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Phosphatidylserine targeted single-walled carbon nanotubes for photothermal ablation of bladder cancer

Needa A Virani, Carole Davis, Patrick McKernan, Paul Hauser, Robert E Hurst, Joel Slaton, Ricardo P Silvy, Daniel E Resasco, Roger G Harrison
© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd. Bladder cancer has a 60%-70% recurrence rate most likely due to any residual tumour left behind after a transurethral resection (TUR). Failure to completely resect the cancer can lead to recurrence and progression into higher grade tumours with metastatic potential. We present here a novel therapy to treat superficial tumours with the potential to decrease recurrence. The therapy is a heat-based approach in which bladder tumour specific single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are delivered intravesically at a very low dose (0.1 mg SWCNT per kg body weight) followed 24 h later by a short 30 s treatment with a 360° near-infrared light that heats only the bound nanotubes. The energy density of the treatment was 50 J cm -2 , and the power density that this treatment corresponds to is 1.7 W cm -2 , which is relatively low. Nanotubes are specifically targeted to the tumour via the interaction of annexin V (AV) and phosphatidylserine, which is normally internalised on healthy tissue but externalised on tumours and the tumour vasculature. SWCNTs are conjugated to AV, which binds specifically to bladder cancer cells as confirmed in vitro and in vivo. Due to this specific localisation, NIR light can be used to heat the tumour while conserving the healthy bladder wall. In a short-term efficacy study in mice with orthotopic MB49 murine bladder tumours treated with the SWCNT-AV conjugate and NIR light, no tumours were visible on the bladder wall 24 h after NIR light treatment, and there was no damage to the bladder. In a separate survival study in mice with the same type of orthotopic tumours, there was a 50% cure rate at 116 days when the study was ended. At 116 days, no treatment toxicity was observed, and no nanotubes were detected in the clearance organs or bladder.

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