A “Missile-Detonation” Strategy to Precisely Supply and Efficiently Amplify Cerenkov Radiation Energy for Cancer Theranostics

Bo Yu, Dalong Ni, Zachary T. Rosenkrans, Todd E. Barnhart, Hao Wei, Carolina A. Ferreira, Xiaoli Lan, Jonathan W. Engle, Qianjun He*, Faquan Yu, Weibo Cai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Cerenkov radiation (CR) from radionuclides can act as a built-in light source for cancer theranostics, opening a new horizon in biomedical applications. However, considerably low tumor-targeting efficiency of existing radionuclides and radionuclide-based nanomedicines limits the efficacy of CR-induced theranostics (CRIT). It remains a challenge to precisely and efficiently supply CR energy to the tumor site. Here, a “missile-detonation” strategy is reported, in which a high dose of p-SCN-Bn-deferoxamine-porphyrin-PEG nanocomplex (Df-PPN) is first adminstered as a CR energy receiver/missile to passively target to tumor, and then a low dose of the 89Zr-labeled Df-PPN is administrated as a CR energy donor/detonator, which can be visualized and quantified by Cerenkov energy transfer imaging, positron-emission tomography, and fluorescence imaging. Based on homologous properties, the colocalization of Df-PPN and 89Zr-Df-PPN in the tumor site is maximized and efficient CR energy transfer is enabled, which maximizes the tumor-targeted CRIT efficacy in an optimal spatiotemporal setting while also reducing adverse off-target effects from CRIT. This precise and efficient CRIT strategy causes significant tumor vascular damage and inhibited tumor growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1904894
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Cerenkov radiation
  • cancer theranostics
  • multimodal imaging
  • positron emission tomography
  • targeted drug delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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