Dual-functional melanin-based nanoliposomes for combined chemotherapy and photothermal therapy of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer, one of the most common gastrointestinal tract cancers, leads to a high mortality rate of over 80% among patients. Conventional chemotherapy with gemcitabine (GEM) is undesirable due to the lack of effective tumor accumulation. To improve the survival of pancreatic cancer patients and the therapeutic efficiency of chemotherapy, dual-functional melanin-based nanoliposomes loaded with GEM were synthesized in our study, which combined chemotherapy and photothermal therapy (PTT). Hypothermia caused by melanin under near-infrared (NIR) laser exerted detrimental damage on pancreatic cancer cells after the passive accumulation of nanoliposomes in the tumor sites. Besides, the temperature increase could enhance the release of GEM from the nanoliposomes by changing the structural integrity of the nanoliposomes. Therefore, a synergistic antitumor effect was achieved by loading the chemotherapy agent GEM and the photothermal agent melanin into the nanoliposomes. The findings in this study strongly support that melanin-based nanoliposomes could be a desirable strategy against pancreatic carcinoma.