and reveal previously undisclosed insights of melanin, and blood oxygenation in human skin. We further reveal broadband absorption spectra of specific skin compartments. We discuss the potential of MSOM for label-free visualization of physiological biomarkers in skin in vivo.

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Mercep E. et al.

Whole-body live mouse imaging by hybrid reflection-mode ultrasound and optoacoustic tomography

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

We present a hybrid preclinical imaging scanner that optimally supports image acquisition in both reflection-mode ultrasonography and optoacoustic (OA) tomography modes. The system comprises a quasi-full-ring tomographic geometry capable of the simultaneous dual-mode imaging through entire cross sections of mice with in-plane spatial resolution in the range of 150 and 350 μm in the respective OA and ultrasound (US) imaging modes with an imaging speed of up to 10 two-dimensional frames per second. Three-dimensional whole-body data is subsequently rendered by rapid scanning of the imaged plane. The system further incorporates rapid laser wavelength tuning for real-time acquisition of multispectral OA data, which enables studies of longitudinal dynamics as well as fast kinetics and biodistribution of contrast agents. In vivo imaging performance is demonstrated by label-free hybrid anatomical scans through living mice, as well as real-time visualization of optical contrast agent perfusion. By setting new standards for whole-body tomographic imaging performance in both the OA and pulse-echo US modes, the developed hybrid imaging approach is expected to benefit numerous applications where the availability of high-quality structural information provided by the tomographic reflection-mode US can ease interpretation of the functional and molecular imaging results attained by the OA modality.

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Mercep E. et al.

Hybrid optoacoustic tomography and pulse-echo ultrasonography using concave arrays

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

Implementation of hybrid imaging using optoacoustic tomography (OAT) and ultrasound (US) brings together the important advantages and complementary features of both methods. However, the fundamentally different physical contrast mechanisms of the two modalities may impose significant difficulties in the optimal tomographic data acquisition and image formation strategies. We investigate the applicability of the commonly applied imaging geometries for acquisition and reconstruction of hybrid optoacoustic tomography and pulse–echo ultrasound (OPUS) images. Optimization of the ultrasound image formation strategy using concave array geometry was implemented using a synthetic aperture method combined with spatial compounding. Experimental validation was performed using a custom-made multiplexer unit executing switching between the two modalities employing the same transducer array. A variety of array probes with different angular coverages were subsequently tested, including arrays for clinical hand-held imaging as well as stationary arrays for tomographic small animal imaging. The results demonstrate that acquisition of OAT data by mere addition of an illumination source to the common US linear array geometry may result in significant limited-view artifacts and overall loss of image quality. On the other hand, unsatisfactory US image quality is achieved with tomographic arrays solely optimized for OAT image acquisition without considering the optimal transmit–receive beamforming parameters. Optimal selection of the array pitch size, tomographic coverage and spatial compounding parameters has achieved here an accurate hybrid imaging performance, which was experimentally showcased in tissuemimicking phantoms, post-mortem mice, and hand-held imaging of a healthy volunteer. The efficient combination of the two modalities in a single imaging device reveals the true power of functional and molecular imaging capacities of OAT in addition to the morphological and functional imaging capabilities of US.

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An Q et al.

Multifunctional Magnetic Gd3+‐Based Coordination Polymer Nanoparticles: Combination of Magnetic Resonance and Multispectral Optoacoustic Detections for Tumor‐Targeted Imaging in vivo

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

To overcome traditional barriers in optical imaging and microscopy, optoacoustic‐imaging has been changed to combine the accuracy of spectroscopy with the depth resolution of ultrasound, achieving a novel modality with powerful in vivo imaging. However, magnetic resonance imaging provides better spatial and anatomical resolution. Thus, a single hybrid nanoprobe that allows for simultaneous multimodal imaging is significant not only for cutting edge research in imaging science, but also for accurate clinical diagnosis. A core‐shell‐structured coordination polymer composite microsphere has been designed for in vivo multimodality imaging. It consists of a Fe3O4 nanocluster core, a carbon sandwiched layer, and a carbocyanine‐GdIII (Cy‐GdIII) coordination polymer outer shell (Fe3O4@C@Cy‐GdIII). Folic acid‐conjugated poly(ethylene glycol) chains are embedded within the coordination polymer shell to achieve extended circulation and targeted delivery of probe particles in vivo. Control of Fe3O4 core grain sizes results in optimal r2 relaxivity (224.5 × 10–3 m−1 s‐1) for T2‐weighted magnetic resonance imaging. Cy‐GdIII coordination polymers are also regulated to obtain a maximum 25.1% of Cy ligands and 5.2% of GdIII ions for near‐infrared fluorescence and T1‐weighted magnetic resonance imaging, respectively. The results demonstrate their impressive abilities for targeted, multimodal, and reliable imaging.

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Scarfe l et al.

Measures of kidney function by minimally invasive techniques correlate with histological glomerular damage in SCID mice with adriamycin-induced nephropathy

PharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Maximising the use of preclinical murine models of progressive kidney disease as test beds for therapies ideally requires kidney function to be measured repeatedly in a safe, minimally invasive manner. To date, most studies of murine nephropathy depend on unreliable markers of renal physiological function, exemplified by measuring blood levels of creatinine and urea, and on various end points necessitating sacrifice of experimental animals to assess histological damage, thus counteracting the principles of Replacement, Refinement and Reduction. Here, we applied two novel minimally invasive techniques to measure kidney function in SCID mice with adriamycin-induced nephropathy. We employed i) a transcutaneous device that measures the half-life of intravenously administered FITC-sinistrin, a molecule cleared by glomerular filtration; and ii) multispectral optoacoustic tomography, a photoacoustic imaging device that directly visualises the clearance of the near infrared dye, IRDye 800CW carboxylate. Measurements with either technique showed a significant impairment of renal function in experimental animals versus controls, with significant correlations with the proportion of scarred glomeruli five weeks after induction of injury. These technologies provide clinically relevant functional data and should be widely adopted for testing the efficacies of novel therapies. Moreover, their use will also lead to a reduction in experimental animal numbers.

