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Ultrafast Directional Janus Pt–Mesoporous Silica Nanomotors for Smart Drug Delivery

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posted on 06.03.2021, 16:44 by Paula Díez, Elena Lucena-Sánchez, Andrea Escudero, Antoni Llopis-Lorente, Reynaldo Villalonga, Ramón Martínez-Máñez
Development of bioinspired nanomachines with an efficient propulsion and cargo-towing has attracted much attention in the last years due to their potential biosensing, diagnostics, and therapeutics applications. In this context, self-propelled synthetic nanomotors are promising carriers for intelligent and controlled release of therapeutic payloads. However, the implementation of this technology in real biomedical applications is still facing several challenges. Herein, we report the design, synthesis, and characterization of innovative multifunctional gated platinum–mesoporous silica nanomotors constituted of a propelling element (platinum nanodendrite face), a drug-loaded nanocontainer (mesoporous silica nanoparticle face), and a disulfide-containing oligo­(ethylene glycol) chain (S–S–PEG) as a gating system. These Janus-type nanomotors present an ultrafast self-propelled motion due to the catalytic decomposition of low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Likewise, nanomotors exhibit a directional movement, which drives the engines toward biological targets, THP-1 cancer cells, as demonstrated using a microchip device that mimics penetration from capillary to postcapillary vessels. This fast and directional displacement facilitates the rapid cellular internalization and the on-demand specific release of a cytotoxic drug into the cytosol, due to the reduction of the disulfide bonds of the capping ensemble by intracellular glutathione levels. In the microchip device and in the absence of fuel, nanomotors are neither able to move directionally nor reach cancer cells and deliver their cargo, revealing that the fuel is required to get into inaccessible areas and to enhance nanoparticle internalization and drug release. Our proposed nanosystem shows many of the suitable characteristics for ideal biomedical destined nanomotors, such as rapid autonomous motion, versatility, and stimuli-responsive controlled drug release.