In Vivo Evaluation of Multifunctional Gold Nanorods for Boron Neutron Capture and Photothermal Therapies

Krishna R. Pulagam, Malou Henriksen-Lacey, Kepa B. Uribe, Carlos Renero-Lecuna, Jatish Kumar, Alexandra Charalampopoulou, Angelica Facoetti, Nicoletta Protti, Vanessa Gómez-Vallejo, Zuriñe Baz, Vished Kumar, Ana Sánchez-Iglesias, Saverio Altieri, Unai Cossío, Desire Di Silvio, Angel M. Martínez-Villacorta, Ane Ruiz De Angulo, Luka Rejc, Luis M. Liz-Marzán, Jordi Llop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The incidence and mortality of cancer demand more innovative approaches and combination therapies to increase treatment efficacy and decrease off-target side effects. We describe a boron-rich nanoparticle composite with potential applications in both boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) and photothermal therapy (PTT). Our strategy is based on gold nanorods (AuNRs) stabilized with polyethylene glycol and functionalized with the water-soluble complex cobalt bis(dicarbollide) ([3,3′-Co(1,2-C2B9H11)2]-), commonly known as COSAN. Radiolabeling with the positron emitter copper-64 (64Cu) enabled in vivo tracking using positron emission tomography imaging. 64Cu-labeled multifunctionalized AuNRs proved to be radiochemically stable and capable of being accumulated in the tumor after intravenous administration in a mouse xenograft model of gastrointestinal cancer. The resulting multifunctional AuNRs showed high biocompatibility and the capacity to induce local heating under external stimulation and trigger cell death in heterogeneous cancer spheroids as well as the capacity to decrease cell viability under neutron irradiation in cancer cells. These results position our nanoconjugates as suitable candidates for combined BNCT/PTT therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49589-49601
Number of pages13
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - Oct 27 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • boron neutron capture therapy
  • gold nanorods
  • photothermal therapy
  • positron emission tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science


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