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Kimbrough CW et al.

Targeting Acidity in Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma: Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography Detects pH-Low Insertion Peptide Probes In Vivo

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

BACKGROUND: pH-low insertion peptides (pHLIP) can serve as a targeting moiety that enables pH-sensitive probes to detect solid tumors. Using these probes in conjunction with multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) is a promising approach to improve imaging for pancreatic cancer.

METHODS: A pH-sensitive pHLIP (V7) was conjugated to 750 NIR fluorescent dye and evaluated as a targeted probe for pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The pH-insensitive K7 pHLIP served as an untargeted control. Probe binding was assessed in vitro at pH 7.4, 6.8, and 6.6 using human pancreatic cell lines S2VP10 and S2013. Using MSOT, semiquantitative probe accumulation was then assessed in vivo with a murine orthotopic pancreatic adenocarcinoma model.

RESULTS: In vitro, the V7-750 probe demonstrated significantly higher fluorescence at pH 6.6 compared with pH 7.4 (S2VP10, P = 0.0119; S2013, P = 0.0160), whereas no difference was observed with the K7-750 control (S2VP10, P = 0.8783; S2013, P = 0.921). In the in vivo S2VP10 model, V7-750 probe resulted in 782.5 MSOT a.u. signal compared with 5.3 MSOT a.u. in K7-750 control in tumor (P = 0.0001). Similarly, V7-750 probe signal was 578.3 MSOT a.u. in the S2013 model compared with K7-750 signal at 5.1 MSOT a.u. (P = 0.0005). There was minimal off-target accumulation of the V7-750 probe within the liver or kidney, and probe distribution was confirmed with ex vivo imaging.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with pH-insensitive controls, V7-750 pH-sensitive probe specifically targets pancreatic adenocarcinoma and has minimal off-target accumulation. The noninvasive detection of pH-targeted probes by means of MSOT represents a promising modality to improve the detection and monitoring of pancreatic cancer.

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Deán-Ben XL et al.

Volumetric hand-held optoacoustic angiography as a tool for real-time screening of dense breast

Breast CancerClinicalMSOT

Existing mammographic screening solutions are generally associated with several major drawbacks, such as exposure to ionizing radiation or insufficient sensitivity in younger populations with radiographically-dense breast. Even when combined with ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging, X-Ray mammography may still attain unspecific or false positive results. Thus, development of new breast imaging tools represents a timely medical challenge. We report on a new approach to high-resolution functional and anatomical breast angiography using volumetric hand-held optoacoustic tomography, which employs light intensities safe for human use. Experiments in young healthy volunteers with fibroglandular-dominated dense breasts revealed the feasibility of rendering three-dimensional images representing vascular anatomy and functional blood oxygenation parameters at video rate. Sufficient contrast was achieved at depths beyond 2 cm within dense breasts without compromising the real-time imaging performance. The suggested solution may thus find applicability as a standalone or supplemental screening tool for early detection and follow-up of carcinomas in radiographically-dense breasts. Volumetric handheld optoacoustic tomography scanner uses safe pulses of near-infrared light to render three-dimensional images of deep vascular anatomy, blood oxygenation and breast parenchyma at video rate.

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Dinish US et al.

Single Molecule with Dual Function on Nanogold: Biofunctionalized Construct for In Vivo Photoacoustic Imaging and SERS Biosensing

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Multimodal imaging provides complimentary information that is advantageous in studying both cellular and molecular mechanisms in vivo, which has tremendous potential in pre‐clinical research and clinical translational imaging. It is desirable to design probes for multimodal imaging that can be administered minimally but provides multifaceted information. Herein, we demonstrate the complementary dual functional ability of a nanoconstruct for molecular imaging in both photoacoustic (PA) and surface‐enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) biosensing simultaneously in tandem. To realize this, a group of NIR active organic molecules are designed and synthesized that possess both SERS and PA activity. Nanoconstructs realized by anchoring such molecules onto gold nanoparticles are demonstrated for targeting cancer biomarkers in vivo while providing complimentary information about biodistribution and targeting efficiency. In future, such nanoconstructs could play a major role in identifying surgical margins and also for disease monitoring in translational medicine.

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Liu Z et al.

An efficient nano-based theranostic system for multi-modal imaging-guided photothermal sterilization in gastrointestinal tract

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

Since understanding the healthy status of gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) is of vital importance, clinical implementation for GI tract-related disease have attracted much more attention along with the rapid development of modern medicine. Here, a multifunctional theranostic system combining X-rays/CT/photothermal/photoacoustic mapping of GI tract and imaging-guided photothermal anti-bacterial treatment is designed and constructed. PEGylated W18O49 nanosheets (PEG-W18O49) are created via a facile solvothermal method and an in situ probe-sonication approach. In terms of excellent colloidal stability, low cytotoxicity, and neglectable hemolysis of PEG-W18O49, we demonstrate the first example of high-performance four-modal imaging of GI tract by using these nanosheets as contrast agents. More importantly, due to their intrinsic absorption of NIR light, glutaraldehyde-modified PEG-W18O49 are successfully applied as fault-free targeted photothermal agents for imaging-guided killing of bacteria on a mouse infection model. Critical to pre-clinical and clinical prospects, long-term toxicity is further investigated after oral administration of these theranostic agents. These kinds of tungsten-based nanomaterials exhibit great potential as multi-modal contrast agents for directed visualization of GI tract and anti-bacterial agents for phothothermal sterilization.

