Dual-emissive, oxygen-sensing boron nanoparticles quantify oxygen consumption rate in breast cancer cells.



Decreasing the oxygen consumption rate (OCR) of tumor cells is a powerful method for ameliorating tumor hypoxia. However, quantifying the change in OCR is challenging in complex experimental systems.


We present a method for quantifying the OCR of two tumor cell lines using oxygen-sensitive dual-emissive boron nanoparticles (BNPs). We hypothesize that our BNP results are equivalent to the standard Seahorse assay.


We quantified the spectral emissions of the BNP and accounted for external oxygen diffusion to quantify OCR over 24 h. The BNP-computed OCR of two breast cancer cell lines, E0771 and 4T07, were compared with their respective Seahorse assays. Both cell lines were also irradiated to quantify radiation-induced changes in the OCR.


Using a Bland-Altman analysis, our BNPs OCR was equivalent to the standard Seahorse assay. Moreover, in an additional experiment in which we irradiated the cells at their 50% survival fraction, the BNPs were sensitive enough to quantify 24% reduction in OCR after irradiation.


Our results conclude that the BNPs are a viable alternative to the Seahorse assay for quantifying the OCR in cells. The Bland-Altman analysis showed that these two methods result in equivalent OCR measurements. Future studies will extend the OCR measurements to complex systems including 3D cultures and in vivo models, in which OCR measurements cannot currently be made.





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Publication Info

Rickard, Ashlyn G, Meng Zhuang, Christopher A DeRosa, Xiaojie Zhang, Mark W Dewhirst, Cassandra L Fraser and Gregory M Palmer (2020). Dual-emissive, oxygen-sensing boron nanoparticles quantify oxygen consumption rate in breast cancer cells. Journal of biomedical optics, 25(11). 10.1117/1.jbo.25.11.116504 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22460.

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Mark Wesley Dewhirst

Gustavo S. Montana Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Radiation Oncology

Mark W. Dewhirst, DVM, PhD is the Gustavo S. Montana Professor of Radiation Oncology and Vice Director for Basic Science in the Duke Cancer Institute. Dr. Dewhirst has research interests in tumor hypoxia, angiogenesis, hyperthermia and drug transport. He has spent 30 years studying causes of tumor hypoxia and the use of hyperthermia to treat cancer. In collaboration with Professor David Needham in the Pratt School of Engineering, he has developed a novel thermally sensitive drug carrying liposome that has been successfully translated to human clinical trials. He has utilized the thermal characteristics of this liposome to develop an MR imageable form that can accurately reflect drug concentrations in tumors, which then is related to the extent of anti-tumor effect in pre-clinical models. This property has been widely used by other investigators, world-wide, particularly in the area of high intensity focused ultrasound, where it would be possible to literally paint drug to a target zone and visualize this process in real time, during heating. For his work in this area, Dr. Dewhirst was named a Fellow in the AAAS. Dr. Dewhirst has well over 500 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and reviews, with >20,000 citations and an H-index of 73. He has given named lectures at the University of Western Ontario, Thomas Jefferson University and the New Zealand Cancer Society. He was awarded the Failla Medal and Lecture at the Radiation Research Society in 2008, the Eugene Robinson award for excellence hyperthermia research in 1992 and a similar award from the European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology in 2009. He was named a fellow of ASTRO in 2009 and was awarded the prestigious Gold Medal from the same society in 2012. He is a Senior Editor of Cancer Research and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Hyperthermia. He has mentored 24 graduate students, and many postdoctoral fellows, residents, junior faculty and medical students. He has been particularly skillful in assisting those he has mentored to obtain DOD and NIH fellowships, K awards and first R01 grants. His skill in mentoring has been recognized by the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Medical Physics Graduate Training programs and the School of Medicine, where he has received “Mentor of the Year” awards. In 2011 he was selected to become the first Associate Dean of Faculty Mentoring in the Duke School of Medicine. In this position, he is implementing a comprehensive program to enhance success in obtaining NIH funding. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 1971 with a degree in Chemistry and Colorado State University in 1975 and 1979 with DVM and PhD degrees, respectively.


Gregory M. Palmer

Professor of Radiation Oncology

Greg Palmer obtained his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University in 2000, after which he obtained his Ph.D. in BME from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Biology Division at Duke University Medical Center. His primary research focus has been identifying and exploiting the changes in absorption, scattering, and fluorescence properties of tissue associated with cancer progression and therapeutic response. To this end he has implemented a model-based approach for extracting absorber and scatterer properties from diffuse reflectance and fluorescence measurements. More recently he has developed quantitative imaging methodologies for intravital microscopy to characterize tumor functional and molecular response to radiation and chemotherapy. His awards have included the Jack Fowler Award from the Radiation Research Society.

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