Endosome/lysosome-detained supramolecular nanogels as an efflux retarder and autophagy inhibitor for repeated photodynamic therapy of multidrug-resistant cancer†
The presence of drug efflux pumps and endo/lysosomal entrapment phenomena in multidrug-resistant cancer cells leads to insufficient and off-target accumulation of anticancer drugs in the cells, which severely reduces the drugs’ therapeutic efficacies. Here, we prepare a novel type of photosensitizer (PS)-loaded supramolecular nanogel, which can utilize the endo/lysosomal entrapment for enhanced photodynamic therapy (PDT) of multidrug-resistant cancer. The PS-loaded nanogels can elude the drug efflux pumps, and be markedly internalized by drug-resistant cancer cells through the endocytic pathway. With their pH-sensitive properties, the internalized nanogels can aggregate in the acidic endosomes/lysosomes, thus retarding their exocytosis from the cells. Moreover, the lysosomes of the nanogel-treated cells are severely damaged after irradiation, which inhibits the protective autophagy and improves the photodynamic therapeutic performance of the nanogels. Besides, the in vivo experiments show that the nanogels significantly prolong the tumor retention of the PSs, thus enabling multiple PDT treatments after a single drug injection.