Tunable plasmonic nanobubbles for cell theranostics

When irradiated with intense, sub-nanosecond laser pulses, plasmon resonant nanoparticles generate transient micron-scale bubbles in the surrounding medium. The Joint US-Belarussian Lab for Fundamental and Biomedical Nanophotonics researchers are studying biomedical diagnostic and therapeutic applications of this transient phenomenon.

• Plasmonic nanobubbles: laser pulse and plasmonic nanoparticle-generated transient event with tunable optical and mechanical properties.
• Physical and optical properties of plasmon nanoparticles at high temperatures and in multi-phase environment.
• Methods for imaging and characterization of plasmon nanoparticles.
• Heat transfer at nano-scale.
• Interaction of plasmonic nanobubbles with living cells and tissue.
• Zebrafish: optically transparent organism as a model for plasmonic nanomedicine

Nanotechnology – Tunable plasmonic nanobubbles for cell theranostics

Combining diagnostic and therapeutic processes into one (theranostics) and improving their selectivity to the cellular level may offer significant benefits in various research and disease systems and currently is not supported with efficient methods and agents. We have developed a novel method based on the gold nanoparticle-generated transient photothermal vapor nanobubbles, that we refer to as plasmonic nanobubbles (PNB). After delivery and clusterization of the gold nanoparticles (NP) to the target cells the intracellular PNBs were optically generated and controlled through the laser fluence. The PNB action was tuned in individual living cells from non-invasive high-sensitive imaging at lower fluence to disruption of the cellular membrane at higher fluence. We have achieved non-invasive 50-fold amplification of the optical scattering amplitude with the PNBs (relative to that of NPs), selective mechanical and fast damage to specific cells with bigger PNBs, and optical guidance of the damage through the damage-specific signals of the bubbles. Thus the PNBs acted as tunable theranostic agents at the cellular level and in one process that have supported diagnosis, therapy and guidance of the therapy.

• Cell theranostics: dynamically tuned intracellular plasmonic nanobubbles combine diagnosis (through optical scattering), therapy (through mechanical, nonthermal and selective damage of target cells) and optical guidance of the therapy into one fast process.

• High-sensitive imaging and diagnosis of cells with plasmonic nanobubbles that may provide up to 102-3-fold increase in sensitivity compared to gold nanoparticles and 105-6 fold increase in sensitivity compared to fluorescent molecules.
• Targeted therapy with plasmonic nanobubbles: LANTCET (laser activated nano-thermolysis as cell elimination technology). Applicastions: treatment of leukemia and of superficial tumors.
• Controlled release and intracellular delivery of therapeutic and diagnostic agent into the cells.
• Methods for imaging plasmonic nanoparticles in living cells and in tissue.
• Micro-surgery with plasmonic nanobubbles: recanalization of occluded coronary arteries.