Research press release


Nature Biomedical Engineering

Transistor-like nanoprobes boost image-guided cancer surgery in mice



Baran Sumer、Jinming Gaoたちは、臨床使用が承認されている蛍光色素を含むナノ粒子プローブを合成した。これは、手術室で使用することができる標準的なカメラに対応している。静脈に注射するそのナノプローブは、腫瘍に取り込まれた場合に限って大幅に増幅された強度の蛍光を発するように最適化された。電圧がある閾値を超えたときにスイッチが入るトランジスターのように、そのナノプローブは、ほぼ全ての充実性腫瘍に共通の特徴である酸性pHでのみ「点灯」した。マウスの頭頸部腫瘍を切除する画像誘導手術で使用した場合、そのナノプローブは前例のない特異性および感度を示し、直径1 mmに満たない腫瘍小結節を光らせながら偽陽性を生じないことが明らかにされた。

Nanoprobes that fluoresce when taken up by tumours and that can be used as a universal imaging agent during cancer surgery, as demonstrated in mice and described in a paper published online this week in Nature Biomedical Engineering.

For many cancers, surgery is the primary curative option. When cutting out a tumour, surgeons need to ensure that no cancer cells are left behind, particularly near the tumour margins. Image-guided surgery can help surgeons to detect any remaining tumour tissue and to find any tumour nodules small enough to be seen or felt. However, current imaging techniques for cancer surgery lack sufficient sensitivity and specificity, and can thus light up non-cancerous tissue ― for example, tissue that has an increased rate of metabolic activity such as brown fat.

Baran Sumer, Jinming Gao and colleagues synthesized nanoparticle probes carrying a clinically approved fluorescent dye compatible with standard cameras available in the operating room. The nanoprobes, which are injected intravenously, were optimized to fluoresce with dramatically amplified intensity only when taken up by tumours. Akin to a transistor, which switches on when the voltage is above a certain threshold, the nanoprobes ‘turned on’ only in acidic pH, a common hallmark of nearly all solid tumours. When used in image-guided surgery to remove head-and-neck tumours in mice, the authors found that the nanoprobes provided unprecedented specificity and sensitivity, lighting up tumour nodules smaller than 1 mm in diameter and avoiding false positives.

doi: 10.1038/s41551-016-0006


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