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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Biotechnology - Oncology - Radiology and Medical Imaging

Multimodality Imaging In Vivo for Preclinical Assessment of Tumor-Targeted Doxorubicin Nanoparticles
Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2012
Author: Jae Youn Hwang et al.

by Jae Youn Hwang, Jinhyoung Park, Bong Jin Kang, David J. Lubow, David Chu, Daniel L. Farkas, K. Kirk Shung, Lali K. Medina-Kauwe

This study presents a new multimodal imaging approach that includes high-frequency ultrasound, fluorescence intensity, confocal, and spectral imaging to improve the preclinical evaluation of new therapeutics in vivo. Here we use this approach to assess in vivo the therapeutic efficacy of the novel chemotherapy construct, HerDox during and after treatment. HerDox is comprised of doxorubicin non-covalently assembled in a viral-like particle targeted to HER2+ tumor cells, causing tumor cell death at over 10-fold lower dose compared to the untargeted drug, while sparing the heart. Whereas our initial proof-of-principle studies on HerDox used tumor growth/shrinkage rates as a measure of therapeutic efficacy, here we show that multimodal imaging deployed during and after treatment can supplement traditional modes of tumor monitoring to further characterize the particle in tissues of treated mice. Specifically, we show here that tumor cell apoptosis elicited by HerDox can be monitored in vivo during treatment using high frequency ultrasound imaging, while in situ confocal imaging of excised tumors shows that HerDox indeed penetrated tumor tissue and can be detected at the subcellular level, including in the nucleus, via Dox fluorescence. In addition, ratiometric spectral imaging of the same tumor tissue enables quantitative discrimination of HerDox fluorescence from autofluorescence in situ. In contrast to standard approaches of preclinical assessment, this new method provides multiple/complementary information that may shorten the time required for initial evaluation of in vivo efficacy, thus potentially reducing the time and cost for translating new drug molecules into the clinic.