Early diagnosis of tumor malignancy is crucial for timely cancer treatment aimed at imparting desired clinical outcomes. The traditional fluorescencebased imaging is unfortunately faced with challenges such as low tissue penetration and background autofluorescence. Upconversion (UC)-based bioimaging can overcome these limitations as their excitation occurs at lower frequencies and the emission at higher frequencies. In this study, multifunctional silica-based nanocapsules were synthesized to encapsulate two distinct triplet-Triplet annihilation UC chromophore pairs. Each nanocapsule emits different colors, blue or green, following a red light excitation. These nanocapsules were further conjugated with either antibodies or peptides to selectively target breast or colon cancer cells, respectively. Both in vitro and in vivo experimental results herein demonstrate cancer-specific and differential-color imaging from single wavelength excitation as well as far greater accumulation at targeted tumor sites than that due to the enhanced permeability and retention effect. This approach can be used to host a variety of chromophore pairs for various tumor-specific, color-coding scenarios and can be employed for diagnosis of a wide range of cancer types within the heterogeneous tumor microenvironment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)