Authors: Emilie Darrigues, Zeid A. Nima, Dmitry A. Nedosekin, Fumiya Watanabe, Karrer M. Alghazali, Vladimir P. Zharov, Alexandru S. Biris
Publication: Scientific Reports, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2020
Abstract: Pancreatic cancer is one of the most complex types of cancers to detect, diagnose, and treat. However, the field of nanomedicine has strong potential to address such challenges. When evaluating the diffusion and penetration of theranostic nanoparticles, the extracellular matrix (ECM) is of crucial importance because it acts as a barrier to the tumor microenvironment. In the present study, the penetration of functionalized, fluorescent gold nanorods into large (>500 μm) multicellular 3D tissue spheroids was studied using a multimodal imaging approach. The spheroids were generated by co-culturing pancreatic cancer cells and pancreatic stellate cells in multiple ratios to mimic variable tumor-stromal compositions and to investigate nanoparticle penetration. Fluorescence live imaging, photothermal, and photoacoustic analysis were utilized to examine nanoparticle behavior in the spheroids. Uniquely, the nanorods are intrinsically photoacoustic and photothermal, enabling multi-imaging detection even when fluorescence tracking is not possible or ideal.