Engineered nanoparticles with large surface to volume ratios, versatile surface functionalization capabilities, and unique physical or chemical characteristics, have attracted significant attention in biomedical research. These versatile nanoparticles can stimulate, respond to, and interact with target proteins, cells or tissues in controlled ways. Combined with non-invasive molecular imaging technology such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluorescence imaging, the use of nanoparticle probes as exogenous contrast for molecular imaging in neuroscience is bringing the detection and treatment assessment of neurological diseases to a new stage.
In this work, we will devise new, hybrid dual-imaging magnetofluorescent nanoparticles (MFNPs) integrating both iron oxide and an inorganic fluorophore, modify their surface to achieve biofunctionality while minimize toxicity to cells or tissues, and apply them in a brain tumor model. The hybrid nanostructure ensure a small diameter for nanoparticles thus increasing bioavailability, and the inorganic fluorophore has a high quantum yield and an excellent stability against photobleaching to ensure higher signal to noise in imaging. We will test the hypothesis that the hybrid MFNPs can be surface-modified to specifically target glioma brain tumors and imaged with both MR and optical fluorescence imaging, and explore additional applications of engineered nanoparticles.