Single- and two-photon imaging of human micrometastases and disseminated tumour cells with conjugates of nanobodies and quantum dots.
ABSTRACT: Early detection of malignant tumours and, especially, micrometastases and disseminated tumour cells is still a challenge. In order to implement highly sensitive diagnostic tools we demonstrate the use of nanoprobes engineered from nanobodies (single-domain antibodies, sdAbs) and fluorescent quantum dots (QDs) for single- and two-photon detection and imaging of human micrometastases and disseminated tumour cells in ex vivo biological samples of breast and pancreatic metastatic tumour mouse models expressing human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) or carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). By staining thin (5-10?µm) paraffin and thick (50?µm) agarose tissue sections, we detected HER2- and CEA-positive human tumour cells infiltrating the surrounding tissues or metastasizing to different organs, including the brain, testis, lung, liver, and lymph nodes. Compared to conventional fluorescently labelled antibodies the sdAb-HER2-QD and sdAb-CEA-QD nanoprobes are superior in detecting micrometastases in tissue sections by lower photobleaching and higher brightness of fluorescence signals ensuring much better discrimination of positive signals versus background. Very high two-photon absorption cross-sections of QDs and small size of the nanoprobes ensure efficient imaging of thick tissue sections unattainable with conventional fluorescent probes. The nanobody-QD probes will help to improve early cancer diagnosis and prognosis of progression by assessing metastasis.
Project description:Successful development of safe and highly effective nanoprobes for targeted imaging of in vivo early gastric cancer is a great challenge. Herein, we choose the CdSe/ZnS (core-shell) quantum dots (QDs) as prototypical materials, synthesized one kind of a new amphiphilic polymer including dentate-like alkyl chains and multiple carboxyl groups, and then used the prepared amphiphilic polymer to modify QDs. The resultant amphiphilic polymer engineered QDs (PQDs) were conjugated with BRCAA1 and Her2 monoclonal antibody, and prepared BRCAA1 antibody- and Her2 antibody-conjugated QDs were used for in vitro MGC803 cell labeling and in vivo targeted imaging of gastric cancer cells. Results showed that the PQDs exhibited good water solubility, strong photoluminescence (PL) intensity, and good biocompatibility. BRCAA1 antibody- and Her2 antibody-conjugated QD nanoprobes successfully realized targeted imaging of in vivo gastric cancer MGC803 cells. In conclusion, BRCAA1 antibody- and Her2 antibody-conjugated PQDs have great potential in applications such as single cell labeling and in vivo tracking, and targeted imaging and therapeutic effects' evaluation of in vivo early gastric cancer cells in the near future.
Project description:The efficient intraoperative identification of cancers requires the development of the bright, minimally-toxic, tumor-specific near-infrared (NIR) probes as contrast agents. Luminescent semiconductor quantum dots (QDs) offer several unique advantages for in vivo cellular imaging by providing bright and photostable fluorescent probes. Here, we present the synthesis of ZnCuInSe/ZnS core/shell QDs emitting in NIR (~750 nm) conjugated to NAVPNLRGDLQVLAQKVART (A20FMDV2) peptide for targeting <i>?<sub>v</sub>?<sub>6</sub></i> integrin-rich head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Integrin <i>?<sub>v</sub>?<sub>6</sub></i> is usually not detectable in nonpathological tissues, but is highly upregulated in HNSCC. QD-A20 showed <i>?<sub>v</sub>?<sub>6</sub></i> integrin-specific binding in two-dimension (2D) monolayer and three-dimension (3D) spheroid in vitro HNSCC models. QD-A20 exhibit limited penetration (ca. 50 µm) in stroma-rich 3D spheroids. Finally, we demonstrated the potential of these QDs by time-gated fluorescence imaging of stroma-rich 3D spheroids placed onto mm-thick tissue slices to mimic imaging conditions in tissues. Overall, QD-A20 could be considered as highly promising nanoprobes for NIR bioimaging and imaging-guided surgery.
Project description:Overexpression of HER2 is one of the major causes of breast cancer, and therefore precise diagnosis of its protein expression level is important. However, current methods estimating the HER2-expression level are insufficient due to problem with the lack of quantification. This might result in a gap between diagnostics and therapeutics targeting HER2. Therefore, a new effective diagnostic method is needed. We developed a new immunohistochemical (IHC) technique with quantum dots (QD)-conjugated trastuzumab using single-particle imaging to quantitatively measure the HER2 expression level. Tissues from 37 breast cancer patients with available detailed clinical information were tested by IHC with QDs (IHC-QD) and the correlation with IHC with 3,3'-diaminobenzidine (DAB), fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and IHC-QD was examined. The number of QD-conjugated trastuzumab particles binding specifically to a cancer cell was precisely calculated as the IHC-QD score. The IHC-QD score in 37 cases was correlated proportionally with the score of HER2 gene copy number as assessed by FISH (R = 0.83). When HER2 positivity was judged to be positive, the IHC-QD score with our cut-off level was exactly concordant with the FISH score with a cut-off value of 2.0. Furthermore, IHC-QDs score and time to progression (TTP) of trastuzumab therapy were well correlated in HER2-positive cases (R = 0.69). Conversely, the correlation between FISH score and TTP was not observed. We developed a precisely quantitative IHC method using trastuzumab-conjugated QDs and single-particle imaging analysis and propose the possibility of using IHC-QDs score as a predictive factor for trastuzumab therapy.
