Near Infrared Fluorescence Optical Imaging

Near-infrared (NIR) optical imaging has unique advantages for diagnostic imaging of solid tumors. Specifically, NIR imaging is a potentially safe, noninvasive method of detecting solid tumors as NIR light (650- to 900-nm wavelengths) can penetrate several centimeters into tissue.58,85 The NIR dye indocyanine green (ICG), a model diagnostic agent, has been conjugated with the side carboxylic acid of branched PG having a PAMAM core and the terminal folic acid group as a targeting moiety (Figure 10.3).86 The resulting conjugate, PAMAM16-PG-(ICG)-folate, exhibited selective binding to KB cells (overexpressing folate receptors) but not to SK-Br3 cells that cannot express folate receptors. Additionally, this selective binding was partially blocked by free folic acid.

Owing to its favorable physicochemical properties, PG has been shown to be an excellent polymeric carrier of both diagnostic and therapeutic agents. PG-TXL has become the first PG-based polymeric agent to be tested in clinical trials. The newer generation of PG-based polymers will have


to meet a number of challenges, including the development of novel polymers with modulated rates of degradation, versatile conjugation chemistry allowing site-specific attachment of targeting moieties, and polymerization methods that allow accurate control of polymer molecular weights and molecular weight distributions.

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