Olsalazine (Olsa) is a broad-spectrum anti-cancer agent acting as a DNA-methylation inhibitor. When conjugated to 2-cyano-6-aminobenzothiazole and a peptide substrate specific for the tumor-overexpressed enzyme furin, it can self-assemble into nanoparticles that can be detected by chemical-exchange saturation-transfer magnetic-resonance imaging (CEST MRI). We report here that these nano-assemblies can also be detected with high specificity in furin-overexpressing tumor cells by Raman spectroscopy with a distinct scattering signature and demonstrate the utility of this sensing mechanism in vitro and in vivo. Our findings suggest that Raman spectroscopy could be used for high-resolution image-guided surgery to precisely delineate tumor margins during and after resection in real-time as well as to determine microscopic tumor invasion and multifocal locoregional tumor spread, which are currently impossible to visualize with available imaging technologies, including CEST MRI.
- Raman spectroscopy
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