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The application of plasmonic-enhanced Raman imaging of cancer cells and drug delivery is gaining momentum. Here, we propose a new theranostic strategy based on an efficient plasmonic-tunable Raman/Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy imaging, to simultaneously evaluate the anticancer drug scattering cellular imaging and the Raman scattering molecular vibration signals in living cells. This technique allows to monitoring the drug release throughout the cell cycle and in vivo biodistribution and biocompatibility with low dose drug therapy (200 µg/mL) and low toxicity effect. This system can directly track in real-time the delivery and release of an anticancer drug (mitoxantrone, MTX) from gold nanostars in single living cells and in mice (healthy and lung cancer mice models), revealing a strong accumulation in the heart of healthy mice 5 minutes after administration and infiltration in the tumor site of lung cancer mice 5 hours after systemic injection. This in vivo SERS detection method holds a great promise for application in image-guided cancer chemotherapy or as a nonspecific anti-inflammatory therapy for patients with cardiovascular diseases or chronic heart failure.
Tian, F., Conde J., Bao, C. Chen, Y., Curtin, J. & Cui, D. (2016). Gold nanostars for efficient in vitro and in vivo real-time SERS detection and drug delivery via plasmonic-tunable Raman/FTIR imaging. Biomaterials, vo.106, pp.87-97.