Quantum dots targeted to vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 as a contrast agent for the detection of colorectal cancer

Jordan L. Carbary-Ganz, Jennifer K Barton, Urs Utzinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


We successfully labeled colorectal cancer in vivo using quantum dots targeted to vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2). Quantum dots with emission centered at 655 nm were bioconjugated to anti-VEGFR2 antibodies through streptavidin/biotin linking. The resulting QD655-VEGFR2 contrast agent was applied in vivo to the colon of azoxymethane (AOM) treated mice via lavage and allowed to incubate. The colons were then excised, cut longitudinally, opened to expose the lumen, and imaged en face using a fluorescence stereoscope. The QD655-VEGFR2 contrast agent produced a significant increase in contrast between diseased and undiseased tissues, allowing for fluorescence-based visualization of the diseased areas of the colon. Specificity was assessed by observing insignificant contrast increase when labeling colons of AOM-treated mice with quantum dots bioconjugated to isotype control antibodies, and by labeling the colons of saline-treated control mice. This contrast agent has a great potential for in vivo imaging of the colon through endoscopy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number086003
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • colorectal cancer
  • molecular imaging
  • quantum dots
  • vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

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