Targeted biological contrast agents are emerging as promising candidates in the field of cancer theragnostics. Herein, we report an ambient temperature synthesis of a nanosized, antibody functionalized lanthanide doped CaF 2 biolabel and demonstrate in vitro its potential for cancer cell targeting efficacy and specificity. Monodispersed citrate stabilized lanthanide (Eu3+) doped CaF2 nanoparticles with size ∼25 nm, exhibiting strong fluorescent emission at 612 nm, were prepared using an aqueous wet chemical route at room temperature. Biofunctionalization of the fluorescent nanoparticles using an anti-EGFR antibody through EDC-NHS coupling chemistry enabled targeting of EGFR over-expressing cells. The nanobioconjugates showed preferential binding to EGFR+ve oral epithelial carcinoma cells (KB) and human epidermoid carcinoma cells (A431) with no accumulation onto EGFR -ve non-cancerous NIH 3T3 cells. The fluorescence was maintained after the bioconjugation as well as after attachment to the cancer cells, demonstrating their potential as targeted biolabels. Cytotoxicity evaluation with several cancerous (A431, KB) and non-cancerous (NIH 3T3, L929) cell lines revealed no toxicity at concentrations up to 1 mM. Thus, the fluorescence characteristics and biocompatibility, coupled with the molecular receptor targeting capability, suggest the potential use of CaF2 in the field of bioimaging. © 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
cited By 6
S. Sasidharan, Jayasree, A., Fazal, S., Koyakutty, M., Shantikumar V. Nair, and Menon, D., “Ambient temperature synthesis of citrate stabilized and biofunctionalized, fluorescent calcium fluoride nanocrystals for targeted labeling of cancer cells”, Biomaterials Science, vol. 1, pp. 294-305, 2013.