Inulin coated plasmonic gold nanoparticles as a tumor-selective tool for cancer therapy†
Polymer coated gold nanospheres are proposed as a tumor selective carrier for the anticancer drug doxorubicin. Thiolated polyethyleneglycol (PEG-SH) and an inulin-amino derivative based copolymer (INU-EDA) were used as stabilizing and coating materials for 40 nm gold nanospheres. The resulting polymer coated gold nanospheres (Au@PEG-INU) showed excellent physicochemical stability and potential stealth like behavior. The system was loaded with doxorubicin (Au@PEG-INU/Doxo) and its cytotoxicity profile was evaluated on human cervical cancer cells (HeLa) and lung cancer cells (A549), as compared to Au@PEG-INU and doxorubicin alone. Cytotoxicity assays showed that the system is able to drastically reduce cell viability upon incubation for 3 days. This result was supported by the ability of Au@PEG-INU/Doxo to be internalized by cancer cells and to release doxorubicin, as assessed by fluorescence microscopy. Finally, a cancer/non cancer cell co-culture model was used to display the advantageous therapeutic effects of the proposed system with respect to doxorubicin alone, thereby demonstrating the ability of Au@PEG-INU/Doxo to preferentially accumulate in tumor cells due to their enhanced metabolism, and to selectively kill target cells.