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Acid-Responsive Therapeutic Polymer for Prolonging Nanoparticle Circulation Lifetime and Destroying Drug-Resistant Tumors

Piao, Ji-Gang, Gao, Feng, Yang, Lihua
ACS applied materials 2016 v.8 no.1 pp. 936-944
animal models, antibiotic resistance, blood circulation, blood pH, cytotoxicity, heat tolerance, intravenous injection, irradiation, mice, nanoparticles, nanospheres, neoplasm cells, neoplasms, oxidative stress, patients, polymers, zwitterions
How to destroy drug-resistant tumor cells remains an ongoing challenge for cancer treatment. We herein report on a therapeutic nanoparticle, aHLP-PDA, which has an acid-activated hemolytic polymer (aHLP) grafted onto photothermal polydopamine (PDA) nanosphere via boronate ester bond, in efforts to ablate drug-resistant tumors. Upon exposure to oxidative stress and/or near-infrared laser irradiation, aHLP-PDA nanoparticle responsively releases aHLP, likely via responsive cleavage of boronate ester bond, and thus responsively exhibits acid-facilitated mammalian-membrane-disruptive activity. In vitro cell studies with drug-resistant and/or thermo-tolerant cancer cells show that the aHLP-PDA nanoparticle demonstrates preferential cytotoxicity at acidic pH over physiological pH. When administered intravenously, the aHLP-PDA nanoparticle exhibits significantly prolonged blood circulation lifetime and enhanced tumor uptake compared to bare PDA nanosphere, likely owing to aHLP’s stealth effects conferred by its zwitterionic nature at blood pH. As a result, the aHLP-PDA nanoparticle effectively ablates drug-resistant tumors, leading to 100% mouse survival even on the 32nd day after suspension of photothermal treatment, as demonstrated with the mouse model. This work suggests that a combination of nanotechnology with lessons learned in bacterial antibiotic resistance may offer a feasible and effective strategy for treating drug-resistant cancers often found in relapsing patients.