Glutathione triggered degradation of polydopamine to facilitate controlled drug release for synergic combinational cancer treatment†
Here we report a novel mechanism for triggering drug release in the polydopamine (PDA)-coated magnetic CuCo2S4 core–shell nanostructure by glutathione (GSH) triggered degradation of PDA for release. In the design, we used PDA coated CuCo2S4 as the nanocarrier with polyethylene glycol and folic acid targeting molecules to ensure the safe delivery of doxorubicin (DOX) to cancer cells. In addition, the controlled release could be enforced by taking advantage of the pH sensitivity of PDA to tumor acidic environments. The targeting and treatment of HeLa cancer cells were very effective and the killing was more efficient at higher levels of GSH. Furthermore, the designed system not only could be used for drug delivery but also could combine photothermal therapy with chemotherapy in a synergetic way. Plus, the system could be used for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is beneficial for imaging-guided treatment.