Bioresponsive and near infrared photon co-enhanced cancer theranostic based on upconversion nanocapsules†
Developing nanotheranostics responsive to tumor microenvironments has attracted tremendous attention for on-demand cancer diagnosis and treatment. Herein, a facile Mn-doping strategy was adopted to transform mesoporous silica coated upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) to yolk-like upconversion nanostructures which possess a tumor-responsive biodegradation nature. The huge internal space of the innovated nanocarriers is suitable for doxorubicin (DOX) storage, besides, the Mn-doped shell is sensitive to the intratumoral acidity and reducibility, which enables shell biodegradation and further accelerates the breakage of Si–O–Si bonds within the silica framework. This tumor-responsive shell degradation is beneficial for realizing tumor-specific DOX release. Subsequently, polyoxometalate (POM) nanoclusters that can enhance photothermal conversion in response to the tumor reducibility and acidity were modified on the surface of the silica shell, thereby achieving NIR-enhanced shell degradation and also preventing premature DOX leakage. The as-produced thermal effect of the POM couples with the chemotherapy effect of the released DOX to perform a synergetic chemo-photothermal therapy. Additionally, the shell degradation brings size shrinkage to the nanocarriers, allowing faster nanoparticle diffusion and deeper tumor penetration, which is significant for improving theranostic outcomes. Also, the drastic decline of the red/green (R/G) ratio caused by the DOX release can be used to monitor the DOX release content through a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) method. The MRI effect caused by Mn release together with the MRI/CT/UCL imaging derived from Gd3+/Yb3+/Nd3+/Er3+ co-doped UCNPs under 808 nm laser excitation endow the nanosystem with multiple imaging capability, thus realizing imaging-guided cancer therapy.
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