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Song W et al.

Coadministration of Vascular Disrupting Agents and Nanomedicines to Eradicate Tumors from Peripheral and Central Regions

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

A strategy for enhancing the treatment efficacy of nanomedicines within the central region of solid tumors is developed by combining nanomedicines and free small-molecule vascular disrupting agents (VDAs). The nanomedicines (cis-diamminedichloroplatinum-loaded nanoparticles) primarily target cells at the tumor periphery whereas the free small-molecule VDA (combretastatin A4 disodium phosphate) efficiently kills the cancer cells within the central regions of the tumor.

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Omar M et al.

Pushing the optical imaging limits of cancer with multi-frequency-band raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM)

CancerPreclinicalRSOM

Angiogenesis is a central cancer hallmark, necessary for supporting tumor growth and metastasis. In vivo imaging of angiogenesis is commonly applied, to understand dynamic processes in cancer development and treatment strategies. However, most radiological modalities today assess angiogenesis based on indirect mechanisms, such as the rate of contrast enhancement after contrast agent administration. We studied the performance of raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM), to directly reveal the vascular network supporting melanoma growth in vivo, at 50 MHz and 100 MHz, through several millimeters of tumor depth. After comparing the performance at each frequency, we recorded, for the first time, high-resolution images of melanin tumor vasculature development in vivo, over a period of several days. Image validation was provided by means of cryo-slice sections of the same tumor after sacrificing the mice. We show how optoacoustic (photoacoustic) mesoscopy reveals a potentially powerful look into tumor angiogenesis, with properties and features that are markedly different than other radiological modalities. This will facilitate a better understanding of tumor’s angiogenesis, and the evaluation of treatment strategies.

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Ye S et al.

Engineering Gold Nanotubes with Controlled Length and Near‐Infrared Absorption for Theranostic Applications

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Important aspects in engineering gold nanoparticles for theranostic applications include the control of size, optical properties, cytotoxicity, biodistribution, and clearance. In this study, gold nanotubes with controlled length and tunable absorption in the near‐infrared (NIR) region have been exploited for applications as photothermal conversion agents and in vivo photoacoustic imaging contrast agents. A length‐controlled synthesis has been developed to fabricate gold nanotubes (NTs) with well‐defined shape (i.e., inner void and open ends), high crystallinity, and tunable NIR surface plasmon resonance. A coating of poly(sodium 4‐styrenesulfonate) (PSS) endows the nanotubes with colloidal stability and low cytotoxicity. The PSS‐coated Au NTs have the following characteristics: i) cellular uptake by colorectal cancer cells and macrophage cells, ii) photothermal ablation of cancer cells using single wavelength pulse laser irradiation, iii) excellent in vivo photoacoustic signal generation capability and accumulation at the tumor site, iv) hepatobiliary clearance within 72 h postintravenous injection. These results demonstrate that these PSS‐coated Au NTs have the ideal attributes to develop their potential as effective and safe in vivo imaging nanoprobes, photothermal conversion agents, and drug delivery vehicles. To the best of knowledge, this is the first in vitro and in vivo study of gold nanotubes.

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Song W et al.

Comprehensive studies of pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of indocyanine green and liposomal indocyanine green by multispectral optoacoustic tomography

NanoPharmacokineticsPreclinicalMSOT

Real-time and continuous monitoring of systemically administered agents is an important task in pharmaceutical development. Herein, we performed a real-time continuous study of the pharmacokinetics and biodistribution of indocyanine green (ICG) and liposomal indocyanine green (Lipo-ICG) in vivo by multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT). By comparing the blood clearance and uptake behavior of these two ICG formulations in liver, spleen, kidney and tumor, we showed that Lipo-ICG prolonged the retention time of ICG in blood, and resulted in enhanced accumulation and retention in liver, spleen, and tumor. The results obtained from the MSOT test provided a comprehensive and continuous view of the metabolic behavior of the injected agents in different formulations. The results may also be helpful for understanding this new imaging technique.

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Liu J et al.

Bismuth sulfide nanorods as a precision nanomedicine for in vivo multimodal imaging-guided photothermal therapy of tumor

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Here, we present a precision cancer nanomedicine based on Bi(2)S(3) nanorods (NRs) designed specifically for multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT)/X-ray computed tomography (CT)-guided photothermal therapy (PTT). The as-prepared Bi(2)S(3) NRs possess ideal photothermal effect and contrast enhancement in MSOT/CT bimodal imaging. These features make them simultaneously act as “satellite” and “precision targeted weapon” for the visual guide to destruction of tumors in vivo, realizing effective tumor destruction and metastasis inhibition after intravenous injection. In addition, toxicity screening confirms that Bi(2)S(3) NRs have well biocompatibility. This triple-modality-nanoparticle approach enables simultaneously precise cancer therapy and therapeutic monitoring.

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Balasundaram G et al.

