Polymeric-Gold Nanohybrids for Combined Imaging and Cancer Therapy

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Here, the use of folic acid (FA)-functionalized, doxorubicin (DOXO)/superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPION)-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA)-Au porous shell nanoparticles (NPs) as potential nanoplatforms is reported for targeted multimodal chemo- and photothermal therapy combined with optical and magnetic resonance imaging in cancer. These polymeric-gold nanohybrids (PGNH) are produced by a seeded-growth method using chitosan as an electrostatic “glue” to attach Au seeds to DOXO/SPION-PLGA NPs. In order to determine their potential as theranostic nanoplatforms, their physicochemical properties, cellular uptake, and photothermal and chemotherapeutic efficiencies are tested in vitro using a human cervical cancer (HeLa) cell line. The present NPs show a near-infrared (NIR)-light-triggered release of cargo molecules under illumination and a great capacity to induce localized cell death in a well-focused region. The functionalization of the PGNH NPs with the targeting ligand FA improves their internalization efficiency and specificity. Furthermore, the possibility to guide the PGNH NPs to cancer cells by an external magnetic field is also proven in vitro, which additionally increases the cellular uptake and therapeutic efficiency.

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