Imaging pancreatic cancer using bioconjugated inp quantum dots

Ken Tye Yong, Hong Ding, Indrajit Roy, Wing Cheung Law, Earl J. Bergey, Anirban Maitra, Paras N. Prasad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper, we report the successful use of non-cadmium-based quantum dots (QDs) as highly efficient and nontoxic optical probes for imaging live pancreatic cancer cells. Indium phosphide (core)-zinc sulfide (shell), or InP/ZnS, QDs with high quality and bright luminescence were prepared by a hot colloidal synthesis method in nonaqueous media. The surfaces of these QDs were then functionalized with mercaptosuccinic acid to make them highly dispersible in aqueous media. Further bioconjugation with pancreatic cancer specific monoclonal antibodies, such as anticlaudin 4 and antiprostate stem cell antigen (anti-PSCA), to the functionalized InP/ZnS QDs, allowed specific in vitro targeting of pancreatic cancer cell lines (both immortalized and low passage ones). The receptor-mediated delivery of the bioconjugates was further confirmed by the observation of poor in vitro targeting in nonpancreatic cancer based cell lines which are negative for the claudin-4-receptor. These observations suggest the immense potential of InP/ZnS QDs as non-cadmium-based safe and efficient optical imaging nanoprobes in diagnostic imaging, particularly for early detection of cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)502-510
Number of pages9
JournalACS Nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 24 2009



  • Bioconjugates
  • Bioimaging
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Quantum dots
  • Targeted delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Yong, K. T., Ding, H., Roy, I., Law, W. C., Bergey, E. J., Maitra, A., & Prasad, P. N. (2009). Imaging pancreatic cancer using bioconjugated inp quantum dots. ACS Nano, 3(3), 502-510.