Project description:Patients with breast cancer (BC) overexpressing HER2 (HER2+) are selected for Trastuzumab treatment, which blocks HER2 and improves cancer prognosis. However, HER2+ diagnosis, by the gold standard, immunohistochemistry, could lead to errors, associated to: a) variability in sample manipulation (thin 2D sections), b) use of subjective algorithms, and c) heterogeneity of HER2 expression within the tissue. Therefore, we explored HER2 3D detection by multiplexed imaging of Affibody-Quantum Dots conjugates (Aff-QD), ratiometric analysis (RMAFI) and thresholding, using BC multicellular tumor spheroids (BC-MTS) (~120 ?m of diameter) as 3D model of BC. HER2+, HER2- and hybrid HER2+/- BC-MTS (mimicking heterogeneous tissue) were incubated simultaneously with two Aff-QD probes (anti-HER2 and negative control (NC), respectively, (1:1)). Confocal XY sections were recorded along the Z distance, and processed by automatized RMAFI (anti-HER2 Aff-QD/ NC). Quantifying the NC fluorescence allowed to predict the fraction of non-specific accumulation of the anti-HER2 probe within the thick sample, and resolve the specific HER2 level. HER2 was detected up to 30?m within intact BC-MTS, however, permeabilization improved detection up to 70?m. Specific HER2 signal was objectively quantified, and HER2 3D-density of 9.2, 48.3 and 30.8% were obtained in HER2-, HER2+ and hybrid HER2+/- permeabilized BC-MTS, respectively. Therefore, by combining the multiplexing capacity of Aff-QD probes and RMAFI, we overcame the challenge of non-specific probe accumulation in 3D samples with minimal processing, yielding a fast, specific spatial HER2 detection and objective quantification.
Project description:The optimal pathological assessment of sentinel nodes (SLNs) in breast cancer is a matter of debate. Currently, multilevel histological evaluation and immunohistochemistry (IHC) are recommended, but alternative RT-PCR procedures have been developed. To assess the reliability of these different procedures, we devised a step-sectioning protocol at 100 micron-intervals of 74 SLNs using methacarn fixation. mRNA was extracted from sections collected from levels 4 to 5. Mammaglobin, CEA and CK19 were used for RT-PCR. mRNA extraction was successful in 69 SLNs. Of these, 7 showed macrometastases (>2mm), 2 showed micrometastases (<2 mm) and 7 showed isolated tumour cells (ITC) by IHC. RT-PCR was positive for the three markers in 6 of 7 macrometastases and in 1 of 2 micrometastases. In the 2 RT-PCR negative cases, metastases were detected only on sections distant from those analysed by RT-PCR. CEA and/or CK19 were positive by RT-PCR in 3 of 7 ITC and in 23 morphologically negative SLNs. In conclusion, the main goal of our study was to show that the use of alternate sections of the same sample for different procedures is the key reason for the discrepancies between molecular and morphological analyses of SLN. We believe that only prospective studies with quantitative mRNA analysis of specific metastatic markers on the whole lymph node can elucidate the utility of molecular assessments of SLN.
Project description:InGaAs-based photodetectors have been generally used for detection in the short-wave infrared (SWIR) region. However, the epitaxial process used to grow these materials is expensive; therefore, InGaAs-based photodetectors are limited to space exploration and military applications. Many researchers have expended considerable efforts to address the problem of SWIR photodetector development using lead sulfide (PbS) quantum dots (QDs). Along with their cost-efficient solution processability and flexible substrate compatibility, PbS QDs are highly interesting for the quantum-size-effect tunability of their bandgaps, spectral sensitivities, and wide absorption ranges. However, the performance of PbS QD-based SWIR photodetectors is limited owing to inefficient carrier transfer and low photo and thermal stabilities. In this study, a simple method is proposed to overcome these problems by incorporating CdS in PbS QD shells to provide efficient carrier transfer and enhance the long-term stability of SWIR photodetectors against oxidation. The SWIR photodetectors fabricated using thick-shell PbS/CdS QDs exhibited a high on/off (light/dark) ratio of 11.25 and a high detectivity of 4.0?×?1012 Jones, which represents a greater than 10 times improvement in these properties relative to those of PbS QDs. Moreover, the lifetimes of thick-shell PbS/CdS QD-based SWIR photodetectors were significantly improved owing to the self-passivation of QD surfaces.
