Theranostics 2016; 6(3):342-356. doi:10.7150/thno.11918

Research Paper

Triple-Modal Imaging of Magnetically-Targeted Nanocapsules in Solid Tumours In Vivo

Jie Bai1, Julie T.-W. Wang1, Noelia Rubio1, Andrea Protti2, Hamed Heidari3, Riham Elgogary4, Paul Southern5, Wafa' T. Al-Jamal6, Jane Sosabowski7, Ajay M. Shah2, Sara Bals3, Quentin A. Pankhurst5, Khuloud T. Al-Jamal1✉

1. Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, King's College London, London, SE1 9NH, UK
2. Cardiovascular Division, James Black Centre, King's College London British Heart Foundation Centre of Excellence, London, SE5 9NU, UK
3. Electron Microscopy for Materials Research (EMAT), University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020, Antwerp, Belgium
4. Faculty of Pharmacy, Ain Shams University, Khalifa El-Maamon Street, Abbasiya Square, Cairo, 11566, Egypt
5. UCL Healthcare Biomagnetics Laboratory, University College London, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS, UK
6. School of Pharmacy, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK
7. Centre for Molecular Oncology, Bart's Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, EC1M 6BQ, UK

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
Bai J, Wang JTW, Rubio N, Protti A, Heidari H, Elgogary R, Southern P, Al-Jamal WT, Sosabowski J, Shah AM, Bals S, Pankhurst QA, Al-Jamal KT. Triple-Modal Imaging of Magnetically-Targeted Nanocapsules in Solid Tumours In Vivo. Theranostics 2016; 6(3):342-356. doi:10.7150/thno.11918. Available from

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Triple-modal imaging magnetic nanocapsules, encapsulating hydrophobic superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, are formulated and used to magnetically target solid tumours after intravenous administration in tumour-bearing mice. The engineered magnetic polymeric nanocapsules m-NCs are ~200 nm in size with negative Zeta potential and shown to be spherical in shape. The loading efficiency of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in the m-NC was ~100%. Up to ~3- and ~2.2-fold increase in tumour uptake at 1 and 24 h was achieved, when a static magnetic field was applied to the tumour for 1 hour. m-NCs, with multiple imaging probes (e.g. indocyanine green, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles and indium-111), were capable of triple-modal imaging (fluorescence/magnetic resonance/nuclear imaging) in vivo. Using triple-modal imaging is to overcome the intrinsic limitations of single modality imaging and provides complementary information on the spatial distribution of the nanocarrier within the tumour. The significant findings of this study could open up new research perspectives in using novel magnetically-responsive nanomaterials in magnetic-drug targeting combined with multi-modal imaging.

Keywords: PEGylated PLGA, magnetic targeting, optical imaging, nuclear imaging, magnetic resonance imaging