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Reactive oxygen species and enzyme dual-responsive biocompatible drug delivery system for targeted tumor therapy


Zhao NNing , Ding BBingbing , Zhang YYing , Klockow JLJessica L , Lau KKen , Chin FTFrederick T , Cheng ZZhen , Liu HHongguang . Journal of controlled release : official journal of the Controlled Release Society. 2020 5 23; 324(). 330-340


Spurred by newly developed drug delivery systems (DDSs), side effects of cancer chemotherapy could be reduced by using multifunctional nanoplatforms. However, the facile synthesis of effective DDSs remains a challenge. Here, a six-arginine-tailed anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) affibody was employed to easily synthesize the highly reactive oxygen species (hROS)- and trypsin-responsive 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid-modified gold nanoclusters (MUA-Au NCs) for tumor-targeted drug delivery. The polyarginine moiety of affibody sealed methotrexate (MTX)-loaded MUA-Au NCs through charge effect, as well as leaving the rest targeting fragment of the affibody to specifically bind tumor overexpressed EGFR. As the shell of MUA-Au NCs-MTX-Affibody (MAMA), polyarginine chains of affibody could be digested by trypsin, helping to release MTX from MAMA. The released MTX accelerated destroying MUA-Au NCs through inducing the generation of hROS. Specifically targeting EGFR-overexpressed tumors, quickly delivering a sufficient amount of drug to the tumor, subsequently increasing the local MTX and hROS levels, and safely eliminating the biocompatible structure from kidney, endowed MAMA greater treatment effectiveness and lower side effect than chemotherapy, especially in pancreatic cancer due to its high trypsin level. This simply fabricated DDS may find applications in high effective cancer therapy, especially for tumors with high trypsin activity.