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Enhancing Both Biodegradability and Efficacy of Semiconducting Polymer Nanoparticles for Photoacoustic Imaging and Photothermal Therapy

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posted on 2018-01-31, 00:00 authored by Yan Lyu, Jianfeng Zeng, Yuyan Jiang, Xu Zhen, Ting Wang, Shanshan Qiu, Xin Lou, Mingyuan Gao, Kanyi Pu
Theranostic nanoagents are promising for precision medicine. However, biodegradable nanoagents with the ability for photoacoustic (PA) imaging guided photothermal therapy (PTT) are rare. We herein report the development of biodegradable semiconducting polymer nanoparticles (SPNs) with enhanced PA and PTT efficacy for cancer therapy. The design capitalizes on the enzymatically oxidizable nature of vinylene bonds in conjunction with polymer chemistry to synthesize a biodegradable semiconducting polymer (DPPV) and transform it into water-soluble nanoparticles (SPNV). As compared with its counterpart SPN (SPNT), the presence of vinylene bonds within the polymer backbone also endows SPNV with a significantly enhanced mass absorption coefficient (1.3-fold) and photothermal conversion efficacy (2.4-fold). As such, SPNV provides the PA signals and the photothermal maximum temperature higher than SPNT, allowing detection and photothermal ablation of tumors in living mice in a more sensitive and effective way. Our study thus reveals a general molecular design to enhance the biodegradability of optically active polymer nanoparticles while dramatically elevating their imaging and therapeutic capabilities.

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