C Dots approved for trials as imaging agent

The first human clinical trials of a cancer-imaging nanoparticle is set to begin after the FDA approved an investigational new drug (IND) application for C dots. The C is for Cornell, which developed the nanoparticle with help from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's Nanotechnology Center and Cambridge, MA-based Hybrid Silica Technologies. The clinical trial will test C Dots in melanoma patients.

C dots, were initially developed as optical probes at Cornell University by Ulrich Wiesner, who has spent the past eight years precisely engineering the silica spheres. The dots contain dye that glows when excited by light of a specific wavelength. They can "light up" cancer cells. Using PET scans, C dots can be imaged to evaluate tumors and response to therapy.

"This is an important trial in that it will help to answer a number of key questions regarding future potential applications of this multimodal system," said Memorial Sloan-Kettering nanochemist Oula Penate Medina in a statement. "Once the door has been opened, new and emerging fields, such as targeted drug delivery, can be investigated. We expect that these particles can be adapted for multiple clinical uses, including the early diagnosis and treatment of various cancers, as well as for sensing changes in the microenvironment."

- read the Memorial Sloan-Kettering release
- and learn more about C Dots