Development of Theranostic Gold Nanoparticles for Cancer Treatment
One of the main limitations of the highly used metabolic-based cancer imaging technique, FDG-PET, is its inability to distinguish between cancerous lesions and post treatment inflammatory conditions, which are both characterized by increased glucose metabolic activity. To overcome this limitation, we developed a nanoparticle-based approach, utilizing glucose-functionalized gold nanoparticles as a metabolically targeted CT contrast agent. The mechanism of this technology was found to be closely related to that of the commonly used FDG-PET, however, this nanoparticle-based approach showed significantly superior abilities, as it allowed specific tumor detection and differentiation between cancer and inflammation. In addition, as one of the promising strategies for improving cancer treatment outcomes is the theranostic approach, defined as combination of diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities in the same agent, we added a therapeutic component to the nanoparticles (cisplatin; a chemotherapy medication), to achieve a multifunctional theranostic nanoplatform. This all-in-one nanoparticle showed both highly efficient imaging capabilities and therapeutic potential.
* PhD research supervised by Prof. Rachela Popovtzer