Aptamer-targeted calcium phosphosilicate nanoparticles for effective imaging of pancreatic and prostate cancer

Thomas Abraham, Christopher O. McGovern, Samuel S. Linton, Zachary Wilczynski, James H. Adair, Gail L. Matters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Accurate tumor identification and staging can be difficult. Aptamer-targeted indocyanine green (ICG)-nanoparticles can enhance near-infrared fluorescent imaging of pancreatic and prostate tumors and could improve early cancer detection. This project explored whether calcium-phosphosilicate nanoparticles, also known as NanoJackets (NJs), that were bioconjugated with a tumor-specific targeting DNA aptamer could improve the non-invasive detection of pancreatic and prostate tumors. Methods: Using in vivo near-infrared optical imaging and ex vivo fluorescence analysis, DNA aptamer-targeted ICG-loaded NJs were compared to untargeted NJs for detection of tumors. Results: Nanoparticles were bioconjugated with the DNA aptamer AP1153, which binds to the CCK-B receptor (CCKBR). Aptamer bioconjugated NJs were not significantly increased in size compared with unconjugated nanoparticles. AP1153-ICG-NJ accumulation in orthotopic pancreatic tumors peaked at 18 h post-injection and the ICG signal was cleared by 36 h with no evidence on uptake by non-tumor tissues. Ex vivo tumor imaging confirmed the aptamer-targeted NJs accumulated to higher levels than untargeted NJs, were not taken up by normal pancreas, exited from the tumor vasculature, and were well-dispersed throughout pancreatic and prostate tumors despite extensive fibrosis. Specificity for AP1153-NJ binding to the CCK-B receptor on pancreatic tumor cells was confirmed by pre-treating tumor-bearing mice with the CCK receptor antagonist proglumide. Proglumide pre-treatment reduced the in vivo tumoral accumulation of AP1153-NJs to levels comparable to that of untargeted NJs. Conclusion: Through specific interactions with CCK-B receptors, tumor-targeted nanoparticles containing either ICG or rhodamine WT were well distributed throughout the matrix of both pancreatic and prostate tumors. Tumor-targeted NJs carrying various imaging agents can enhance tumor detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2297-2309
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Nanomedicine
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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