Molecular tumor imaging using antibody-coated nanoparticles

Coordinator:    Prof. Dr. Horst Weller
Institution: Centrum für Angewandte Nanotechnologie (CAN) GmbH
The overall aim of the subproject 10 is to utilize molecular features discovered in the IG as well as existing suspected prostate cancer markers for improving surgical techniques. Specifically, molecular imaging of prostate cancer cells will be performed by visualizing cancerous regions in vivo through fluorescent antibody-labeled nanoparticles (quantum dots). The nanoparticles will be tagged to markers identified in the IG.

Fluorescent nanoparticles, which were discovered about 20 years ago, have
been used as fluorescence labels for in vivo and in-vitro studies in the recent past. These particles exhibit a series of advantages as compared to conventional organic dyes: They are brighter, more photo stable, easily adjustable with respect to luminescence color and do not require specific excitation sources. Quantum dots are meanwhile commercially available in a form, which allows coupling to antibodies. However, the numbers of coupling groups at the particles’ surface is only poorly defined and the reproducibility of the experiments is  therefore not sufficient. There is an urgent need for robust synthetic procedures in order to utilize the advantageous properties of nanoparticles for fluorescence-based diagnosis.

Based on the profound experience in synthesis and characterization of highly luminescent nanoparticles, quantum dots will be prepared concerning the specific demands of the IG Prostate Cancer. To obtain information about the sensitivity and specificity of the nanoparticles and their ability to selectively bind to cancerous tissue, the nanoparticles will be tested on tissue microarrays of prostate cancer patients and on “normal tissue” tissue microarrays.

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