Indocyanine Green-based Glow Nanoparticles Probe for Cancer Imaging

Nanotheranostics. 2023 Apr 9;7(4):353-367. doi: 10.7150/ntno.78405. eCollection 2023.


Indocyanine green (ICG) is one of the FDA-approved near infra-red fluorescent (NIRF) probes for cancer imaging and image-guided surgery in the clinical setting. However, the limitations of ICG include poor photostability, high concentration toxicity, short circulation time, and poor cancer cell specificity. To overcome these hurdles, we engineered a nanoconstruct composed of poly (vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP)-indocyanine green that is cloaked self-assembled with tannic acid (termed as indocyanine green-based glow nanoparticles probe, ICG-Glow NPs) for the cancer cell/tissue-specific targeting. The self-assembled ICG-Glow NPs were confirmed by spherical nanoparticles formation (DLS and TEM) and spectral analyses. The NIRF imaging characteristic of ICG-Glow NPs was established by superior fluorescence counts on filter paper and chicken tissue. The ICG-Glow NPs exhibited excellent hemo and cellular compatibility with human red blood cells, kidney normal, pancreatic normal, and other cancer cell lines. An enhanced cancer-specific NIRF binding and imaging capability of ICG-Glow NPs was confirmed using different human cancer cell lines and human tumor tissues. Additionally, tumor-specific binding/accumulation of ICG-Glow NPs was confirmed in MDA-MB-231 xenograft mouse model. Collectively, these findings suggest that ICG-Glow NPs have great potential as a novel and safe NIRF imaging probe for cancer cell/tumor imaging. This can lead to a quicker cancer diagnosis facilitating precise disease detection and management.

Keywords: deep tissue bioimaging; indocyanine green; nanoparticle probes; nanoparticles; near infra-red fluorescent cancer imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Indocyanine Green
  • Mice
  • Nanoparticles*
  • Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging


  • Indocyanine Green