Micellar formulation of indocyanine green for phototherapy of melanoma

Vaibhav Mundra, Yang Peng, Sandeep Rana, Amarnath Natarajan, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Phototherapy (PT), a light activated treatment modality, is a potential therapeutic option for the treatment of melanoma. In spite of the excellent safety profile and absorption in the near infrared (NIR) range, clinical potential of indocyanine green (ICG) as PT is limited by its short half-life and inefficient tumor accumulation. In this study, we have covalently conjugated ICG-NH2 to the pendant carboxyl groups of poly (ethylene glycol)-block-poly(2-methyl-2-carboxyl-propylene carbonate) (PEG-PCC) copolymer using carbodiimide coupling, which self-assembled into micelles with a particle size of 30-50 nm and high ICG loading. These ICG conjugated micelles exhibited significant in vitro photodynamic cytotoxicity. Use of sodium azide and NIR radiation at 4 °C revealed photodynamic and photothermal as mechanism of cytotoxicity of ICG solution and ICG conjugated micelles, respectively. In vivo NIR imaging demonstrated that ICG conjugated micelles prolonged its circulation and increased tumor accumulation through enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. Enhanced tumor accumulation improved therapeutic efficacy with complete tumor regression in NIR irradiated ICG conjugated micelles compared to ICG solution and control in a A375 human melanoma tumor model in athymic nude mice. These results suggest that ICG conjugated micelles can be potentially utilized for PT and imaging of melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-140
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - Dec 28 2015


  • Cellular uptake
  • Indocyanine green
  • Micelles
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Phototherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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