Synthesis and characterization of near IR fluorescent albumin nanoparticles for optical detection of colon cancer

Sarit Cohen, Michal Pellach, Yossi Kam, Igor Grinberg, Enav Corem-Salkmon, Abraham Rubinstein, Shlomo Margel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Near IR (NIR) fluorescent human serum albumin (HSA) nanoparticles hold great promise as contrast agents for tumor diagnosis. HSA nanoparticles are considered to be biocompatible, non-toxic and non-immunogenic. In addition, NIR fluorescence properties of these nanoparticles are important for in vivo tumor diagnostics, with low autofluorescence and relatively deep penetration of NIR irradiation due to low absorption of biomatrices. The present study describes the synthesis of new NIR fluorescent HSA nanoparticles, by entrapment of a NIR fluorescent dye within the HSA nanoparticles, which also significantly increases the photostability of the dye. Tumor-targeting ligands such as peanut agglutinin (PNA) and anti-carcinoembryonic antigen antibodies (anti-CEA) were covalently conjugated to the NIR fluorescent albumin nanoparticles, increasing the potential fluorescent signal in tumors with upregulated corresponding receptors. Specific colon tumor detection by the NIR fluorescent HSA nanoparticles was demonstrated in a chicken embryo model and a rat model. In future work we also plan to encapsulate cancer drugs such as doxorubicin within the NIR fluorescent HSA nanoparticles for both colon cancer imaging and therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-931
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Israeli Ministry of Commerce and Industry (BMP Consortium of Biomedical Photonics) . The authors thank Dr. Benny Perlstein for his assistance in this study. Thanks also to Dr. Ronen Yehuda for his assistance with the fluorescent images.


  • Fluorescent nanoparticles
  • HSA nanoparticles
  • Keywords
  • NIR fluorescence
  • NIR fluorescent albumin nanoparticles
  • Optical imaging


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