Phosphatidylserine-targeted nanotheranostics for brain tumor imaging and therapeutic potential

Lulu Wang, Amyn A. Habib, Akiva Mintz, King C. Li, Dawen Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Phosphatidylserine (PS), the most abundant anionic phospholipid in cell membrane, is strictly confined to the inner leaflet in normal cells. However, this PS asymmetry is found disruptive in many tumor vascular endothelial cells. We discuss the underlying mechanisms for PS asymmetry maintenance in normal cells and its loss in tumor cells. The specificity of PS exposure in tumor vasculature but not normal blood vessels may establish it a useful biomarker for cancer molecular imaging. Indeed, utilizing PS-targeting antibodies, multiple imaging probes have been developed and multimodal imaging data have shown their high tumor-selective targeting in various cancers. There is a critical need for improved diagnosis and therapy for brain tumors. We have recently established PS-targeted nanoplatforms, aiming to enhance delivery of imaging contrast agents across the blood-brain barrier to facilitate imaging of brain tumors. Advantages of using the nanodelivery system, in particular, lipid-based nanocarriers, are discussed here. We also describe our recent research interest in developing PS-targeted nanotheranostics for potential image-guided drug delivery to treat brain tumors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular imaging
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Blood-brain barrier (BBB)
  • Brain tumor
  • Molecular imaging
  • Nanotheranostics
  • Phosphatidylserine (PS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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