Molecular Targeted Viral Nanoparticles as Tools for Imaging Cancer

  • Choi-Fong Cho
  • Sourabh Shukla
  • Emily J. Simpson
  • Nicole F. Steinmetz
  • Leonard G. Luyt
  • John D. Lewis
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1108)


Viral nanoparticles (VNPs) are a novel class of bionanomaterials that harness the natural biocompatibility of viruses for the development of therapeutics, vaccines, and imaging tools. The plant virus, cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV), has been successfully engineered to create novel cancer-targeted imaging agents by incorporating fluorescent dyes, polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymers, and targeting moieties. Using straightforward conjugation strategies, VNPs with high selectivity for cancer-specific molecular targets can be synthesized for in vivo imaging of tumors. Here we describe the synthesis and purification of CPMV-based VNPs, the functionalization of these VNPs using click chemistry, and their use for imaging xenograft tumors in animal models. VNPs decorated with fluorescent dyes, PEG, and targeting ligands can be synthesized in one day, and imaging studies can be performed over hours, days, or weeks, depending on the application.

Key words

Cowpea mosaic virus (CPMV) Bionanomaterials CPMV-based viral nanoparticles Molecular imaging agents Chemical conjugation Click chemistry Tumor-homing nanoparticles Peptide-based affinity probes 



This work was supported by Prostate Cancer Canada Grant #2011-742 to JDL, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) grant #326972 to LGL, and NIH/NIBIB grant R00 EB009105 and Mt. Sinai Foundation to NFS. All experiments were performed in accordance with the regulations and guidelines of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee at Case Western Reserve University and at the University of Alberta. We thank Desmond Pink for his photography.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Choi-Fong Cho
    • 1
  • Sourabh Shukla
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Emily J. Simpson
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Nicole F. Steinmetz
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Leonard G. Luyt
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • John D. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Translational Prostate Cancer Research GroupUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical EngineeringCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  4. 4.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  5. 5.Department of ChemistryThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  6. 6.Department of OncologyThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  7. 7.Department of Medical ImagingThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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