Nanoagents Based on Poly(ethylene glycol)-b-Poly(l-thyroxine) Block Copolypeptide for Enhanced Dual-Modality Imaging and Targeted Tumor Radiotherapy

Small. 2019 Nov;15(45):e1902577. doi: 10.1002/smll.201902577. Epub 2019 Sep 20.


Future healthcare requires development of novel theranostic agents that are capable of not only enhancing diagnosis and monitoring therapeutic responses but also augmenting therapeutic outcomes. Here, a versatile and stable nanoagent is reported based on poly(ethylene glycol)-b-poly(l-thyroxine) (PEG-PThy) block copolypeptide for enhanced single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) dual-modality imaging and targeted tumor radiotherapy in vivo. PEG-PThy acquired by polymerization of l-thyroxine-N-carboxyanhydride (Thy-NCA) displays a controlled Mn , high iodine content of ≈49.2 wt%, and can spontaneously form 65 nm-sized nanoparticles (PThyN). In contrast to clinically used contrast agents like iohexol and iodixanol, PThyN reveals iso-osmolality, low viscosity, and long circulation time. While PThyN exhibits comparable in vitro CT attenuation efficacy to iohexol, it greatly enhances in vivo CT imaging of vascular systems and soft tissues. PThyN allows for surface decoration with the cRGD peptide achieving enhanced CT imaging of subcutaneous B16F10 melanoma and orthotopic A549 lung tumor. Taking advantages of a facile iodine exchange reaction, 125 I-labeled PThyN enables SPECT/CT imaging of tumors and monitoring of PThyN biodistribution in vivo. Besides, 131 I-labeled and cRGD-functionalized PThyN displays remarkable growth inhibition of the B16F10 tumor in mice (tumor inhibition rate > 89%). These poly(l-thyroxine) nanoparticles provide a unique and versatile theranostic platform for varying diseases.

Keywords: CT imaging; SPECT imaging; polypeptides; radiotherapy; theranostic agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contrast Media / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Peptides / chemistry*
  • Polyethylene Glycols / chemistry*
  • Radiotherapy / methods*
  • Theranostic Nanomedicine / methods
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Peptides
  • Polyethylene Glycols