Cancer is one of the most deadly diseases and leading cause of death. Laser based photothermal therapy can provide a minimally invasive alternative to surgical resection. The selectivity and effectiveness of laser therapy can be greatly enhanced when photoabsorbing nanoparticles such as nanoshells, single walled carbon nanotubes, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, or single wall carbon nanohorns (SWNHs) are introduced into the tissue[1]. Quantitative methods for measuring tumor response to nanoparticle enhanced laser therapies are critical for determining appropriate laser parameters and nanoparticle properties needed to achieve maximum therapeutic benefit. We have previously reported a new method for measuring two dimensional (2D) spatial viability distributions in cell monolayers in response to laser irradiation and nanoparticles. This method has been refined to allow determination of cell viability in three dimensions (3D) within a more physiologically representative tumor volume. This refined method was used to determine the viability of breast cancer cells suspended within sodium alginate tissue phantoms following treatment with SWNHs and external laser irradiation. The tumor treatment volume was accurately quantified in response to varying laser treatment parameters and nanoparticle concentrations. Spatial cellular viability was also measured in ex vivo pig bladders in response to SWNHs and laser irradiation to provide a more anatomically relevant environment. These new measurement methods enable quantification of spatial viability and therapeutic effectiveness, using 3D tumor environments which are more representative than cell monolayers.

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