A bottlebrush-architectured dextran polyprodrug as an acidity-responsive vector for enhanced chemotherapy efficiency†
Compared to normal tissues, unique conditions in the tumor microenvironment, such as a lower pH, can induce accurate release of a drug into specific lesions. This strategy provides an efficient approach to overcome the issues of unexpected drug leakage and poor circulation stability, thereby reducing the side effects and enhancing the effect of cancer treatment. In this study, we designed a class of acid activatable supramolecular nano-prodrugs (DOM@DOX) with a bottlebrush architecture based on the dextran (DEX) polysaccharide, which connects with a hydrophilic polyethylene glycol chain by atom transfer radical polymerization and further conjugates with an anticancer drug doxorubicin (DOX) at the backbone of the copolymer via an acidity-responsive hydrazine bond. Furthermore, the DOM@DOX prodrug has a high drug loading up to 48 wt% for DOX, and the prodrug can maintain a stable nano-sized spherical shape in aqueous solution by a self-assembly strategy. In an acidic environment inside tumor cells, the hydrazine bond of the prodrug breaks, leading to the release of DOX from parental micelles. Owing to the small size of the carrier, the prodrug exhibits good intratumoral permeability, good circulation stability and significant tumor suppression efficiency in tumor-bearing mouse models, which is beneficial for the development of new generation nanomedicine for enhanced chemotherapy.