Near-infrared remotely triggered drug-release strategies for cancer treatment [Engineering]
Remotely controlled, localized drug delivery is highly desirable for potentially minimizing the systemic toxicity induced by the administration of typically hydrophobic chemotherapy drugs by conventional means. Nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems provide a highly promising approach for localized drug delivery, and are an emerging field of interest in cancer treatment. Here, we demonstrate near-IR light-triggered release of two drug molecules from both DNA-based and protein-based hosts that have been conjugated to near-infrared-absorbing Au nanoshells (SiO2 core, Au shell), each forming a light-responsive drug delivery complex. We show that, depending upon the drug molecule, the type of host molecule, and the laser illumination method (continuous wave or pulsed laser), in vitro light-triggered release can be achieved with both types of nanoparticle-based complexes. Two breast cancer drugs, docetaxel and HER2-targeted lapatinib, were delivered to MDA-MB-231 and SKBR3 (overexpressing HER2) breast cancer cells and compared with release in noncancerous RAW 264.7 macrophage cells. Continuous wave laser-induced release of docetaxel from a nanoshell-based DNA host complex showed increased cell death, which also coincided with nonspecific cell death from photothermal heating. Using a femtosecond pulsed laser, lapatinib release from a nanoshell-based human serum albumin protein host complex resulted in increased cancerous cell death while noncancerous control cells were unaffected. Both methods provide spatially and temporally localized drug-release strategies that can facilitate high local concentrations of chemotherapy drugs deliverable at a specific treatment site over a specific time window, with the potential for greatly minimized side effects.