Engineering of near infrared fluorescent proteinoid-poly(L-lactic acid) particles for in vivo colon cancer detection

Michal Kolitz-Domb, Igor Grinberg, Enav Corem-Salkmon, Shlomo Margel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: The use of near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging techniques has gained great interest for early detection of cancer owing to the negligible absorption and autofluorescence of water and other intrinsic biomolecules in this region. The main aim of the present study is to synthesize and characterize novel NIR fluorescent nanoparticles based on proteinoid and PLLA for early detection of colon tumors.Methods: The present study describes the synthesis of new proteinoid-PLLA copolymer and the preparation of NIR fluorescent nanoparticles for use in diagnostic detection of colon cancer. These fluorescent nanoparticles were prepared by a self-assembly process in the presence of the NIR dye indocyanine green (ICG), a FDA-approved NIR fluorescent dye. Anti-carcinoembryonic antigen antibody (anti-CEA), a specific tumor targeting ligand, was covalently conjugated to the P(EF-PLLA) nanoparticles through the surface carboxylate groups using the carbodiimide activation method.Results and discussion: The P(EF-PLLA) nanoparticles are stable in different conditions, no leakage of the encapsulated dye into PBS containing 4% HSA was detected. The encapsulation of the NIR fluorescent dye within the P(EF-PLLA) nanoparticles improves significantly the photostability of the dye. The fluorescent nanoparticles are non-toxic, and the biodistribution study in a mouse model showed they evacuate from the body over 24 h. Specific colon tumor detection in a chicken embryo model and a mouse model was demonstrated for anti-CEA-conjugated NIR fluorescent P(EF-PLLA) nanoparticles.Conclusions: The results of this study suggest a significant advantage of NIR fluorescence imaging using NIR fluorescent P(EF-PLLA) nanoparticles over colonoscopy. In future work we plan to broaden this study by encapsulating cancer drugs such as paclitaxel and/or doxorubicin, within these biodegradable NIR fluorescent P(EF-PLLA) nanoparticles, for both detection and therapy of colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalJournal of Nanobiotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Kolitz-Domb et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


  • Colon cancer
  • Fluorescent nanoparticles
  • NIR fluorescence
  • Optical imaging
  • Proteinoid nanoparticles


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