Efficacious and sustained release of an anticancer drug mitoxantrone from new covalent organic frameworks using protein corona†
Solid porous and crystalline covalent organic frameworks (COFs) are characterized by their higher specific BET surface areas and functional pore walls, which allow the adsorption of various bioactive molecules inside the porous lattices. We have introduced a perylene-based COF, PER@PDA-COF-1, which acts as an effective porous volumetric reservoir for an anticancer drug, mitoxantrone (MXT). The drug-loaded COF (MXT–PER@PDA-COF-1) exhibited zero cellular release of MXT towards cancer cells, which can be attributed to the strong intercalation between the anthracene-dione motif of the drug and the perylene-based COF backbone. Here, we have introduced a strategy involving the serum-albumin-triggered intracellular release of mitoxantrone from MXT–PER@PDA-COF-1. The serum albumin acts as an exfoliating agent and as a colloidal stabilizer in PBS medium (pH = 7.4), rapidly forming a protein corona around the exfoliated COF crystallites and inducing the sustained release of MXT from the COF into tumorigenic cells.