The synergistic physical and biological effects of selective targeting and activation of plasmonic nanoparticles were studied for a transient vapor nanobubble mode. Simultaneous optical activation of two plasmon resonances in multi-nanoparticle clusters significantly improved the selectivity and efficacy of the nanobubble generation through and was termed "rainbow plasmonic nanobubbles." The rainbow nanobubble mechanism has been studied in water and in living cells in vitro. This mechanism provided maximal selectivity of the nanobubble generation in both models and therefore, can the therapeutic selectivity and optical contrast of gold nanoparticles in a heterogeneous physiological microenvironment at cell level.
Theranostic applications require coupling of diagnosis and therapy, a high degree of specificity and adaptability to delivery methods compatible with clinical practice. The tunable physical and biological effects of selective targeting and activation of plasmonic nanobubbles (PNB) were studied in a heterogeneous biological microenvironment of prostate cancer and stromal cells. All cells were targeted with conjugates of gold nanoparticles (NPs) through an antibody-receptor-endocytosis-nanocluster mechanism that produced NP clusters. The simultaneous pulsed optical activation of intracellular NP clusters at several wavelengths resulted in higher optical contrast and therapeutic selectivity of PNBs compared with those of gold NPs alone. The developed mechanism was termed "rainbow plasmonic nanobubbles." The cellular effect of rainbow PNBs was tuned in situ in target cells, thus supporting a theranostic algorithm of prostate cancer cell detection and follow-up guided destruction without damage to collateral cells. The specificity and tunability of PNBs is promising for theranostic applications and we discuss a fiber optic platform that will capitalize on these features to bring theranostic tools to the clinic.
The limited specificity of nanoparticle (NP) uptake by target cells associated with a disease is one of the principal challenges of nanomedicine. Using the threshold mechanism of plasmonic nanobubble (PNB) generation and enhanced accumulation and clustering of gold nanoparticles in target cells, we increased the specificity of PNB generation and detection in target versus non-target cells by more than one order of magnitude compared to the specificity of NP uptake by the same cells. This improved cellular specificity of PNBs was demonstrated in six different cell models representing diverse molecular targets such as epidermal growth factor receptor, CD3 receptor, prostate specific membrane antigen and mucin molecule MUC1. Thus PNBs may be a universal method and nano-agent that overcome the problem of non-specific uptake of NPs by non-target cells and improve the specificity of NP-based diagnostics, therapeutics and theranostics at the cell level.
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