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Novel silk fibroin nanoparticles incorporated silk fibroin hydrogel for inhibition of cancer stem cells and tumor growth

Authors Wu P, Liu Q, Wang Q, Qian H, Yu L, Liu B, Li R

Received 21 February 2018

Accepted for publication 28 June 2018

Published 17 September 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 5405—5418

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S166104

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang


Puyuan Wu, Qin Liu, Qin Wang, Hanqing Qian, Lixia Yu, Baorui Liu, Rutian Li

The Comprehensive Cancer Center of Drum Tower Hospital, Medical School of Nanjing University, Clinical Cancer Institute of Nanjing University, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China

Background: A multi-drug delivery platform is needed as the intra-tumoral heterogeneity of cancer leads to different drug susceptibility. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small population of tumor cells responsible for tumor seeding and recurrence, are considered chemotherapy-resistant and have been reported to be sensitive to salinomycin (Sal) instead of paclitaxel (Ptx). Here we report a novel silk fibroin (SF) hydrogel-loading Sal and Ptx by incorporating drug-loaded silk fibroin nanoparticles (SF-NPs) to simultaneously kill CSCs and non-CSCs.
Methods: Using the method we have previously reported to prepare Ptx-loaded SF-NPs (Ptx-SF-NPs), Sal-loaded SF-NPs (Sal-SF-NPs) were fabricated under mild and non-toxic conditions. The drug-loaded SF-NPs were dispersed in the ultrasound processed SF solution prior to gelation.
Results: The resulting SF hydrogel (Sal-Ptx-NP-Gel) retained its injectable properties, exhibited bio-degradability and demonstrated homogeneous drug distribution compared to the non-NP incorporated hydrogel. Sal-Ptx-NP-Gel showed superior inhibition of tumor growth compared to single drug-loaded hydrogel and systemic dual drug administration in the murine hepatic carcinoma H22 subcutaneous tumor model. Sal-Ptx-NP-Gel also significantly reduced CD44+CD133+ tumor cells and demonstrated the least tumor formation in the in vivo tumor seeding experiment, indicating superior inhibition of cancer stem cells.
Conclusion: These results suggest that SF-NPs incorporated SF hydrogel is a promising drug delivery platform, and Sal-Ptx-NP-Gel could be a novel and powerful locoregional tumor treatment regimen in the future.

Keywords: silk fibroin, nanoparticle, hydrogel, salinomycin, cancer stem cells

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