Ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at late stages due to current inadequate detection. Therefore, the development of new detection methods of ovarian cancer is needed. This may be achieved by phage nanoparticles that display targeting peptides for optical imaging. Here, two such phage clones are reported. Ovarian cancer binding and specificity of phage clones (pJ18, pJ24) and peptides (J18, J24) were investigated using fluorescent microscopy and modified ELISA. Further, AF680-labeled phage particles were subjected to biodistribution and optical imaging studies in SKOV-3 xenografted mice. Fluorescent microscopy and ELISA of phage and peptides showed significantly increased binding to SKOV-3 cells compared to controls. Additionally, these studies revealed that J18 exhibits specificity for ovarian cancer SKOV-3 and OVCAR-3 cell lines. Further, peptides displayed increased SKOV-3 binding compared to N35 (non-relevant peptide) with EC50
values of 22.2 ± 10.6 μM and 29.0 ± 6.9 (mean ± SE), respectively. Biodistribution studies of AF680-labeled phage particles showed tumor uptake after 4 h and excretion through the reticuloendothelial system. Importantly, SKOV-3 tumors were easily localized by optical imaging after 2 h and 4 h and displayed good tumor-to-background contrast. The fluorescent tumor signal intensity was significantly higher for pJ18 compared to wild type (WT) after 2 h.
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