External beam radiation therapy relies on the ability to deliver high radiation doses to tumor cells with minimal exposure to surrounding healthy tissue. Advanced irradiation techniques, including image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), rely on the ability to locate tumors to optimize the therapeutic benefit of these techniques. Today, radiopaque fiducial tissue markers are placed in or around tumors, for example, in prostate cancer patients to enhance the precision of daily and/or real-time IGRT. A liquid injectable fiducial marker (nanogel) is developed based on PEGylated gold nanoparticles and sucrose acetate isobutyrate (SAIB) with improved properties compared to current solid fiducial markers. The developed nanogel is investigated in vitro and subsequently evaluated in vivo in immunocompetent NMRI mice. The nanogel shows high CT-contrast and excellent stability in vivo over a period of 12 weeks. The nanogel is found to be biocompatible and well tolerated. No induction of the inflammatory cytokines INF-γ, IL-6, or TNF-α is observed throughout the study period. The developed nanogel seems to be a safe injectable fiducial marker ideally suited for IGRT that may further enhance the effect of radiation.
Advanced Healthcare Materials, 2014, Vol 3, Issue 10, p. 1680-1687