In vitro assessment of antibody-conjugated gold nanorods for systemic injections

J Nanobiotechnology. 2014 Dec 5:12:55. doi: 10.1186/s12951-014-0055-3.


Background: The interest for gold nanorods in biomedical optics is driven by their intense absorbance of near infrared light, their biocompatibility and their potential to reach tumors after systemic administration. Examples of applications include the photoacoustic imaging and the photothermal ablation of cancer. In spite of great current efforts, the selective delivery of gold nanorods to tumors through the bloodstream remains a formidable challenge. Their bio-conjugation with targeting units, and in particular with antibodies, is perceived as a hopeful solution, but the complexity of living organisms complicates the identification of possible obstacles along the way to tumors.

Results: Here, we present a new model of gold nanorods conjugated with anti-cancer antigen 125 (CA125) antibodies, which exhibit high specificity for ovarian cancer cells. We implement a battery of tests in vitro, in order to simulate major nuisances and predict the feasibility of these particles for intravenous injections. We show that parameters like the competition of free CA125 in the bloodstream, which could saturate the probe before arriving at the tumors, the matrix effect and the interference with erythrocytes and phagocytes are uncritical.

Conclusions: Although some deterioration is detectable, anti-CA125-conjugated gold nanorods retain their functional features after interaction with blood tissue and so represent a powerful candidate to hit ovarian cancer cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • CA-125 Antigen / administration & dosage
  • CA-125 Antigen / chemistry
  • CA-125 Antigen / immunology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cetrimonium
  • Cetrimonium Compounds / chemistry
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical / methods
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gold / administration & dosage*
  • Gold / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Membrane Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Nanotubes / chemistry*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology


  • Antibodies
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • CA-125 Antigen
  • Cetrimonium Compounds
  • MUC16 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Gold
  • Cetrimonium