Ultrasmall, elementary and highly translational nanoparticle X-ray contrast media from amphiphilic iodinated statistical copolymers

Lu Su, Kellie S. Dalby, Hannah Luehmann, Sussana A. Elkassih, Sangho Cho, Xun He, Lisa Detering, Yen Nan Lin, Nari Kang, Dennis A. Moore, Richard Laforest, Guorong Sun, Yongjian Liu, Karen L. Wooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To expand the single-dose duration over which noninvasive clinical and preclinical cancer imaging can be conducted with high sensitivity, and well-defined spatial and temporal resolutions, a facile strategy to prepare ultrasmall nanoparticulate X-ray contrast media (nano-XRCM) as dual-modality imaging agents for positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) has been established. Synthesized from controlled copolymerization of triiodobenzoyl ethyl acrylate and oligo(ethylene oxide) acrylate monomers, the amphiphilic statistical iodocopolymers (ICPs) could directly dissolve in water to afford thermodynamically stable solutions with high aqueous iodine concentrations (>140 mg iodine/mL water) and comparable viscosities to conventional small molecule XRCM. The formation of ultrasmall iodinated nanoparticles with hydrodynamic diameters of ca. 10 nm in water was confirmed by dynamic and static light scattering techniques. In a breast cancer mouse model, in vivo biodistribution studies revealed that the 64Cu-chelator-functionalized iodinated nano-XRCM exhibited extended blood residency and higher tumor accumulation compared to typical small molecule imaging agents. PET/CT imaging of tumor over 3 days showed good correlation between PET and CT signals, while CT imaging allowed continuous observation of tumor retention even after 10 days post-injection, enabling longitudinal monitoring of tumor retention for imaging or potentially therapeutic effect after a single administration of nano-XRCM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1660-1670
Number of pages11
JournalActa Pharmaceutica Sinica B
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Amphiphilic statistical iodocopolymer
  • CT
  • Longitudinal tumor monitoring
  • PET/CT
  • Ultrasmall nanoassembly
  • X-ray contrast media


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