Thin platelet-like COF nanocomposites for blood brain barrier transport and inhibition of brain metastasis from renal cancer†
Effective treatment of brain metastases is hindered by the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and the rapid development of resistance to drug therapy. Moreover, the clinical application of general formulations is hampered by biological barriers and biological elimination. To tackle this challenge, we report a feasible approach for the assembly of polymer–covalent organic framework (COF) nanocomposites into 150 nm thin platelets as a drug delivery vehicle for enhanced retention in brain tumours. Using intravital imaging, we demonstrate that these polymer–COF nanocomposites are able to traverse the BBB in mice and achieve direct tumour accumulation in intracranial orthotopic models of brain metastasis from renal cancer (BMRC). These nanocomposites can target brain tumour cells and respond to tumour microenvironmental characteristics, including acidic and redox conditions. Intracranial tumour acidity triggers the breakdown of the nanoassemblies to polymer–COF nanocomposites due to the presence of borate bonds. Furthermore, in vivo studies on the nanocomposites showed enhanced brain tumour-targeting efficiency and therapeutic effects compared to those of free-drug dosing. Mice treated with drug-loaded polymer–COF nanocomposites also show protection from systemic drug toxicity and improved survival, demonstrating the preclinical potential of this nanoscale platform to deliver novel combination therapies to BMRC and other central nervous system (CNS) tumours.