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Human Transport Protein Carrier for Controlled Photoactivation of Antitumor Prodrug and Real-Time Intracellular Tumor Imaging

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journal contribution
posted on 20.05.2015, 00:00 by Xi Li, Jing Mu, Fang Liu, Eddy Wei Ping Tan, Bahareh Khezri, Richard D. Webster, Edwin Kok Lee Yeow, Bengang Xing
Current anticancer chemotherapy often suffers from poor tumor selectivity and serious drug resistance. Proper vectors for targeted delivery and controlled drug release play crucial roles in improving the therapeutic selectivity to tumor areas and also overcoming the resistance of cancer cells. In this work, we developed a novel human serum albumin (HSA) protein-based nanocarrier system, which combines the photoactivatable Pt­(IV) antitumor prodrug for realizing the controlled release and fluorescent light-up probe for evaluations of drug action and efficacy. The constructed Pt­(IV)-probe@HSA platform can be locally activated by light irradiation to release the active Pt species, which results in enhanced cell death at both drug-sensitive A2780 and cisplatin-resistant A2780cis cell lines when compared to the free prodrug molecules. Simultaneously, the cytotoxicity caused by light controlled drug release would further lead to the cellular apoptosis and trigger the activation of caspases 3, one crucial protease enzyme in apoptotic process, which could cleave the recognition peptide moiety (DEVD) with a flanking fluorescent resonance energy transfer (FRET) pair containing near-infrared (NIR) fluorophore Cy5 and quencher Qsy21 on the HSA nanocarrier surface. The turn-on fluorescence in response to caspase-3 could be assessed by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry analysis. Our results supported the hypothesis that such a unique design may present a successful platform for multiple roles: (i) a biocompatible protein-based nanocarrier for drug delivery, (ii) the controlled drug release with strengthened therapeutic effects, (iii) real-time monitoring of antitumor drug efficacy at the earlier stage.