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Conductive polymer-based nanoparticles for laser-mediated photothermal ablation of cancer: synthesis, characterization, and in vitro evaluation

Authors Cantu T, Walsh K, Pattani VP, Moy AJ, Tunnell JW, Irvin JA, Betancourt T

Received 7 July 2016

Accepted for publication 30 October 2016

Published 16 January 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 615—632


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Carlos Rinaldi

Video abstract presented by Tania Betancourt

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Travis Cantu,1 Kyle Walsh,2 Varun P Pattani,3 Austin J Moy,3 James W Tunnell,3 Jennifer A Irvin,1,2 Tania Betancourt1,2

1Materials Science, Engineering, and Commercialization Program, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA; 2Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, USA; 3Department of Biomedical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA

Abstract: Laser-mediated photothermal ablation of cancer cells aided by photothermal agents is a promising strategy for localized, externally controlled cancer treatment. We report the synthesis, characterization, and in vitro evaluation of conductive polymeric nanoparticles (CPNPs) of poly(diethyl-4,4'-{[2,5-bis(2,3-dihydrothieno[3,4-b][1,4]dioxin-5-yl)-1,4-phenylene]bis(oxy)}dibutanoate) (P1) and poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) stabilized with 4-dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid and poly(4-styrenesulfonic acid-co-maleic acid) as photothermal ablation agents. The nanoparticles were prepared by oxidative-emulsion polymerization, yielding stable aqueous suspensions of spherical particles of <100 nm diameter as determined by dynamic light scattering and electron microscopy. Both types of nanoparticles show strong absorption of light in the near infrared region, with absorption peaks at 780 nm for P1 and 750 nm for PEDOT, as well as high photothermal conversion efficiencies (~50%), that is higher than commercially available gold-based photothermal ablation agents. The nanoparticles show significant photostability as determined by their ability to achieve consistent temperatures and to maintain their morphology upon repeated cycles of laser irradiation. In vitro studies in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells demonstrate the cytocompatibility of the CPNPs and their ability to mediate complete cancer cell ablation upon irradiation with an 808-nm laser, thereby establishing the potential of these systems as agents for laser-induced photothermal therapy.

Keywords: conductive polymers, nanoparticles, breast cancer, emulsion polymerization, nanomedicine, photothermal ablation, PEDOT, photothermal conversion efficiency, MDA-MB-231

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