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Near-Infrared Laser-Driven in Situ Self-Assembly as a General Strategy for Deep Tumor Therapy

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journal contribution
posted on 25.09.2018 by Fu-Hua Liu, Yong Cong, Guo-Bin Qi, Lei Ji, Zeng-Ying Qiao, Hao Wang
Nanotherapeutics have encountered some bottleneck problems in cancer therapy, such as poor penetration and inefficient accumulation in tumor site. We herein developed a novel strategy for deep tissue penetration in molecular level and near-infrared (NIR) laser guided in situ self-assembly to solve these challenges. For the proof-of-concept study, we synthesized the polymer–peptide conjugates (PPCs) composed of (i) poly­(β-thioester) as thermoresponsive backbone, (ii) functional peptides (cytotoxic peptide and cell-penetrating peptide), and (iii) the NIR molecule with photothermal property. The PPCs in the molecular level with small size (<10 nm) can penetrate deeply into the interior of the tumor at body temperature. Under the irradiation of NIR laser, the temperature rise induced by photothermal molecules led to the intratumoral self-assembly of thermoresponsive PPCs. The resultant spherical nanoparticles can accumulate in tumor and enter cells effectively, inducing cell apoptosis by destroying mitochondria membrane. Through the site-specific size control, a variety of merits of PPCs are realized including deep tumor penetration, enhanced accumulation, and cellular internalization in vivo. Taking advantage of the NIR guided in situ assembly strategy, numerous polymeric or nanoscaled therapeutics with high anticancer activity can be exploited.