Anticancer drug-loaded quantum dots engineered polymeric nanoparticles: Diagnosis/therapy combined approach

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Primary Effusion Lymphoma (PEL) is an HHV-8-related non Hodgkin lymphoma localized in body cavities (as pleural, peritoneal and pericardial) presenting lymphomatous effusion that, until now, lack of an effective therapy. Curcumin was reported to display pro-apoptotic effect via the inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway, that is overexpressed in PEL cells, as consequence of virus infection. The administration of curcumin is severely restricted by its physicochemical properties, mainly its low solubility in biological fluid and consequently low bioavailability. Encapsulation into biocompatible and biodegradable PLGA nanoparticles (NPs) could be a strategy to overcome biological limits of curcumin, offering a valuable step forward for its clinical application. In this study we described single-emulsion process for curcumin loading into NPs (encapsulation efficiency about 35%). We applied a post-formulation strategy (NHS/EDC reaction) to decorate the surface of the curcumin-loaded NPs with quantum dots (QDs) as imaging agents (QDs-NPs-Cur, 24 pmol of QDs per 100 mg of NPs) obtaining tools useful for possible application in theranostic approach.

Bifunctionalized NPs were tested in vitro on two PEL's cell line (BCBL-1 and HBL-6). The efficacy of the treatment was evaluated by cytofluorimetric assay by measuring both cell viability and cell density. We found that the NPs significantly improve the cellular effect of curcumin (respect to free drug). Moreover, by means of confocal microscopy, both the localization of bifunctional NPs and of the released drug were easily detectable.

Thus, we conclude that the delivery of curcumin using bifunctional traceable NPs is a promising future approach for the diagnosis and the treatment of PEL.

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