Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 31, Issue 6, pp 1450–1459 | Cite as

In Vivo Investigation of Hybrid Paclitaxel Nanocrystals with Dual Fluorescent Probes for Cancer Theranostics

  • Christin P. Hollis
  • Heidi L. Weiss
  • B. Mark Evers
  • Richard A. Gemeinhart
  • Tonglei LiEmail author
Research Paper



To develop novel hybrid paclitaxel (PTX) nanocrystals, in which bioactivatable (MMPSense® 750 FAST) and near infrared (Flamma Fluor® FPR-648) fluorophores are physically incorporated, and to evaluate their anticancer efficacy and diagnostic properties in breast cancer xenograft murine model.


The pure and hybrid paclitaxel nanocrystals were prepared by an anti-solvent method, and their physical properties were characterized. The tumor volume change and body weight change were evaluated to assess the treatment efficacy and toxicity. Bioimaging of treated mice was obtained non-invasively in vivo.


The released MMPSense molecules from the hybrid nanocrystals were activated by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in vivo, similarly to the free MMPSense, demonstrating its ability to monitor cancer progression. Concurrently, the entrapped FPR-648 was imaged at a different wavelength. Furthermore, when administered at 20 mg/kg, the nanocrystal formulations exerted comparable efficacy as Taxol®, but with decreased toxicity.


Hybrid nanocrystals that physically integrated two fluorophores were successfully prepared from solution. Hybrid nanocrystals were shown not only exerting antitumor activity, but also demonstrating the potential of multi-modular bioimaging for diagnostics.


breast cancer MMPSense nanocrystals paclitaxel theranostics 



Dynamic light scattering


Matrix metalloproteinase


Near infrared


Phosphate buffered saline




Scanning electron microscope



The project described was supported by Grant Number R25CA153954 from the National Cancer Institute. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Cancer Institute or the National Institutes of Health.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christin P. Hollis
    • 1
  • Heidi L. Weiss
    • 2
  • B. Mark Evers
    • 3
  • Richard A. Gemeinhart
    • 4
  • Tonglei Li
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of PharmacyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Biostatistics, Division of Cancer Biostatistics, Markey Cancer CenterUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Surgery and Markey Cancer CenterUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  4. 4.Departments of Biopharmaceutical Sciences, Bioengineering, and Ophthalmology and Visual SciencesUniversity of IllinoisChicagoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, College of PharmacyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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