We report novel bioconjugated nanosensitizers as optical and therapeutic probes for the detection, monitoring and treatment of cancer. These nanosensitisers, consisting of hypericin loaded bioconjugated gold nanoparticles, can act as tumor cell specific therapeutic photosensitizers for photodynamic therapy coupled with additional photothermal effects rendered by plasmonic heating effects of gold nanoparticles. In addition to the therapeutic effects, the nanosensitizer can be developed as optical probes for state-of-the-art multi-modality in-vivo optical imaging technology such as in-vivo 3D confocal fluorescence endomicroscopic imaging, optical coherence tomography (OCT) with improved optical contrast using nano-gold and Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS) based imaging and bio-sensing. These techniques can be used in tandem or independently as in-vivo optical biopsy techniques to specifically detect and monitor specific cancer cells in-vivo. Such novel nanosensitizer based optical biopsy imaging technique has the potential to provide an alternative to tissue biopsy and will enable clinicians to make real-time diagnosis, determine surgical margins during operative procedures and perform targeted treatment of cancers.

© 2011 OSA/SPIE

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