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Near-Infrared Laser-Triggered, Self-Immolative Smart Polymersomes for in vivo Cancer Therapy

Authors Tang Q, Hu P, Peng H, Zhang N, Zheng Q, He Y

Received 24 July 2019

Accepted for publication 14 November 2019

Published 10 January 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 137—149


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Qing Tang, 1,* Ping Hu, 1,2,* Haibo Peng, 1 Ning Zhang, 1 Qiang Zheng, 1 Yun He 1

1School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chongqing Key Laboratory of Natural Drug Research, Chongqing University, Chongqing 401331, People’s Republic of China; 2School of Pharmacy, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Yun He
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chongqing Key Laboratory of Natural Drug Research, Chongqing University, 55 South Daxuecheng Road, Chongqing 401331, People’s Republic of China
Tel +86 23 6567 8450
Fax +86 23 65678455

Purpose: Traditional chemotherapy is accompanied by significant side effects, which, in many aspects, limits its treatment efficacy and clinical applications. Herein, we report an oxidative responsive polymersome nanosystem mediated by near infrared (NIR) light which exhibited the combination effect of photodynamic therapy (PDT) and chemotherapy.
Methods: In our study, poly (propylene sulfide) 20-bl-poly (ethylene glycol) 12 (PPS 20-b-PEG 12) block copolymer was synthesized and employed to prepare the polymersome. The hydrophobic photosensitizer zinc phthalocyanine (ZnPc) was loaded in the shell and the hydrophilic doxorubicin hydrochloride (DOX·HCl) in the inner aqueous space of the polymersome.
Results: Under the irradiation of 660 nm NIR light, singlet oxygen 1O 2 molecules were generated from ZnPc to oxidize the neighbouring sulfur atoms on the PPS block which eventually ruptured the intact structure of polymersomes, leading to the release of encapsulated DOX·HCl. The released DOX and the 1O 2 could achieve a combination effect for cancer therapy if the laser activation and drug release occur at the tumoral sites. In vitro studies confirmed the generation of singlet oxygen and DOX release by NIR irradiation. In vivo studies showed that such a combined PDT-chemotherapy nanosystem could accumulate in A375 tumors efficiently, thus leading to significant inhibition on tumor growth as compared to PDT (PZ group) or chemotherapy alone (DOX group).
Conclusion: In summary, this oxidation-sensitive nanosystem showed excellent anti-tumor effects by synergistic chemophotodynamic therapy, indicating that this novel drug delivery strategy could potentially provide a new means for cancer treatments in clinic.

Keywords: near infrared laser, photodynamic therapy, oxidation-responsive, polymersome, combination therapy, cancer

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