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Self-Assembled Plasmonic Vesicles of SERS-Encoded Amphiphilic Gold Nanoparticles for Cancer Cell Targeting and Traceable Intracellular Drug Delivery

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journal contribution
posted on 20.02.2016, 14:35 by Jibin Song, Jiajing Zhou, Hongwei Duan
We report the development of bioconjugated plasmonic vesicles assembled from SERS-encoded amphiphilic gold nanoparticles for cancer-targeted drug delivery. This new type of plasmonic assemblies with a hollow cavity can play multifunctional roles as delivery carriers for anticancer drugs and SERS-active plasmonic imaging probes to specifically label targeted cancer cells and monitor intracellular drug delivery. We have shown that the pH-responsive disassembly of the plasmonic vesicle, stimulated by the hydrophobic-to-hydrophilic transition of the hydrophobic brushes in acidic intracellular compartments, allows for triggered intracellular drug release. Because self-assembled plasmonic vesicles exhibit significantly different plasmonic properties and greatly enhanced SERS intensity in comparison with single gold nanoparticles due to strong interparticle plasmonic coupling, disassembly of the vesicles in endocytic compartments leads to dramatic changes in scattering properties and SERS signals, which can serve as independent feedback mechanisms to signal cargo release from the vesicles. The unique structural and optical properties of the plasmonic vesicle have made it a promising platform for targeted combination therapy and theranostic applications by taking advantage of recent advances in gold nanostructure based in vivo bioimaging and photothermal therapy and their loading capacity for both hydrophilic (nucleic acids and proteins) and hydrophobic (small molecules) therapeutic agents.