Mesoporous silica nanoparticles grafted with a light-responsive protein shell for highly cytotoxic antitumoral therapy†
A novel phototriggered drug delivery nanocarrier, which exhibits very high tumor cytotoxicity against human tumoral cells, is presented. This device is based on mesoporous silica nanoparticles decorated with a biocompatible protein shell cleavable by light irradiation. The proteins that compose the protein shell (avidin, streptavidin and biotinylated transferrin) act as targeting and capping agents at the same time, avoiding the use of redundant systems. The light responsive behavior is provided by a biotinylated photocleavable cross-linker covalently grafted on the mesoporous surface, which suffers photocleavage by UV radiation (366 nm). Human tumoral cells incubated in the presence of a very low particle concentration enter into the apoptotic stage after a short irradiation time. Thus, the system described here could be applied to the treatment of exposed tumors that affect the skin, oesophagus, and stomach, among others, and are easily accessible for light irradiation.