Carbon coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for sentinel lymph nodes mapping
Intra-operative lymphatic mapping and sentinel lymph-adenectomy (LM/SL) maps the lymphatic path from the primary tumor to the regional nodes and permits selective excision of the first sentinel lymph nodes. It is a well established technique to detect occult regional node metastases for melanoma patients and breast cancer patients. In continuing attempts to improve accuracy, most surgeons now combine a dye (such as carbon particles) and radiopharmaceuticals when performing LM/SL. We developed a proto-type of carbon coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIO@C) for sentinel lymph nodes mapping. Compared with combining carbon particles and radiopharmaceuticals for performing LM/SL, there are a number of advantages with our approach: I. SPIO is an MRI contrast agent, thus pre-operative MRI may be used for LM/SL instead of gamma camera. There is no radiation associated with MRI, and MRI offers good tissue contrast and detailed cross-sectional images. II. There will be only needed one injection of SPIO@C nanoparticles, instead of administrating two successive injections of radiopharmaceuticals and carbon particles. III. During the operation, an intraoperative MRI scanner can be used, or more conveniently by a simple magnetometer.