Iron-Oxide Nanocluster Labeling of Clostridium novyi-NT Spores for MR Imaging–Monitored Locoregional Delivery to Liver Tumors in Rat and Rabbit Models

Jingran Ji, Woo Ram Park, Soojeong Cho, Yihe Yang, Weiguo Li, Kathleen Harris, Xiaoke Huang, Shangzhi Gu, Dong Hyun Kim, Zhuoli Zhang, Andrew C. Larson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Purpose: To label Clostridium novyi-NT spores (C. novyi-NT) with iron oxide nanoclusters and track distribution of bacteria during magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-monitored locoregional delivery to liver tumors using intratumoral injection or intra-arterial transcatheter infusion. Materials and Methods: Vegetative state C. novyi-NT were labeled with iron oxide particles followed by induction of sporulation. Labeling was confirmed with fluorescence microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). T2 and T2* relaxation times for magnetic clusters and magnetic microspheres were determined using 7T and 1.5T MR imaging scanners. In vitro assays compared labeled bacteria viability and oncolytic potential to unlabeled controls. Labeled spores were either directly injected into N1-S1 rodent liver tumors (n = 24) or selectively infused via the hepatic artery in rabbits with VX2 liver tumors (n = 3). Hematoxylin-eosin, Prussian blue, and gram staining were performed. Statistical comparison methods included paired t-test and ANOVA. Results: Both fluorescence microscopy and TEM studies confirmed presence of iron oxide labels within the bacterial spores. Phantom studies demonstrated that the synthesized nanoclusters produce R2 relaxivities comparable to clinical agents. Labeling had no significant impact on overall growth or oncolytic properties (P >.05). Tumor signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) decreased significantly following intratumoral injection and intra-arterial infusion of labeled spores (P <.05). Prussian blue and gram staining confirmed spore delivery. Conclusions: C. novyi-NT spores can be internally labeled with iron oxide nanoparticles to visualize distribution with MR imaging during locoregional bacteriolytic therapy involving direct injection or intra-arterial transcatheter infusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1106-1115.e1
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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