Molecular photoacoustic imaging of breast cancer using an actively targeted conjugated polymer

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Conjugated polymers (CPs) are upcoming optical contrast agents in view of their unique optical properties and versatile synthetic chemistry. Biofunctionalization of these polymer-based nanoparticles enables molecular imaging of biological processes. In this work, we propose the concept of using a biofunctionalized CP for noninvasive photoacoustic (PA) molecular imaging of breast cancer. In particular, after verifying the PA activity of a CP nanoparticle (CP dots) in phantoms and the targeting efficacy of a folate-functionalized version of the same (folate-CP dots) in vitro, we systemically administered the probe into a folate receptor-positive (FR+ve) MCF-7 breast cancer xenograft model to demonstrate the possible application of folate-CP dots for imaging FR+ve breast cancers in comparison to CP dots with no folate moieties. We observed a strong PA signal at the tumor site of folate-CP dots-administered mice as early as 1 hour after administration as a result of the active targeting of the folate-CP dots to the FR+ve tumor cells but a weak PA signal at the tumor site of CP-dots-administered mice as a result of the passive accumulation of the probe by enhanced permeability and retention effect. We also observed that folate-CP dots produced ~4-fold enhancement in the PA signal in the tumor, when compared to CP dots. These observations demonstrate the great potential of this active-targeting CP to be used as a contrast agent for molecular PA diagnostic imaging in various biomedical applications.

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Attia AB et al.

Phthalocyanine photosensitizers as contrast agents for in vivo photoacoustic tumor imaging

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

There is a need for contrast agents for non-invasive diagnostic imaging of tumors. Herein, Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT) was employed to evaluate phthalocyanines commonly used in photodynamic therapy as photoacoustic contrast agents. We studied the photoacoustic activity of three water-soluble phthalocyanine photosensitizers: phthalocyanine tetrasulfonic acid (PcS4), Zn(II) phthalocyanine tetrasulfonic acid (ZnPcS4) and Al(III) phthalocyanine chloride tetrasulfonic acid (AlPcS4) in phantom and in tumor-bearing mice to investigate the biodistribution and fate of the phthalocyanines in the biological tissues. PcS4 was observed to grant good contrast between the different reticuloendothelial organs and accumulate in the tumor within an hour of post-administration. ZnPcS4 and AlPcS4 offered little contrast in photoacoustic signals between the organs. PcS4 is a promising photoacoustic contrast agent and can be exploited as a photodiagnostic agent.

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Press AT et al.

Cell type-specific delivery of short interfering RNAs by dye-functionalised theranostic nanoparticles

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Efficient delivery of short interfering RNAs reflects a prerequisite for the development of RNA interference therapeutics. Here, we describe highly specific nanoparticles, based on near infrared fluorescent polymethine dye-derived targeting moieties coupled to biodegradable polymers. The fluorescent dye, even when coupled to a nanoparticle, mimics a ligand for hepatic parenchymal uptake transporters resulting in hepatobiliary clearance of approximately 95% of the dye within 45 min. Body distribution, hepatocyte uptake and excretion into bile of the dye itself, or dye-coupled nanoparticles can be tracked by intravital microscopy or even non-invasively by multispectral optoacoustic tomography. Efficacy of delivery is demonstrated in vivo using 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase siRNA as an active payload resulting in a reduction of plasma cholesterol levels if siRNA was formulated into dye-functionalised nanoparticles. This suggests that organ-selective uptake of a near infrared dye can be efficiently transferred to theranostic nanoparticles allowing novel possibilities for personalised silencing of disease-associated genes.

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Zhang

Recent Advances in Near‐Infrared Absorption Nanomaterials as Photoacoustic Contrast Agents for Biomedical Imaging

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is an emerging whole‐body imaging modality offering high spatial resolution, deep penetration and high contrast in vivo. Signals for PAI are generated from contrast agents, where the laser‐generated optical energy is transferred to acoustic emissions and detected by an ultrasound transducer. A great deal of research over the past ten years has shown that near‐infrared absorption nanomaterials such as organic dye‐based nanoparticals, polymer‐based nanoparticles, carbon‐based nanomaterials and metallic nanomaterials are promising photoacoustic (PA) contrast agents, which can increase the imaging resolution, contrast and depth of detection. Hence, it is an attractive research field to develop new PA contrast agents. Herein, we reviewed this rapidly growing field and described the applications of nanomaterial‐based PA contrast agents for biomedical imaging. Particular focus was given to organic near‐infrared absorbing dyes including cyanine, porphyrin and boron‐dipyrromethene derivatives.

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Li Y et al.

Localized electric field of plasmonic nanoplatform enhanced photodynamic tumor therapy

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Near-infrared plasmonic nanoparticles demonstrate great potential in disease theranostic applications. Herein a nanoplatform, composed of mesoporous silica-coated gold nanorods (AuNRs), is tailor-designed to optimize the photodynamic therapy (PDT) for tumor based on the plasmonic effect. The surface plasmon resonance of AuNRs was fine-tuned to overlap with the exciton absorption of indocyanine green (ICG), a near-infrared photodynamic dye with poor photostability and low quantum yield. Such overlap greatly increases the singlet oxygen yield of incorporated ICG by maximizing the local field enhancement, and protecting the ICG molecules against photodegradation by virtue of the high absorption cross section of the AuNRs. The silica shell strongly increased ICG payload with the additional benefit of enhancing ICG photostability by facilitating the formation of ICG aggregates. As-fabricated AuNR@SiO2-ICG nanoplatform enables trimodal imaging, near-infrared fluorescence from ICG, and two-photon luminescence/photoacoustic tomography from the AuNRs. The integrated strategy significantly improved photodynamic destruction of breast tumor cells and inhibited the growth of orthotopic breast tumors in mice, with mild laser irradiation, through a synergistic effect of PDT and photothermal therapy. Our study highlights the effect of local field enhancement in PDT and demonstrates the importance of systematic design of nanoplatform to greatly enhancing the antitumor efficacy.

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Aguirre J et al.

