To date, knowing how to identify the location of chemotherapeutic agents in the human body after injection is still a challenge. Therefore, it is urgent to develop a drug delivery system with molecular imaging tracking ability to accurately understand the distribution, location, and concentration of a drug in living organisms. In this study, we developed bovine serum albumin (BSA)-based nanoparticles (NPs) with dual magnetic resonance (MR) and fluorescence imaging modalities (fluorescein isothiocyanate [FITC]-BSA-Gd/1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea [BCNU] NPs) to deliver BCNU for inhibition of brain tumor cells (MBR 261-2). These BSA-based NPs are water dispersible, stable, and biocompatible as confirmed by XTT cell viability assay. In vitro phantoms and in vivo MR and fluorescence imaging experiments show that the developed FITC-BSA-Gd/BCNU NPs enable dual MR and fluorescence imaging for monitoring cellular uptake and distribution in tumors. The T1 relaxivity (R1) of FITC-BSA-Gd/BCNU NPs was 3.25 mM-1 s-1, which was similar to that of the commercial T1 contrast agent (R1 =3.36 mM-1 s-1). The results indicate that this multifunctional drug delivery system has potential bioimaging tracking of chemotherapeutic agents ability in vitro and in vivo for cancer therapy.
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