Preparation and evaluation of polyethyleneimine-single walled carbon nanotube conjugates as vectors for pancreatic cancer treatment†
High quality single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) were obtained following a new purification procedure, based on using Cl2 gas at high temperature. Cl2-treated SWNTs were fluorinated and modified with branched polyethyleneimine (PEI) to afford covalently functionalised PEI–SWNTs, which were then tested for cytotoxicity both in vitro (HPNE and BxPC3 pancreatic cell lines) and in vivo (BxPC3 xenografts from nude mice) to establish that functionalization with lower molecular weight PEI (600 and 1800 Da) achieved higher cell viability in MTT assay. A shortened version of the nanotubes, PEI(1800)-cut-SWNT (1800 Da branched PEI), was also prepared and tested for cellular internalization in the BxPC3 adenocarcinoma cell line. Laser confocal imaging of the cells after incubation in the presence of RhoB-PEI(1800)-cut-SWNT (covalently labelled with rhodamine B) indicates that the PEI(1800)-cut-SWNTs can reach both the cytoplasm and nucleus of pancreatic cancer cells.