Curcumin loaded mesoporous silica: an effective drug delivery system for cancer treatment†
In the present study, we report the delivery of anti-cancer drug curcumin to cancer cells using mesoporous silica materials. A series of mesoporous silica material based drug delivery systems (S2, S4 and S6) were first designed and developed through the amine functionalization of KIT-6, MSU-2 and MCM-41 followed by the loading of curcumin. The curcumin loaded materials were characterized with several physico-chemical techniques and thoroughly screened on cancer cells to evaluate their in vitro drug delivery efficacy. All the curcumin loaded silica materials exhibited higher cellular uptake and inhibition of cancer cell viability compared to pristine curcumin. The effective internalization of curcumin in cancer cells through the mesoporous silica materials initiated the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species and the down regulation of poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) enzyme levels compared to free curcumin leading to the activation of apoptosis. This study shows that the anti-cancer activity of curcumin can be potentiated by loading onto mesoporous silica materials. Therefore, we strongly believe that mesoporous silica based curcumin loaded drug delivery systems may have future potential applications for the treatment of cancers.