Erythrocyte membrane-coated NIR-triggered biomimetic nanovectors with programmed delivery for photodynamic therapy of cancer†
A new type of photodynamic therapy (PDT) agents using upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) with incorporated photosensitizers as the inner core and an erythrocyte membrane (RM) decorated with dual targeting moieties as the cloak is developed. Owing to the endogenous nature of RM, the RM-coating endows the PDT agents with perfect biocompatibility and stealth ability to escape from the entrapment by the reticulo-endothelial system (RES). More importantly, owing to the unique nature of erythrocyte as an oxygen carrier in the blood, the RM outer layer of the agents unequivocally facilitates the permeation of ground-state molecular oxygen (3O2) and the singlet oxygen (1O2) as compared to the previously developed PDT agents with other types of coating. Another salient feature of the as-prepared PDT platform is the decoration of RM with dual targeting moieties for selective recognition of cancer cells and mitochondrial targeting, respectively. The synergistic effect of RM coating and dual-targeting of such feature-packed agents are investigated in tumor-bearing mice and the improved PDT therapeutic efficacy is confirmed, which is the first paradigm where RM-coated NIR-triggered nanovectors with programmed delivery ability is applied in PDT of tumor in vivo.