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Receptor-targeted, drug-loaded, functionalized graphene oxides for chemotherapy and photothermal therapy

Authors Thapa RK, Choi JY, Poudel BK, Choi H, Yong CS, Kim JO

Received 30 January 2016

Accepted for publication 23 March 2016

Published 13 June 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 2799—2813

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S105401

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lakshmi Kiran Chelluri

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Thomas J Webster


Raj Kumar Thapa,1 Ju Yeon Choi,1 Bijay Kumar Poudel,1 Han-Gon Choi,2 Chul Soon Yong,1 Jong Oh Kim1

1College of Pharmacy, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan, Gyeongsanbuk-do, South Korea; 2College of Pharmacy, Hanyang University, Ansan, South Korea

Abstract: Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Although different chemotherapeutic agents have been developed to treat cancers, their use can be limited by low cellular uptake, drug resistance, and side effects. Hence, targeted drug delivery systems are continually being developed in order to improve the efficacy of chemotherapeutic agents. The main aim of this study was to prepare folic acid (FA)-conjugated polyvinyl pyrrolidone-functionalized graphene oxides (GO) (FA-GO) for targeted delivery of sorafenib (SF). GO were prepared using a modified Hummer’s method and subsequently altered to prepare FA-GO and SF-loaded FA-GO (FA-GO/SF). Characterization of GO derivatives was done using ultraviolet/visible spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, zeta potential measurements, and determination of in vitro drug release. Hemolytic toxicity, in vitro cytotoxicity, cellular uptake, and apoptotic effects of FA-GO/SF were also investigated. The results revealed that GO was successfully synthesized and that further transformation to FA-GO improved the stability and SF drug-loading capacity. In addition, the enhanced SF release under acidic conditions suggested possible benefits for cancer treatment. Conjugation of FA within the FA-GO/SF delivery system enabled targeted delivery of SF to cancer cells expressing high levels of FA receptors, thus increasing the cellular uptake and apoptotic effects of SF. Furthermore, the photothermal effect achieved by exposure of GO to near-infrared irradiation enhanced the anticancer effects of FA-GO/SF. Taken together, FA-GO/SF is a potential carrier for targeted delivery of chemotherapeutic agents in cancer.

Keywords: graphene oxide, folic acid, sorafenib, targeted drug delivery, near-infrared

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