Broadband mesoscopic optoacoustic tomography reveals skin layers

Other ApplicationsClinicalRSOM

We have imaged for the first time to our knowledge human skin in vivo with a raster-scan optoacoustic mesoscopy system based on a spherically focused transducer with a central frequency of 102.8 MHz and large bandwidth (relative bandwidth 105%). Using tissue phantoms we have studied the ability of the system to image vessels of sizes within the anatomically significant range from the key anatomical vasculature sites. The reconstructed images from experiments in vivo show several structures from the capillary loops at the dermal papillae, the horizontal plexus, and the difference between the dermis and the epidermis layers.

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Kimbrough CW et al.

Orthotopic pancreatic tumors detected by optoacoustic tomography using Syndecan-1

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

BACKGROUND: Advances in small animal imaging have improved the detection and monitoring of cancer in vivo; although with orthotopic models, precise localization of tumors remains a challenge. In this study, we evaluated multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) as an imaging modality to detect pancreatic adenocarcinoma in an orthotopic murine model.

METHODS: In vitro binding of Syndecan-1 probe to the human pancreatic cancer cell line S2VP10 was evaluated on flow cytometry. For in vivo testing, S2VP10 cells were orthotopically implanted into the pancreas of severe combined immunodeficiency mice. At 7 d after implantation, the mice were intravenously injected with Syndecan-1 probe, and tumor uptake was evaluated with MSOT at multiple time points. Comparison was made with a free-dye control, indocyanine green (ICG). Probe uptake was verified ex vivo with fluorescent imaging.

RESULTS: Syndecan-1 probe demonstrated partial binding to S2VP10 cells in vitro. In vivo, Syndecan-1 probe preferentially accumulated in the pancreas tumor (480 MSOT a.u.) compared with off-target organs, including the liver (67 MSOT a.u.) and kidney (96 MSOT a.u.). Syndecan-1 probe accumulation peaked at 6 h (480 MSOT a.u.), whereas the ICG control dye failed to demonstrate similar retention within the tumor bed (0.0003 MSOT a.u.). At peak accumulation, signal intensity was 480 MSOT a.u., resulting in several times greater signal in the tumor bed than in the kidney or liver. Ex vivo fluorescent imaging comparing tumor signal with that within off-target organs confirmed the in vivo results.

CONCLUSIONS: MSOT demonstrates successful accumulation of Syndecan-1 probe within pancreatic tumors, and provides high-resolution images, which allow noninvasive, real-time comparison of signal within individual organs. Syndecan-1 probe preferentially accumulates within a pancreatic adenocarcinoma model, with minimal off-target effects.

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Hudson SV et al.

Targeted noninvasive imaging of EGFR-expressing orthotopic pancreatic cancer using multispectral optoacoustic tomography

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Detection of orthotopic xenograft tumors is difficult due to poor spatial resolution and reduced image fidelity with traditional optical imaging modalities. In particular, light scattering and attenuation in tissue at depths beyond subcutaneous implantation hinder adequate visualization. We evaluate the use of multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) to detect upregulated epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor in orthotopic pancreatic xenografts using a near-infrared EGF-conjugated CF-750 fluorescent probe. MSOT is based on the photoacoustic effect and thus not limited by photon scattering, resulting in high-resolution tomographic images. Pancreatic tumor-bearing mice with luciferase-transduced S2VP10L tumors were intravenously injected with EGF-750 probe before MSOT imaging. We characterized probe specificity and bioactivity via immunoblotting, immunocytochemistry, and flow cytometric analysis. In vitro data along with optical bioluminescence/fluorescence imaging were used to validate acquired MSOT in vivo images of probe biodistribution. Indocyanine green dye was used as a nonspecific control to define specificity of EGF-probe accumulation. Maximum accumulation occurred at 6 hours postinjection, demonstrating specific intratumoral probe uptake and minimal liver and kidney off-target accumulation. Optical bioluminescence and fluorescence imaging confirmed tumor-specific probe accumulation consistent with MSOT images. These studies demonstrate the utility of MSOT to obtain volumetric images of ligand probe biodistribution in vivo to detect orthotopic pancreatic tumor lesions through active targeting of the EGF receptor.

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Lutzweiler C et al.

Real-time optoacoustic tomography of indocyanine green perfusion and oxygenation parameters in human finger vasculature

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

We interrogated whether optoacoustic tomography could be employed to study blood functional parameters and biodistribution of injected fluorescent agents in humans. Using a multichannel scanner at a frame rate of 10 images per second, we obtained cross-sectional images of the human finger in real time, before and after the administration of indocyanine green. We demonstrated that multispectral optoacoustic tomography can sense fast flow kinetics and resolve spatiotemporal characteristics of a common fluorochrome in human vasculature at clinically relevant concentrations. We further register ICG images with oxygen saturation maps and anatomical views of the proximal interphalangeal joint of a healthy volunteer.

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Omar M et al.

Ultrawideband reflection-mode optoacoustic mesoscopy

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalRSOM

We developed a reflection-mode optoacoustic mesoscopy system, based on raster-scanning of a custom designed spherically focused ultrasound detector, enabling seamless epi-illumination of the volume imaged. We study the performance of acoustic-resolution mesoscopy operating at an ultrawideband bandwidth of 20-180 MHz. i.e., a frequency band spreading over virtually an order of magnitude. Using tomographic reconstruction we showcase previously unreported, to our knowledge, axial resolutions of 4 μm and transverse resolutions of 18 μm reaching depths of up to 5 mm. We further investigate the frequency-dependence of features seen on the images to understand the implications of ultrawideband measurements. We show the overall imaging performance and the frequency ranges that contribute to observable resolution improvements from phantoms and animals.

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Maji SK et al.

