We have previously demonstrated that exposed phosphatidylserine (PS) on tumor vascular endothelial cells is highly tumor specific, and development of the PS targeted near infrared (NIR) optical probe enables successful in vivo
optical imaging of U87 gliomas in a mouse model. Liposomes have been widely used as a nanovector for delivery of chemotherapeutics and imaging contrast agents due to their high payload and longer circulation time. In the current study, we have fabricated PS-targeted liposomal nanoprobes encapsulating a NIR dye, IRDye®
800CW, aiming to enhance PS-targeted tumor imaging. Hydrophilic 800CW dye was packed into the core of polyethylene glycol (PEG)-coated liposomes functionalized with F(ab’)2
fragments of PGN635, a fully human monoclonal antibody that binds PS. As expected, in vivo
dynamic NIR imaging revealed significantly improved tumor/normal contrast (TNR = 20 ± 3; p
< 0.01) of subcutaneous U87 gliomas in mice after injection of the liposomal nanoprobes. Markedly enhanced TNR was observed after the tumors were irradiated to increase PS exposure (TNR = 48 ± 6; p
< 0.05). Intriguingly, the liposomal nanoprobes, PGN-L-800CW showed distinct biodistribution and pharmacokinetics compared to the 800CW-PGN probes used in our previous study. Our data further suggest the usefulness of PS-targeted imaging probes for sensitive tumor detection and the potential of utilizing liposomal platform for glioma theranostics.