19th July 2022 | Nanomaterials

Ultrasmall-in-Nano: Why Size Matters

Ryan D. Mellor & Ijeoma F. Uchegbu


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are continuing to gain popularity in the field of nanotechnology. New methods are continuously being developed to tune the particles’ physicochemical properties, resulting in control over their biological fate and applicability to in vivo diagnostics and therapy. This review focuses on the effects of varying particle size on optical properties, opsonization, cellular internalization, renal clearance, biodistribution, tumor accumulation, and toxicity. We review the common methods of synthesizing ultrasmall AuNPs, as well as the emerging constructs termed ultrasmall-in-nano — an approach which promises to provide the desirable properties from both ends of the AuNP size range. We review the various applications and outcomes of ultrasmall-in-nano constructs in vitro and in vivo.

21st March 2022 | Nanotheranostics

Surface enhanced deep Raman detection of cancer tumour through 71 mm of heterogeneous tissue

Priyanka Dey, Alexandra Vaideanu, Sara Mosca, Marzieh Salimi, Benjamin Gardner, Francesca Palombo, Ijeoma Uchegbu, Jeremy Baumberg, Andreas Schatzlein, Pavel Matousek & Nick Stone


Detection of solid tumours through tissue – from depths relevant to humans – has been a significant challenge for biomedical Raman spectroscopy. The combined use of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) imaging agents with deep Raman spectroscopy (DRS), i.e., surface enhanced deep Raman spectroscopy (SEDRS), offer prospects for overcoming such obstacles. In this study, we investigated the maximum detection depth through which the retrieval of SERS signal of a passively targeted biphenyl-4-thiol tagged gold nanoparticle (NP) imaging agent, injected subcutaneously into a mouse bearing breast cancer tumour, was possible. A compact 830 nm set-up with a hand-held probe and the flexibility of switching between offset, transmission and conventional Raman modalities was developed for this study. In vivo injection of the above SERS NP primary dose allowed surface tumour detection, whereas additional post mortem NP booster dose was required for detection of deeply seated tumours through heterogeneous animal tissue (comprising of proteins, fat, bone, organs, blood, and skin). The highest detection depth of 71 mm was probed using transmission, translating into a ~40% increase in detection depth compared to earlier reports. Such improvements in detection depth along with the inherent Raman chemical sensitivity brings SEDRS one step closer to future clinical cancer imaging technology.


Image description COMING SOON...

10th March 2022 | Nanomaterials

Nanoparticle-Mediated Photothermal Therapy Limitation in Clinical Applications Regarding Pain Management

Marzieh Salimi, Sara Mosca, Benjamin Gardner, Francesca Palombo, Pavel Matousek & Nicholas Stone


The development of new effective cancer treatment methods has attracted much attention, mainly due to the limited efficacy and considerable side effects of currently used cancer treatment methods such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Photothermal therapy based on the use of plasmonically resonant metallic nanoparticles has emerged as a promising technique to eradicate cancer cells selectively. In this method, plasmonic nanoparticles are first preferentially uptaken by a tumor and then selectively heated by exposure to laser radiation with a specific plasmonic resonant wavelength, to destroy the tumor whilst minimizing damage to adjacent normal tissue. However, several parameters can limit the effectiveness of photothermal therapy, resulting in insufficient heating and potentially leading to cancer recurrence. One of these parameters is the patient’s pain sensation during the treatment, if this is performed without use of anesthetic. Pain can restrict the level of applicable laser radiation, cause an interruption to the treatment course and, as such, affect its efficacy, as well as leading to a negative patient experience and consequential general population hesitancy to this type of therapy. Since having a comfortable and painless procedure is one of the important treatment goals in the clinic, along with its high effectiveness, and due to the relatively low number of studies devoted to this specific topic, we have compiled this review. Moreover, non-invasive and painless methods for temperature measurement during photothermal therapy (PTT), such as Raman spectroscopy and nanothermometry, will be discussed in the following. Here, we firstly outline the physical phenomena underlying the photothermal therapy, and then discuss studies devoted to photothermal cancer treatment concerning pain management and pathways for improved efficiency of photothermal therapy whilst minimizing pain experienced by the patient.