Multifunctional hybrid materials for combined photo and chemotherapy of cancer

“Combined chemo and photothermal therapy in in vitro testing has been achieved by means of multifunctional nanoparticles formed by plasmonic gold nanoclusters with a protecting shell of porous silica that contains an antitumor drug. We propose a therapeutic nanoplatform that associates the optical activity of small gold nanoparticles aggregates with the cytotoxic activity of 20(S)-camptothecin simultaneously released for the efficient destruction of cancer cells.

For this purpose, a method was used for the controlled assembly of gold nanoparticles into stable clusters with a tailored absorption cross-section in the vis/NIR spectrum, which involves aggregation in alkaline medium of 15 nm diameter gold colloids protected with a thin silica layer. Clusters were further encapsulated in an ordered homogeneous mesoporous silica coating that provides biocompatibility and stability in physiological fluids.

After internalization in 42-MG-BA human glioma cells, these protected gold nanoclusters were able to produce effective photothermolysis under femtosecond pulse laser irradiation of 790 nm. Cell death occurred by combination of a thermal mechanism and mechanical disruption of the membrane cell due to induced generation of micrometer-scale bubbles by vaporizing the water inside the channels of the mesoporous silica coating. Moreover, the incorporation of 20(S)-camptothecin within the pores of the external shell, which was released during the process, provoked significant cell death increase. This therapeutic model could be of interest for application in the treatment and suppression of non-solid tumors.”

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