Gold nanoshells: Contrast agents for molecular imaging
Loo, Christopher Han-Yan
Drezek, Rebekah A.
Doctor of Philosophy
Cancer remains a significant health concern today. It is the 2 nd leading cause of death in the United States. Critical to controlling cancer-associated morbidity and mortality is early detection. Early detection strategies include detecting molecular-level changes prior to phenotypic changes, enabling a sufficient amount of time for effective therapies to be implemented. Not only is early detection critical, but issues such as patient safety and cost should be considered when implementing these strategies. This thesis examines work using nanoshell-based optical contrast agents for early cancer detection using scattering-based optical imaging systems. Metal nanoshells are a novel class of optically-tunable nanoscale material that are composed of a dielectric core (usually silica) surrounded by a metallic shell (usually gold). By systematically varying the ratio between core diameter and shell thickness, the absorption and scattering maxima can be tuned to different wavelengths including those in the visible and near infrared (NIR). Specific Aim 1 addresses the fabrication of NIR scattering nanoshells for use as optical contrast agents to enable scatter-based cellular imaging. Specific Aim 2 focuses on using dual NIR absorbing/scattering nanoshells for a nanoshell-based integrated cancer imaging and therapy application. Finally, Specific Aim 3 addresses the diagnostic capabilities of gold nanoshells ex vivo using reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM).
Biomedical engineering; Oncology