Programmed near-infrared light-responsive drug delivery system for combined magnetic tumor-targeting magnetic resonance imaging and chemo-phototherapy

Qianhua Feng, Yuanyuan Zhang, Wanxia Zhang, Yongwei Hao, Yongchao Wang, Hongling Zhang, Lin Hou, Zhenzhong Zhang
Acta Biomaterialia 2017, 49: 402-413

In this study, an intelligent drug delivery system was developed by capping doxorubicin (DOX)-loaded hollow mesoporous CuS nanoparticles (HMCuS NPs) with superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs). Under near infrared (NIR) light irradiation, the versatile HMCuS NPs could exploit the merits of both photothermal therapy (PTT) and photodynamic therapy (PDT) simultaneously. Herein, the multifunctional IONPs as gatekeeper with the enhanced capping efficiency were supposed to realize "zero premature release" and minimize the adverse side effects during the drug delivery in vivo. More importantly, the hybrid metal nanoplatform (HMCuS/DOX@IONP-PEG) allowed several emerging exceptional characteristics. Our studies have substantiated the hybrid nanoparticles possessed an enhanced PTT effect due to coupled plasmonic resonances with an elevated heat-generating capacity. Notably, an effective removal of IONP-caps occurred after NIR-induced photo-hyperthermia via weakening of the coordination interactions between HMCuS-NH2 and IONPs, which suggested the feasibility of sophisticated controlled on-demand drug release upon exposing to NIR stimulus with spatial/temporal resolution. Benefiting from the favorable magnetic tumor targeting efficacy, the in vitro and in vivo experiments indicated a remarkable anti-tumor therapeutic efficacy under NIR irradiation, resulting from the synergistic combination of chemo-phototherapy. In addition, T2 -weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast performance of IONPs provided the identification of cancerous lesions. Based on these findings, the well-designed drug delivery system via integration of programmed functions will provide knowledge for advancing multimodality theranostic strategy.

STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: As we all know, a series of shortcomings of conventional chemotherapy such as limited stability, rapid clearing and non-specific tumor targeting ability remain a significant challenge to achieve successful clinical therapeutic efficiency in cancer treatments. Fortunately, developing drug delivery system under the assistance of multifunctional nanocarries might be a great idea. For the first time, we proposed an intelligent drug delivery system by capping DOX-loaded hollow mesoporous CuS nanoparticles (HMCuS NPs) with multifunctional IONPs to integrate programmed functions including enhanced PTT effect, sophisticated controlled drug release, magnetic targeting property and MR imaging. The results showed HMCuS/DOX@IONP-PEG could significantly enhance anti-tumor therapeutic efficacy due to the synergistic combination of chemo-phototherapy. By this delicate design, we believe such smart and extreme versatile all-in-one drug delivery platform could arouse broad interests in the fields of biomaterials, nanotechnology, and drug delivery system.

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