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Injectable nanocomposite based on nanoLDH-ICG@hydrogel with application in multimodal bioimaging

In vivo imaginginjectable markermultifunctional imaging agentnanostructured contrast agents


Recently, great effort has been placed in research of nanostructured contrast agents with high biocompatibility, efficiency, and the possibility of achieving multifunctional properties, with maximization of contrast, increased selectivity, and decreased signal scattering. The invention concerns a multifunctional imaging agent consisting of nanocomposite called nanoLDH-ICG@hydrogel, which, once injected in the site of interest, acts as a tissue marker that can be visualized by optical and MRI techniques.

This innovative material finds application in image-guided surgery, increasing the resolution and reliability of acquired images, with important benefits for both surgeons and patients.

Technical features

Currently, solution of Indocyanine Green (ICG), a NIR-active dye, is used as a marker in fluorescence-guided surgery. However, ICG has the disadvantage of rapid diffusion into tissues, causing rapid loss of signal intensity and localization. So, for preoperative marking during prostatectomy or mastectomy, where precise localization of the marker is necessary, ICG is inefficient.

The invention involves the synthesis of the compound consisting of Layered Double Hydroxides (LDH) nanoparticles, binding ICG moleculaes. The nanoparticles are then incorporated into a thermosensitive injectable hydrogel based on biocompatible polymer Pluronic F-127.

The innovation of the compound, currently at TRL-4 (tested in animal model), is its ability to nonspecifically mark the injection site and be retained there for a long time, due to the hydrogel’s thermosensitive properties, preventing diffusion into the surrounding tissue. The compound is a multifunctional contrast agent, optical (near-infrared) and magnetic, and finds application as an injectable marker for in vivo imaging in high-precision clinical practices such as image-guided surgery.

Possible Applications

  • Surgical (Image-guided Surgery)
  • Robotic surgery
  • Diagnostic
  • Pharmaceutical


  • Multifunctionality (possibility of using different imaging techniques)
  • Simplicity of the preparation method and ease of storage
  • Modularity of the system promotes its versatility through minor modifications
  • Low cost of raw materials and synthesis techniques