Upconversion nanoparticles as a contrast agent for photoacoustic imaging in live mice

NanoPreclinicalMSOT

An inclusion complex of NaYF4 :Yb(3+) ,Er(3+) upconversion nanoparticles with α-cyclodextrin in aqueous conditions exhibits luminescence quenching when excited at 980 nm. This non-radiative relaxation leads to an unprecedented photoacoustic signal enhancement. In vivo localization of α-cyclodextrin-covered NaYF4 :Yb(3+) ,Er(3+) is demonstrated using photoacoustic tomography in live mice, showing its high capability for photoacoustic imaging.

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Ho CJ et al.

Multifunctional photosensitizer-based contrast agents for photoacoustic imaging

CancerPreclinicalMSOT

Photoacoustic imaging is a novel hybrid imaging modality combining the high spatial resolution of optical imaging with the high penetration depth of ultrasound imaging. Here, for the first time, we evaluate the efficacy of various photosensitizers that are widely used as photodynamic therapeutic (PDT) agents as photoacoustic contrast agents. Photoacoustic imaging of photosensitizers exhibits advantages over fluorescence imaging, which is prone to photobleaching and autofluorescence interference. In this work, we examined the photoacoustic activity of 5 photosensitizers: zinc phthalocyanine, protoporphyrin IX, 2,4-bis [4-(N,N-dibenzylamino)-2,6-dihydroxyphenyl] squaraine, chlorin e6 and methylene blue in phantoms, among which zinc phthalocyanine showed the highest photoacoustic activity. Subsequently, we evaluated its tumor localization efficiency and biodistribution at multiple time points in a murine model using photoacoustic imaging. We observed that the probe localized at the tumor within 10 minutes post injection, reaching peak accumulation around 1 hour and was cleared within 24 hours, thus, demonstrating the potential of photosensitizers as photoacoustic imaging contrast agents in vivo. This means that the known advantages of photosensitizers such as preferential tumor uptake and PDT efficacy can be combined with photoacoustic imaging capabilities to achieve longitudinal monitoring of cancer progression and therapy in vivo.

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Kang NY et al.

A macrophage uptaking near-infrared chemical probe CDnir7 for in vivo imaging of inflammation

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

Visualization of macrophages in live animals has been of great interest for a better understanding of inflammation. We developed a near infrared (NIR) probe that can selectively detect macrophages and visualize inflammation in vivo using the IVIS spectrum, Fluorescence Molecular Tomography (FMT) and Multi-Spectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT).

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Beziere N et al.

Optoacoustic imaging and staging of inflammation in a murine model of arthritis

Other ApplicationsPreclinicalMSOT

OBJECTIVE : Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is one of the most frequent inflammatory diseases, causing pain and disability in the affected joints. Early diagnosis is essential for the efficiency of symptom-targeting treatments, but its diagnosis requires careful clinical, serologic, and imaging examinations, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is both expensive and time consuming. In an effort to provide the biomedical community with a more accessible way to assess the advancement of arthritis, this study sought to investigate the use of multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) in a murine arthritis model, to visualize the extent of inflammation in vivo through an L-selectin/P-selectin-targeting contrast agent. METHODS : Mice with collagen-induced arthritis were studied as a model of RA. MSOT was performed using an L-selectin/P-selectin-targeting contrast agent, polyanionic dendritic polyglycerol sulfate (dPGS) labeled with a near-infrared (NIR) fluorophore, to increase the contrast of the arthritic joint. The signal intensity ratios between healthy legs and arthritic legs were calculated. Findings on contrast-enhanced MRI, clinical observations, the lymphocyte:granulocyte ratio, and histologic findings served as referents for comparison. RESULTS : MSOT using an inflammation-targeting contrast agent, dPGS-NIR, allowed for accurate diagnosis of inflammation in the mouse joints. In addition, use of this technique resulted in significant differentiation of the inflamed joints from the healthy joints (P = 0.023). The observed advancement of arthritis on the MSOT images was confirmed by clinical observation, blood analysis, contrast-enhanced MRI, and ex vivo histologic examinations. CONCLUSION : This study demonstrates that the combination of an inflammation-targeting contrast agent and optoacoustic tomographic imaging presents a promising means for the diagnosis of RA and the staging of arthritis-related inflammation.

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Dima A et al.

Multispectral optoacoustic tomography at 64, 128, and 256 channels

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

Optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging has already showcased the capacity to offer high-resolution small animal visualization in vivo in a variety of cancer, cardiovascular, or neuroimaging applications. In particular, multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) has shown imaging along the spectral and the time dimensions, enabling sensing of multiple molecules over time and, more recently, in real time. Furthermore, cross-sectional imaging of at least 20 mm diameter has been showcased in vivo in animals and humans using 64-element curved transducers placed along a single curved line. Herein, we investigated the imaging improvements gained by utilizing a larger number of detectors and inquired whether more detectors will result in measurable image quality improvements. For this reason, we implemented MSOT using 64-, 128-, and 256-element transducers and imaged the same phantoms and animals under similar conditions. Further, corroborated by numerical simulation analysis, our findings quantify the improvements in resolution and overall image quality for the increasing number of detectors used pointing to significant improvements in image quality for the 256 detector array, over 64 or 128 detectors.

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Deliolanis NC et al.

