Optical detection of gold nanoparticles in a prostate-shaped porcine phantom.

Research paper by Serge S Grabtchak, Elena E Tonkopi, William M WM Whelan

Indexed on: 19 Jul '13Published on: 19 Jul '13Published in: Journal of biomedical optics


Gold nanoparticles can be used as molecular contrast agents binding specifically to cancer sites and thus delineating tumor regions. Imaging gold nanoparticles deeply embedded in tissues with optical techniques possesses significant challenges due to multiple scattering of optical photons that blur the obtained images. Both diagnostic and therapeutic applications can benefit from a minimally invasive technique that can identify, localize, and quantify the payloads of gold nanoparticles deeply embedded in biological tissues. An optical radiance technique is applied to map localized inclusions of gold nanorods in 650- to 900-nm spectral range in a porcine phantom that mimics prostate geometry. Optical radiance defines a variation in the angular density of photons impinging on a selected point in the tissue from various directions. The inclusions are formed by immersing a capillary filled with gold nanorods in the phantom at increasing distances from the detecting fiber. The technique allows the isolation of the spectroscopic signatures of the inclusions from the background and identification of inclusion locations in the angular domain. Detection of ∼4×1010 gold nanoparticles or 0.04  mg Au/mL (detector-inclusion separation 10 mm, source-detector separation 15 mm) in the porcine tissue is demonstrated. The encouraging results indicate a promising potential of radiance spectroscopy in early prostate cancer diagnostics with gold nanoparticles.