One-pot synthesis of carbon dots with intrinsic folic acid for synergistic imaging-guided photothermal therapy of prostate cancer cells†
Photothermal therapy (PTT) is performed using near-infrared-responsive agents, which is proven to be an effective therapeutic strategy against cancer with several advantages including minimal invasion, high effectiveness, and easy implementation. Herein, we report a facile and novel one-pot synthetic approach for the fabrication of polydopamine-folate carbon dots (PFCDs) as theranostic nanocarriers for the image-guided PTT targeting of prostate cancer (PCa) cells that express a prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) (folate hydrolase 1). The as-fabricated PFCDs exhibited several advantages such as easy preparation, high biocompatibility, low toxicity, good water-solubility, and excellent photothermal effect with robust blue fluorescence emission. The PSMA-directed imaging of PCa using PFCDs showed remarkable fluorescence enhancement in LNCap cells as compared to the case of other cells that did not express PSMA. PFCDs exhibited a photothermal effect in the PCa cells when irradiated with an 808 nm laser, which possibly resulted in the complete elimination of the tumor. Thus, these features make PFCDs a promising candidate for PTT. Moreover, PFCD-based PTT provides an effective biomedical platform for cancer therapy.