Deep-tissue reporter-gene imaging with fluorescence and optoacoustic tomography: a performance overview

Other ApplicationsCancerTechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

PURPOSE : A primary enabling feature of near-infrared fluorescent proteins (FPs) and fluorescent probes is the ability to visualize deeper in tissues than in the visible. The purpose of this work is to find which is the optimal visualization method that can exploit the advantages of this novel class of FPs in full-scale pre-clinical molecular imaging studies. PROCEDURES : Nude mice were stereotactically implanted with near-infrared FP expressing glioma cells to from brain tumors. The feasibility and performance metrics of FPs were compared between planar epi-illumination and trans-illumination fluorescence imaging, as well as to hybrid Fluorescence Molecular Tomography (FMT) system combined with X-ray CT and Multispectral Optoacoustic (or Photoacoustic) Tomography (MSOT). RESULTS : It is shown that deep-seated glioma brain tumors are possible to visualize both with fluorescence and optoacoustic imaging. Fluorescence imaging is straightforward and has good sensitivity; however, it lacks resolution. FMT-XCT can provide an improved rough resolution of ∼1 mm in deep tissue, while MSOT achieves 0.1 mm resolution in deep tissue and has comparable sensitivity. CONCLUSIONS : We show imaging capacity that can shift the visualization paradigm in biological discovery. The results are relevant not only to reporter gene imaging, but stand as cross-platform comparison for all methods imaging near infrared fluorescent contrast agents.

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Wu W et al.

Oligo(ethylene glycol)-based thermosensitive dendrimers and their tumor accumulation and penetration

NanoCancerPreclinicalMSOT

Dendrimers have several featured advantages over other nanomaterials as drug carriers, such as well-defined structure, specific low-nanometer size, and abundant peripheral derivable groups, etc. However, these advantages have not been fully exploited yet to optimize their biological performance, especially tumor penetration, which is a shortcoming of current nanomaterials. Here we show the syntheses of a new class of oligo(ethylene glycol) (OEG)-based thermosensitive dendrimers up to the fourth generation. Each dendrimer shows monodisperse structure. OEG/poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) moieties with different precise lengths were introduced to the periphery of the fourth-generation dendrimer followed by an antitumor agent, gemcitabine (GEM). The biodistributions of the GEM-conjugated dendrimers were investigated by micro positron emission tomography and multispectral optoacoustic tomography imaging techniques and compared with that of GEM-conjugated poly(amidoamine) (PAMAM). The GEM-conjugated dendrimer with the longest peripheral PEG segments exhibited the most desirable tumor accumulation and penetration and thus had significantly higher antitumor activity than the GEM-conjugated PAMAM.

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Deán-Ben XL and Razansky D

Portable spherical array probe for volumetric real-time optoacoustic imaging at centimeter-scale depths

TechnologyClinicalMSOT

We report on a novel hand-held imaging probe for real-time optoacoustic visualization of deep tissues in three dimensions. The system incorporates an annular two-dimensional array of ultrasonic sensors densely distributed on a spherical surface. Simultaneous recording and processing of time-resolved data from all the channels enables acquisition of entire volumetric data sets for each illumination laser pulse. The proposed solution utilizes a transparent membrane in order to allow efficient coupling of optoacoustically generated waves to the ultrasonic detectors while avoiding direct contact of the imaged object with the coupling medium. The hand-held approach further allows convenient handling of both pre-clinical experiments as well as clinical measurements in human subjects. Here we demonstrate an imaging speed of 10 volumetric frames per second with spatial resolution down to 200 micrometers in the imaged region while also achieving imaging depth of more than 1.5 cm in living tissues without signal averaging.

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Dean-Ben XL et al.

Functional optoacoustic human angiography with handheld video rate three dimensional scanner

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

Optoacoustic imaging provides a unique combination of high optical contrast and excellent spatial resolution, making it ideal for simultaneous imaging of tissue anatomy as well as functional and molecular contrast in deep optically opaque tissues. We report on development of a portable clinical system for three-dimensional optoacoustic visualization of deep human tissues at video rate. Studies in human volunteers have demonstrated powerful performance in delivering high resolution volumetric multispectral optoacoustic tomography (vMSOT) images of tissue morphology and function, such as blood oxygenation parameters, in real time. Whilst most imaging modalities currently in clinical use are not able to deliver volumetric data with comparable time resolution, the presented imaging approach holds promise to attain new diagnostic and treatment monitoring value for multiple indications, such as cardiovascular and peripheral vascular disease, disorders related to the lymphatic system, breast lesions, arthritis and inflammation.

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Dean-Ben XL et al.

Volumetric real-time tracking of peripheral human vasculature with GPU-accelerated three-dimensional optoacoustic tomography

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

Optoacoustic tomography provides a unique possibility for ultra-high-speed 3-D imaging by acquiring complete volumetric datasets from interrogation of tissue by a single nanosecond-duration laser pulse. Yet, similarly to ultrasound, optoacoustics is a time-resolved imaging method, thus, fast 3-D imaging implies real-time acquisition and processing of high speed data from hundreds of detectors simultaneously, which presents significant technological challenges. Herein we present a highly efficient graphical processing unit (GPU) framework for real-time reconstruction and visualization of 3-D tomographic optoacoustic data. By utilizing a newly developed 3-D optoacoustic scanner, which simultaneously acquires signals with a handheld 256-element spherical ultrasonic array system, we further demonstrate tracking of deep tissue human vasculature rendered at a rate of 10 volumetric frames per second. The flexibility provided by the handheld hardware design, combined with the real-time operation, makes the developed platform highly usable for both clinical imaging practice and small animal research applications.

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Buehler A et al.

Real-time handheld multispectral optoacoustic imaging

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) of functional and molecular contrast has the potential to find broad deployment in clinical practice. We have developed the first handheld MSOT imaging device with fast wavelength tuning achieving a frame rate of 50 Hz. In this Letter, we demonstrate its clinical potential by dynamically resolving multiple disease-relevant tissue chromophores, including oxy-/deoxyhemoglobin, and melanin, in human volunteers.

