We have engineered nano-vesicles, derived from erythrocytes, which can be doped with various near infrared (NIR) organic chromophores, including the FDA-approved indocyanine green (ICG). We refer to these vesicles as NIR erythrocyte-mimicking transducers (NETS) since in response to NIR photo-excitation they can generate heat or emit fluorescent light. Using biochemical methods based on reduction amination, we have functionalized the surface of NET with antibodies to target specific biomolecules. We present results that demonstrate the effectiveness of NETs in targeted imaging of cancer cells that over-express the human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2).
Erythrocyte-based nanoparticle platforms can offer long circulation times not offered by traditional drug delivery methods. We have developed a novel erythrocyte-based nanoparticle doped with indocyanine green (ICG), the only FDA-approved near-infrared chromophore. Here, we report on the absorption and fluorescence emission characteristics of these nanoparticles fabricated using ICG concentrations in the range of 161-323 μM. These nanoparticles may serve as biocompatible optical materials for various clinical imaging and phototherapeutic applications.