Potential Diagnostic and Therapeutic Applications of Oligonucleotide Aptamers in Breast Cancer
Multimodal molecular imaging has attracted more and more interest from researchers due to its combination of the strengths of each imaging modality. The development of specific and multifunctional molecular imaging probes is the key for this method. In this study, we fabricated an optical/magnetic resonance (MR) dual-modality molecular imaging nanoprobe, polyethylene glycol-coated ultrasmall gadolinium oxide (PEG-Gd2O3)/aptamer-Ag nanoclusters (NCs), for tracking cancer cells. To achieve this aim, PEG-Gd2O3 nanoparticles (NPs) as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent and aptamer functionalized silver nanoclusters (aptamer-Ag NCs) as fluorescence reporter were first synthesized by a one-pot approach, respectively. They were then conjugated by the covalent coupling reaction between the carboxyl group on the surface of PEG-Gd2O3 NPs and amino group modified on the 5'-end of AS1411 aptamer. With a suitable ratio, the fluorescence intensity of aptamer-Ag NCs and MR signal of PEG-Gd2O3 nanoparticles could both be enhanced after the formation of PEG-Gd2O3/aptamer-Ag NCs nanoprobe, which favored their application for multimodal molecular imaging. With this nanoprobe, MCF-7 tumor cells could be specifically tracked by both fluorescence imaging and magnetic resonance imaging in vitro.