Gold nanorods/mesoporous silica-based nanocomposite as theranostic agents for targeting near-infrared imaging and photothermal therapy induced with laser

Yang Liu, Ming Xu, Qing Chen, Guannan Guan, Wen Hu, Xiuli Zhao, Mingxi Qiao, Haiyang Hu, Ying Liang, Heyun Zhu, Dawei Chen
International Journal of Nanomedicine 2015, 10: 4747-61
Photothermal therapy (PTT) is widely regarded as a promising technology for cancer treatment. Gold nanorods (GNRs), as excellent PTT agent candidates, have shown high-performance photothermal conversion ability under laser irradiation, yet two major obstacles to their clinical application are the lack of selective accumulation in the target site following systemic administration and the greatly reduced photothermal conversion efficiency caused by self-aggregating in aqueous environment. Herein, we demonstrate that tLyp-1 peptide-functionalized, indocyanine green (ICG)-containing mesoporous silica-coated GNRs (I-TMSG) possessed dual-function as tumor cells-targeting near-infrared (NIR) fluorescent probe and PTT agents. The construction of the nanostructure began with synthesis of GNRs by seed-mediated growth method, followed by the coating of mesoporous silica, the chemical conjugation of PEG and tLyp-1 peptide, and the enclosure of ICG as an NIR imaging agent in the mesoporous. The as-prepared nanoparticles could shield the GNRs against their self-aggregation, improve the stability of ICG, and exhibit negligible dark cytotoxicity. More importantly, such a theranostic nanocomposite could realize the combination of GNRs-based photothermal ablation under NIR illumination, ICG-mediated fluorescent imaging, and tLyp-1-enabled more easy endocytosis into breast cancer cells. All in all, I-TMSG nanoparticles, in our opinion, possessed the strong potential to realize the effective diagnosis and PTT treatment of human mammary cancer.

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