Phenylboronic Acid Templated Gold Nanoclusters for Mucin Detection Using a Smartphone-Based Device and Targeted Cancer Cell Theranostics

A phenylboronic acid templated gold nanocluster probe was developed to detect biomarker mucin by a noninvasive fluorescence-based method using a point-of-care smartphone-based fluorescence detection device. The gold nanocluster probe is able to detect mucin specifically. The same probe was applied for in vitro targeted bioimaging of HeLa and Hep G2 cancer cells, and it demonstrated specific therapeutic effects toward cancer cells as well as multicellular tumor spheroids imparting theranostic properties. The module is found to be more effective toward HeLa cells, and a pathway of cell death was established using flow-cytometry-based assays.