siRNA liposome-gold nanorod vectors for multispectral optoacoustic tomography theranostics

Therapeutic applications of gene silencing using siRNA have seen increasing interest and research over the past decade. The optimization of the delivery and biodistribution of siRNA using liposome-gold nanorod (AuNRs) nanoscale carriers can greatly benefit from adept imaging methods that can visualize the time-resolved delivery performance of such vectors. In this work, we describe the effect of AuNR length incorporated with liposomes and show their complexation with siRNA as a novel gene delivery vehicle. We demonstrate the application of multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) to longitudinally visualize the localisation of siRNA carrying liposome-AuNR hybrids within tumors. Combination of in vivo MSOT with ex vivo fluorescence cryo-slice imaging offers further insight into the siRNA transport and activity obtained.