Hierarchical assembly of hyaluronan coated albumin nanoparticles for pancreatic cancer chemoimmunotherapy†
Pancreatic cancer is a highly malignant carcinoma with limited effective treatment options, resulting in a poor patient survival rate of less than 5%. In this study, cationic albumin nanoparticles were assembled with negatively charged hyaluronic acid (HA) to achieve a hierarchical nanostructure and efficient delivery of small molecule drugs to the tumor site in the pancreas. A combination of chemotherapy with indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) inhibition was explored to enhance the chemotherapeutic efficacy in vivo. Hydrophobic celastrol (CLT) and hydrophilic 1-methyltryptophan (MT) were concurrently loaded in HA coated cationic albumin nanoparticles (HNPs) with an average size of ∼300 nm. The size of HNPs was reduced in the presence of hyaluronidase to facilitate penetration into deep tumor tissues. Also, the biodistribution study in the C57BL/6 mice xenograft model showed enhanced tumor accumulation and prolonged circulation of HNPs. Compared with CLT solution, the combination of CLT with MT showed significantly enhanced tumor inhibition in both xenograft and orthotopic pancreatic cancer mice models via downregulating the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Taken together, the combination of CLT with MT administered via HNPs represents a highly promising strategy for targeted pancreatic cancer therapy.