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Interagency Meeting on Nanotechnology and the Environment
NSF, Arlington, VA
September 15-16, 2003


“ In Vivo Applications of Near-Infrared Quantum Dots”

John V. Frangioni, M.D., Ph.D.1 and Moungi G. Bawendi2, Ph.D.

1 Division of Hematology/Oncology and Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA
2 Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

There is considerable excitement in using fluorescent semiconductor nanocrystals (quantum dots) for biomedical imaging applications. However, effective in vivo imaging requires attention to the choice of semiconductor materials, absorption cross-section, quantum dot emission wavelength, aqueous-solubilizing organic coating, quantum yield, hydrodynamic diameter, biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, in vivo stability and toxicity.

Our laboratories are systematically addressing each of these parameters and their interdependency. To date, we have developed two different types of quantum dots whose fluorescent emission wavelengths are tunable into the near-infrared (NIR). We have also developed an oligomeric phosphine coating that renders quantum dots soluble and stable in serum. We describe the use of such quantum dots in various biomedical imaging applications and highlight potential barriers to routine use in humans.

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