We have engineered nano-vesicles, derived from erythrocytes, which can be doped with various near infrared (NIR) organic chromophores, including the FDA-approved indocyanine green (ICG). We refer to these vesicles as NIR erythrocyte-mimicking transducers (NETS) since in response to NIR photo-excitation they can generate heat or emit fluorescent light. Using biochemical methods based on reduction amination, we have functionalized the surface of NET with antibodies to target specific biomolecules. We present results that demonstrate the effectiveness of NETs in targeted imaging of cancer cells that over-express the human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2).
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