Different stimulus including pH, light and temperature have been used for controlled drug release to prevent drug inactivation and minimize side-effects. Herein a novel nano-platform (GNS at CaCO3/ICG) consisting of calcium carbonate-encapsulated gold nanostars loaded with ICG was established to couple the photothermal properties of gold nanostars (GNSs) and the photodynamic properties of indocyanine green (ICG) in the photodynamic/photothermal combination therapy (PDT/PTT). In this study, the calcium carbonate worked not only a drug keeper to entrap ICG on the surface of GNSsin the form of a stable aggregate which was protected from blood clearance, but also as the a pH-responder to achieve highly effective tumor-triggered drug release locally. The application of GNS at CaCO3/ICG for in vitro and in vivo therapy achieved the combined antitumor effects upon the NIR irradiation, which was superior to the single PDT or PTT. Meanwhile, the distinct pH-triggered drug release performance of GNS at CaCO3/ICG implemented the tumor-targeted NIR fluorescence imaging. In addition, we monitored the bio-distribution and excretion pathway of GNS at CaCO3/ICG based on the NIR fluorescence from ICG and two-photon fluorescence and photoacoustic signal from GNSs, and the results proved that GNS at CaCO3/ICG had a great ability for tumor-specific and tumor-triggered drug release. We therefore conclude that the GNS at CaCO3/ICG holds great promise for clinical applications in anti-tumor therapy with tumor imaging or drug tracing.
- Calcium carbonate; Gold nanostars; Tumor-triggered; Combination antitumor therapy.
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (miscellaneous)