Immunotargeted nanoshells for integrated cancer imaging and therapy

Nano Lett. 2005 Apr;5(4):709-11. doi: 10.1021/nl050127s.


Nanoshells are a novel class of optically tunable nanoparticles that consist of a dielectric core surrounded by a thin gold shell. Based on the relative dimensions of the shell thickness and core radius, nanoshells may be designed to scatter and/or absorb light over a broad spectral range including the near-infrared (NIR), a wavelength region that provides maximal penetration of light through tissue. The ability to control both wavelength-dependent scattering and absorption of nanoshells offers the opportunity to design nanoshells which provide, in a single nanoparticle, both diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities. Here, we demonstrate a novel nanoshell-based all-optical platform technology for integrating cancer imaging and therapy applications. Immunotargeted nanoshells are engineered to both scatter light in the NIR enabling optical molecular cancer imaging and to absorb light, allowing selective destruction of targeted carcinoma cells through photothermal therapy. In a proof of principle experiment, dual imaging/therapy immunotargeted nanoshells are used to detect and destroy breast carcinoma cells that overexpress HER2, a clinically relevant cancer biomarker.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / immunology
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma / immunology
  • Carcinoma / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Nanostructures*
  • Phototherapy
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / immunology*
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Receptor, ErbB-2