Preliminary in vivo characterization of a theranostic aptamer: Sgc8-c-DOTA-67Ga



ISSN: 2514-3247
(2017), Vol 1, 19-27

Published online: 15 December 2017

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Victoria Calzada 1,*, Jessica Báez 1, Estefanía Sicco 1, Jimena Margenat 1, Marcelo Fernández 2, María Moreno 3, Manuel Ibarra 4, Thomas Quinn 5, Juan Pablo Gambini 6, Pablo Cabral 1 and Hugo Cerecetto 1

1 Área de Radiofarmacia, Centro de Investigaciones Nucleares, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

2 Laboratorio de Experimentación Animal, Centro de Investigaciones Nucleares, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

3 Departamento de Desarrollo Biotecnológico-Instituto de Higiene, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay

4 Centro de Evaluación de Biodisponibilidad y Bioequivalencia de Medicamentos, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay

5 Department of Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO USA

6 Centro de Medicina Nuclear, Hospital de Clínicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, Uruguay

Correspondence to: Victoria Calzada, Email:, Tel: +589 98444402

Received: 22 June 2017 | Revised: 14 December 2017 | Accepted: 15 December 2017

© Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article, published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( This license permits non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction of this article, provided the original work is appropriately acknowledged, with correct citation details.


Nucleic acid aptamers can recognise their target with high affinity and specificity, and their potential as molecular imaging agents and use in theranostics are being explored. Compared with antibodies, aptamers can be easily synthesized and chemically modified, rendering them a valuable tool for in vivo approaches. Herein, we investigated a 41nt DNA aptamer as a theranostic agent for lymphoma and melanoma. This aptamer exhibits specific binding and high affinity for the PTK7 receptor that is overexpressed in many cancer cells. A 5’-amino-derivative of the Sgc8-c aptamer was bound to the metal chelator DOTA (1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid) and labelled with the radionuclide 67Ga, forming the aptamer probe Sgc8-c-DOTA-67Ga. Different conditions during synthesis, purification and identification of the intermediate and final radiolabelled probe, were examined. Aptamer modification and radiolabelling were performed with high yields, resulting in a probe that was stable in neutral buffered solution. Binding to PTK7 was studied in CCRF-CEM, A20 and B16F1 cell lines, and in purified PTK7-1 receptor, to confirm specificity. The in vitro cell lines showed different levels of uptake, and the signal increased over time. In vivo binding properties were studied in A20 and B16F10 tumour-bearing mice and images were acquired using X-rays and gamma imaging modalities for both models. Preliminary results in both tumour models showed good aptamer uptake by tumour. Hepatobiliar metabolism was observed with Sgc8-c-DOTA-67Ga and no signal was detected in normal tissue. In summary, these results support the utility of labelled aptamers as theranostic agents in different imaging modalities and theranostic.

KEYWORDS: Aptamer, Sgc8-c, PTK7, molecular imaging, theranostic

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