Letter abstract


Nature Materials 8, 331 - 336 (2009)
Published online: 22 February 2009 | doi:10.1038/nmat2398

Subject Categories: Biomedical materials | Optical, photonic and optoelectronic materials | Nanoscale materials | Porous materials

Biodegradable luminescent porous silicon nanoparticles for in vivo applications

Ji-Ho Park1,2, Luo Gu1, Geoffrey von Maltzahn3, Erkki Ruoslahti4, Sangeeta N. Bhatia3,5,6 & Michael J. Sailor1,2,7

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Nanomaterials that can circulate in the body hold great potential to diagnose and treat disease1, 2, 3, 4. For such applications, it is important that the nanomaterials be harmlessly eliminated from the body in a reasonable period of time after they carry out their diagnostic or therapeutic function. Despite efforts to improve their targeting efficiency, significant quantities of systemically administered nanomaterials are cleared by the mononuclear phagocytic system before finding their targets, increasing the likelihood of unintended acute or chronic toxicity. However, there has been little effort to engineer the self-destruction of errant nanoparticles into non-toxic, systemically eliminated products. Here, we present luminescent porous silicon nanoparticles (LPSiNPs) that can carry a drug payload and of which the intrinsic near-infrared photoluminescence enables monitoring of both accumulation and degradation in vivo. Furthermore, in contrast to most optically active nanomaterials (carbon nanotubes, gold nanoparticles and quantum dots), LPSiNPs self-destruct in a mouse model into renally cleared components in a relatively short period of time with no evidence of toxicity. As a preliminary in vivo application, we demonstrate tumour imaging using dextran-coated LPSiNPs (D-LPSiNPs). These results demonstrate a new type of multifunctional nanostructure with a low-toxicity degradation pathway for in vivo applications.

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  1. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA
  2. Materials Science and Engineering Program, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA
  3. Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
  4. Burnham Institute for Medical Research at UCSB, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106, USA
  5. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA
  6. Division of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
  7. Department of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA

Correspondence to: Michael J. Sailor1,2,7 e-mail: msailor@ucsd.edu



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