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Burton NC et al.

Multispectral opto-acoustic tomography (MSOT) of the brain and glioblastoma characterization

CancerNeuroPreclinicalMSOT

Brain research depends strongly on imaging for assessing function and disease in vivo. We examine herein multispectral opto-acoustic tomography (MSOT), a novel technology for high-resolution molecular imaging deep inside tissues. MSOT illuminates tissue with light pulses at multiple wavelengths and detects the acoustic waves generated by the thermoelastic expansion of the environment surrounding absorbing molecules. Using spectral unmixing analysis of the data collected, MSOT can then differentiate the spectral signatures of oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin and of photo-absorbing agents and quantify their concentration. By being able to detect absorbing molecules up to centimeters deep in the tissue it represents an ideal modality for small animal brain imaging, simultaneously providing anatomical, hemodynamic, functional, and molecular information. In this work we examine the capacity of MSOT in cross-sectional brain imaging of mice. We find unprecedented optical imaging performance in cross-sectional visualization of anatomical and physiological parameters of the mouse brain. For example, the potential of MSOT to characterize ischemic brain areas was demonstrated through the use of a carbon dioxide challenge. In addition, indocyanine green (ICG) was injected intravenously, and the kinetics of uptake and clearance in the vasculature of the brain was visualized in real-time. We further found that multiparameter, multispectral imaging of the growth of U87 tumor cells injected into the brain could be visualized through the intact mouse head, for example through visualization of deoxygenated hemoglobin in the growing tumor. We also demonstrate how MSOT offers several compelling features for brain research and allows time-dependent detection and quantification of brain parameters that are not available using other imaging methods without invasive procedures.

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Dima A et al.

Non-invasive carotid imaging using optoacoustic tomography

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

The high prevalence of atherosclerosis and the corresponding derived morbidity drives the investigation of novel imaging tools for disease diagnosis and assessment. Multi-spectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) can resolve structural, hemodynamic and molecular parameters that relate to cardiovascular disease. Similarly to ultrasound imaging, optoacoustic (photoacoustic) imaging can be implemented as a handheld arrangement which further brings dissemination potential to point of care applications. Correspondingly, we experimentally investigate herein the performance of non-invasive optoacoustic scanning developed for carotid imaging, in phantoms and humans. The results demonstrate that traditional transducers employed in ultrasound imaging do not offer optimal MSOT imaging. Instead, feasibility to detect human carotids and carotid-sized vessels in clinically-relevant depths is better demonstrated with curved arrays and tomographic approaches.

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Buehler A et al.

Three-dimensional Optoacoustic Tomography at Video Rate

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

Using optoacoustic excitation, a complete volumetric tomographic data sets from the imaged object can in principle be generated with a single interrogating laser pulse. Thus, optoacoustic imaging intrinsically has the potential for fast three-dimensional imaging. We have developed a system capable of acquiring volumetric optoacoustic data in real time and showcase in this work the undocumented capacity to generate high resolution three-dimensional optoacoustic images at a rate of 10 Hz, currently mainly limited by the pulse repetition rate of the excitation laser.

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Razansky D et al.

Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography of Matrix Metalloproteinase Activity in Vulnerable Human Carotid Plaques

Other ApplicationsClinicalMSOT

Aims Elevated expression of cathepsins, integrins and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) is typically associated with atherosclerotic plaque instability. While fluorescent tagging of such molecules has been amply demonstrated, no imaging method was so far shown capable of resolving these inflammation-associated tags with high fidelity and resolution beyond microscopic depths. This study is aimed at demonstrating a new method with high potential for noninvasive clinical cardiovascular diagnostics of vulnerable plaques using high-resolution deep-tissue multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) technology.

Methods and results MMP-sensitive activatable fluorescent probe (MMPSense™ 680) was applied to human carotid plaques from symptomatic patients. Atherosclerotic activity was detected by tuning MSOT wavelengths to activation-dependent absorption changes of the molecules, structurally modified in the presence of enzymes. MSOT analysis simultaneously provided morphology along with heterogeneous MMP activity with better than 200 micron resolution throughout the intact plaque tissue. The results corresponded well with epi-fluorescence images made from thin cryosections. Elevated MMP activity was further confirmed by in situ zymography, accompanied by increased macrophage influx.

Conclusions We demonstrated, for the first time to our knowledge, the ability of MSOT to provide volumetric images of activatable molecular probe distribution deep within optically diffuse tissues. High-resolution mapping of MMP activity was achieved deep in the vulnerable plaque of intact human carotid specimens. This performance directly relates to pre-clinical screening applications in animal models and to clinical decision potential as it might eventually allow for highly specific visualization and staging of plaque vulnerability thus impacting therapeutic clinical decision making.

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Razansky D et al.

Volumetric Real-time Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography of Biomarkers

TechnologyPreclinicalMSOT

Multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) has recently been developed to enable visualization of optical contrast and tissue biomarkers, with resolution and speed representative of ultrasound. In the implementation described here, MSOT enables operation in real-time mode by capturing single cross-sectional images in <1 ms from living small animals (e.g., mice) and other tissues of similar dimensions. At the core of the method is illumination of the object using multiple wavelengths in order to resolve spectrally distinct biomarkers over background tissue chromophores. The system allows horizontal placement of a mouse in the imaging chamber and three-dimensional scanning of the entire body without the need to immerse the mouse in water. Here we provide a detailed description of the MSOT scanner components, system calibration, selection of image reconstruction algorithms and animal handling. Overall, the entire protocol can be completed within 15-30 min for acquisition of a whole-body multispectral data set from a living mouse.

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