TH-C-17A-02: New Radioluminescence Strategies Based On CRET (Cerenkov Radiation Energy Transfer) for Imaging and Therapy




Cerenkov photons are produced when charged particles, emitted from radionuclides, travel through a media with a speed greater than that of the light in the media. Cerenkov radiation is mostly in the UV/Blue region and, thus, readily absorbed by biological tissue. Cerenkov Radiation Energy Transfer (CRET) is a wavelength-shifting phenomenon from blue Cerenkov light to more penetrating red wavelengths. We demonstrate the feasibility of in-depth imaging of CRET light originating from radionuclides realized by down conversion of gold nanoclusters (AuNCs, a novel particle composed of few atoms of gold coated with serum proteins) in vivo.


Bovine Serum Albumin, Human Serum Albumin and Transferrin conjugated gold nanoclusters were synthesized, characterized and examined for CRET. Three different clinically used radiotracers: 18F-FDG, 90Y and 99mTc were used. Optical spectrum (440–750 nm) was recorded by sensitive bioluminescence imaging system at physiological temperature. Dose dependence (activity range from 0.5 up to 800uCi) and concentration dependence (0.01 to 1uM) studies were carried out. The compound was also imaged in a xenograft mouse model.


Only β+ and β--emitting radionuclides (18F-FDG, 90Y) are capable of CRET; no signal was found in 99mTc (γ-emitter). The emission peak of CRET by AuNCs was found to be ∼700 nm and was ∼3 fold times of background. In vitro studies showed a linear dependency between luminescence intensity and dose and concentration. CRET by gold nanoclusters was observed in xenografted mice injected with 100uCi of 18F-FDG.


The unique optical, transport and chemical properties of AuNCs (gold nanoclusters) make them ideal candidates for in-vivo imaging applications. Development of new molecular imaging probes will allow us to achieve substantially improved spatiotemporal resolution, sensitivity and specificity for tumor imaging and detection.