Cetuximab-labeled liposomes containing near-infrared probe for in vivo imaging

Emma Portnoy, Shimon Lecht, Philip Lazarovici, Dganit Danino, Shlomo Magdassi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


A new liposome-based near-infrared probe that combines both imaging and targeting abilities was developed for application in medical imaging. The near-infrared fluorescent molecule indocyanine green (ICG), and the cetuximab monoclonal antibody for epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) were attached to liposomes by passive adsorption. It was found that ICG molecules adsorbed to the liposomes are more fluorescent than free ICG and have a larger quantum yield. Cetuximab-adsorbed fluorescent liposomes preserved EGFR recognition, as is evident from internalization and selective binding to A431 colon carcinoma cells overexpressing EGFR. The binding of cetuximab-targeted fluorescent liposomes to A431 compared with IEC-6 cells (normal enterocytes expressing physiological EGFR levels) was greater by a factor of 3.5, ensuring imaging abilities with available fluorescent equipment. Due to relatively high quantum yield and specific tumor cell-recognizing ability, this technology deserves further in vivo evaluation for imaging and diagnostic purposes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)480-488
Number of pages9
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Some of the results presented in this article were submitted in a recent provisional patent application. This work was supported by BioMedical Photonics Consortium in the frame of MAGNET program, Israel Ministry of Industry and Trade. P.L. is affiliated with the David R. Bloom Center for Pharmacy and the Dr. Adolf and Klara Brettler Center for Research in Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.


  • Cetuximab
  • Imaging
  • Indocyanine green
  • Liposomes
  • Near infrared


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