Biomimetic nanocrystalline apatites: Emerging perspectives in cancer diagnosis and treatment

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Nanocrystalline calcium phosphate apatites constitute the mineral part of hard tissues, and the synthesis of biomimetic analogs is now well-mastered at the lab-scale. Recent advances in the fine physico-chemical characterization of these phases enable one to envision original applications in the medical field along with a better understanding of the underlying chemistry and related pharmacological features. In this contribution, we specifically focused on applications of biomimetic apatites in the field of cancer diagnosis or treatment. We first report on the production and first biological evaluations (cytotoxicity, pro-inflammatory potential, internalization by ZR-75-1 breast cancer cells) of individualized luminescent nanoparticles based on Eu-doped apatites, eventually associated with folic acid, for medical imaging purposes. We then detail, in a first approach, the preparation of tridimensional constructs associating nanocrystalline apatite aqueous gels and drug-loaded pectin microspheres. Sustained releases of a fluorescein analog (erythrosin) used as model molecule were obtained over 7 days, in comparison with the ceramic or microsphere reference compounds. Such systems could constitute original bone-filling materials for in situ delivery of anticancer drugs.

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