Mesoporous silica–chondroitin sulphate hybrid nanoparticles for targeted and bio-responsive drug delivery†
This work proposes the fabrication of a novel targeted drug delivery system based on mesoporous silica-biopolymer hybrids that can release drugs in response to biological stimuli present in cancer cells. The proposed system utilizes mesoporous silica nanoparticles as a carrier to host the drug molecules. A bio-polymer cap is attached onto these particles which serves the multiple functions of drug retention, targeting and bio-responsive drug release. The biopolymer chondroitin sulphate used here is a glycosaminoglycan that can specifically bind to receptors over-expressed in cancer cells. This molecule also possesses the property of disintegrating upon exposure to enzymes over-expressed in cancer cells. When these particles interact with cancer cells, the chondroitin sulphate present on the surface recognizes and attaches onto the CD44 receptors facilitating the uptake of these particles. The phagocytised particles are then exposed to the degradative enzymes, such as hyaluronidase present inside the cancer cells, which degrade the cap resulting in drug release. By utilizing a cervical cancer cell line we have demonstrated the targetability and intracellular delivery of hydrophobic drugs encapsulated in these particles. It was observed that the system was capable of enhancing the anticancer activity of the hydrophobic drug curcumin. Overall, we believe that this system might prove to be a valuable candidate for targeted and bioresponsive drug delivery.