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Fluorescent and Cross-linked Organic–Inorganic Hybrid Nanoshells for Monitoring Drug Delivery

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journal contribution
posted on 04.03.2015, 00:00 by Lijuan Sun, Tianhui Liu, Hua Li, Liang Yang, Lingjie Meng, Qinghua Lu, Jiangang Long
Functionalized and monodisperse nanoshells have attracted significant attention owing to their well-defined structure, unique properties, and wide range of potential applications. Here, the synthesis of cross-linked organic–inorganic hybrid nanoshells with strong fluorescence properties was reported via a facile precipitation polymerization of hexachlorocyclotriphosphazene (HCCP) and fluorescein on silica particles used as templates. The resulting poly­(cyclotriphosphazene-co-fluorescein) (PCTPF) nanoshells were firm cross-linked shells with ∼2.2 nm mesopores that facilitated the transport of drug molecules. The fluorescent nanoshells also exhibited excellent water dispersibility and biocompatibility; thus, they can be considered as ideal drug vehicles with high doxorubicin storage capacity (26.2 wt %) and excellent sustained release (up to 14 days). Compared to doxorubicin (DOX) alone, the PCTPF nanoshells more efficiently delivered DOX into and killed cancer cells. Moreover, the PCTPF nanoshells also exhibited remarkable fluorescent emission properties and improved photobleaching stability in both suspension and solid state owing to the covalent immobilization of fluorescein in the highly cross-linked organic–inorganic hybrids. The exceptional fluorescent properties enabled the release of DOX as well as the distribution of nanoshells and DOX to be monitored.