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Indocyanine Green-Coated Polycaprolactone Micelles for Fluorescence Imaging of Tumors

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journal contribution
posted on 02.04.2020 by Lijun Luo, Lesan Yan, Ahmad Amirshaghaghi, Yulong Wei, Tianyan You, Sunil Singhal, Andrew Tsourkas, Zhiliang Cheng
Recently, near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent dyes such as indocyanine green (ICG) have received tremendous interest as contrast agents for use in fluorescence-guided, intraoperative cancer resection surgery. However, despite showing great promise, ICG has many shortcomings such as rapid clearance and poor tumor accumulation. To improve the selective accumulation of ICG within tumors, numerous groups have formulated ICG into nanoparticles, but these approaches can suffer from rapid leakage of ICG, use of materials that exhibit poor or incomplete excretion, or complex chemistries that are not easily amenable to scale up for clinical use. Here, we developed a simple one-step method to prepare ICG-based fluorescent micelles that are composed solely of unmodified ICG and polycaprolactone (PCL), two clinically used materials with well-characterized safety profiles. The ICG-PCL micelles are prepared via oil-in-water emulsions, and the resulting micelles exhibit a uniform size, good reproducibility, and high loading efficiency. In vivo fluorescence imaging demonstrated that the ICG-PCL micelles led to a significant improvement in the accumulation and retention of ICG, in four different tumor models, compared with free dye, making them an attractive option for image-guided surgery.