Project description:The position of a single GaAs quantum dot (QD), which is optically active, grown by low-density droplet epitaxy (DE) (approximately 4 QDs/?m(2)), was directly observed on the surface of a 45-nm-thick Al0.3Ga0.7As capping layer. The thin thickness of AlGaAs capping layer is useful for single photon sources with plasmonic optical coupling. A micro-photoluminescence for GaAs DE QDs has shown exciton/biexciton behavior in the range of 1.654 to 1.657 eV. The direct observation of positions of low-density GaAs DE QDs would be advantageous for mass fabrication of devices that use a single QD, such as single photon sources.
Project description:The current study reports the facile design of quantum dot (QD)-conjugated lipids and their application to high-speed tracking experiments on cell surfaces. CdSe/ZnS core/shell QDs with two types of hydrophilic coatings, 2-(2-aminoethoxy)ethanol (AEE) and a 60:40 molar mixture of 1,2-dipalmitoyl- sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine and 1,2-dipalmitoyl- sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine- N-[methoxy(polyethylene glycol-2000], are conjugated to sulfhydryl lipids via maleimide reactive groups on the QD surface. Prior to lipid conjugation, the colloidal stability of both types of coated QDs in aqueous solution is confirmed using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy. A sensitive assay based on single lipid tracking experiments on a planar solid-supported phospholipid bilayer is presented that establishes conditions of monovalent conjugation of QDs to lipids. The QD-lipids are then employed as single-molecule tracking probes in plasma membranes of several cell types. Initial tracking experiments at a frame rate of 30 frames/s corroborate that QD-lipids diffuse like dye-labeled lipids in the plasma membrane of COS-7, HEK-293, 3T3, and NRK cells, thus confirming monovalent labeling. Finally, QD-lipids are applied for the first time to high-speed single-molecule imaging by tracking their lateral mobility in the plasma membrane of NRK fibroblasts with up to 1000 frames/s. Our high-speed tracking data, which are in excellent agreement with previous tracking experiments that used larger (40 nm) Au labels, not only push the time resolution in long-time, continuous fluorescence-based single-molecule tracking but also show that highly photostable, photoluminescent nanoprobes of 10 nm size can be employed (AEE-coated QDs). These probes are also attractive because, unlike Au nanoparticles, they facilitate complex multicolor experiments.
Project description:The formation of metastatic foci occurs through a series of cellular events, initiated by the attachment and aggregation of cancer cells leading to the establishment of micrometastases. We report the derivation of synthetic DNA aptamers bearing anti-adhesive properties directed at cancer cells expressing the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). Two DNA aptamers targeting the homotypic and heterotypic IgV-like binding domain of CEA were shown to block the cell adhesion properties of CEA, while not recognizing other IgV-like domains of CEACAM family members that share strong sequence and structural homologies. More importantly, the pre-treatment of CEA-expressing tumour cells with these aptamers prior to their intraperitoneal implantation resulted in the prevention of peritoneal tumour foci formation. Taken together, these results highlight the effectiveness of targeting the cell adhesion properties of cancer cells with aptamers in preventing tumour implantation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Neuroblastoma, a frequently occurring solid tumour in children, remains a therapeutic challenge as existing imaging tools are inadequate for proper and accurate diagnosis, resulting in treatment failures. Nanoparticles have recently been introduced to the field of cancer research and promise remarkable improvements in diagnostics, targeting and drug delivery. Among these nanoparticles, quantum dots (QDs) are highly appealing due to their manipulatable surfaces, yielding multifunctional QDs applicable in different biological models. The biocompatibility of these QDs, however, remains questionable. RESULTS: We show here that QD surface modifications with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) alter QD physical and biological properties. In human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells, NAC modified QDs were internalized to a lesser extent and were less cytotoxic than unmodified QDs. Cytotoxicity was correlated with Fas upregulation on the surface of treated cells. Alongside the increased expression of Fas, QD treated cells had increased membrane lipid peroxidation, as measured by the fluorescent BODIPY-C11 dye. Moreover, peroxidized lipids were detected at the mitochondrial level, contributing to the impairment of mitochondrial functions as shown by the MTT reduction assay and imaged with confocal microscopy using the fluorescent JC-1 dye. CONCLUSION: QD core and surface compositions, as well as QD stability, all influence nanoparticle internalization and the consequent cytotoxicity. Cadmium telluride QD-induced toxicity involves the upregulation of the Fas receptor and lipid peroxidation, leading to impaired neuroblastoma cell functions. Further improvements of nanoparticles and our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of QD-toxicity are critical for the development of new nanotherapeutics or diagnostics in nano-oncology.