Fluorescent N-doped carbon dots (CDs) were derived from dried shrimps and rationally fabricated as a traceable drug delivery system for the targeted delivery of boldine to human breast cancer cells (MCF-7 cells). The MCF-7 cells were used to evaluate the anticancer ability of the boldine-loaded CDs. The CDs served as fluorescent carriers that simultaneously tracked and released the drug. The boldine release was triggered upon acidification of the intracellular vesicles, in which the carriers were located after their uptake by cancer cells, and there was further enhancement in the uptake of the boldine-loaded fluorescent CDs by the cancer cells. The synthesized blank CDs were also used as fluorescent probes for the imaging of SH-SY5Y (human neuroblastoma) cells and have potential applications in bioimaging and related fields. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using CDs as a traceable drug delivery system with the ability to deliver boldine drug into the target cells.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Drug delivery