Graphitic carbon nitride nanosheet@metal–organic framework core–shell nanoparticles for photo-chemo combination therapy†
Recently, nanoscale metal–organic frameworks (NMOFs) have started to be developed as a promising platform for bioimaging and drug delivery. On the other hand, combination therapies using multiple approaches are demonstrated to achieve much enhanced efficacy. Herein, we report, for the first time, core–shell nanoparticles consisting of a photodynamic therapeutic (PDT) agent and a MOF shell while simultaneously carrying a chemotherapeutic drug for effective combination therapy. In this work, core–shell nanoparticles of zeolitic-imadazolate framework-8 (ZIF-8) as shell embedded with graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4) nanosheets as core are fabricated by growing ZIF-8 in the presence of g-C3N4 nanosheets. Doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX) is then loaded into the ZIF-8 shell of the core–shell nanoparticles. The combination of the chemotherapeutic effects of DOX and the PDT effect of g-C3N4 nanosheets can lead to considerably enhanced efficacy. Furthermore, the red fluorescence of DOX and the blue fluorescence of g-C3N4 nanosheets provide the additional function of dual-color imaging for monitoring the drug release process.