Theranostics 2016; 6(12):2196-2208. doi:10.7150/thno.16923

Research Paper

Biodegradable Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanodots for Non-Invasive Photoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

Changho Lee1,5*, Woosung Kwon2*, Songeun Beack3*, Donghyun Lee1, Yoonsang Park4, Hyemin Kim3, Sei Kwang Hahn3✉, Shi-Woo Rhee2,4✉, Chulhong Kim1✉

1. Department of Creative IT Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam-ro, Pohang 37673, South Korea;
2. Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Sookmyung Women's University, 100 Cheongpa-ro 47-gil, Seoul 04310, South Korea;
3. Department of Materials and Science Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam-ro, Pohang 37673, South Korea;
4. Department of Chemical Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), 77 Cheongam-ro, Pohang 37673, South Korea.
5. Current address: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA.
* These authors contributed equally on this work.

Abstract

Multifunctional nanoparticles have been widely investigated for biomedical applications, such as imaging, therapy, and drug delivery. Especially, photoactive nanoparticles have received great attention as theranostic agents because of their heat-generating abilities after exposure to laser irradiation. However, photostability and safety issues have been the technical hurdles for further clinical applications. Here, we designed nitrogen (N)-doped carbon nanodots (N-CNDs) that have strong absorption in the near-infrared region, high photostability, and excellent biodegradability. Optimized N-CNDs can be utilized not only as a new photoacoustic (PA) imaging agent but also as a superior photothermal therapy (PTT) agent in vivo because of their strong optical absorption at a specific wavelength. We used N-CNDs to perform in vivo/ex vivo noninvasive PA imaging of sentinel lymph nodes via local delivery and performed PTT for cancer ablation therapy. Finally, biodegradation and renal clearance were confirmed by performing whole-body PA monitoring and a degradation test.

Keywords: Carbon nanodot, Nitrogen doping, Photoacoustic, Photothermal, Biodegradation.

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How to cite this article:
Lee C, Kwon W, Beack S, Lee D, Park Y, Kim H, Hahn SK, Rhee SW, Kim C. Biodegradable Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanodots for Non-Invasive Photoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy. Theranostics 2016; 6(12):2196-2208. doi:10.7150/thno.16923. Available from http://www.thno.org/v06p2196.htm