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ACS Nano. 2011 May 24;5(5):4131-44. doi: 10.1021/nn200809t. Epub 2011 Apr 27.

Use of size and a copolymer design feature to improve the biodistribution and the enhanced permeability and retention effect of doxorubicin-loaded mesoporous silica nanoparticles in a murine xenograft tumor model.

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Division of NanoMedicine, Department of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, United States.


A key challenge for improving the efficacy of passive drug delivery to tumor sites by a nanocarrier is to limit reticuloendothelial system uptake and to maximize the enhanced permeability and retention effect. We demonstrate that size reduction and surface functionalization of mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNP) with a polyethyleneimine-polyethylene glycol copolymer reduces particle opsonization while enhancing the passive delivery of monodispersed, 50 nm doxorubicin-laden MSNP to a human squamous carcinoma xenograft in nude mice after intravenous injection. Using near-infrared fluorescence imaging and elemental Si analysis, we demonstrate passive accumulation of ∼12% of the tail vein-injected particle load at the tumor site, where there is effective cellular uptake and the delivery of doxorubicin to KB-31 cells. This was accompanied by the induction of apoptosis and an enhanced rate of tumor shrinking compared to free doxorubicin. The improved drug delivery was accompanied by a significant reduction in systemic side effects such as animal weight loss as well as reduced liver and renal injury. These results demonstrate that it is possible to achieve effective passive tumor targeting by MSNP size reduction as well as by introducing steric hindrance and electrostatic repulsion through coating with a copolymer. Further endowment of this multifunctional drug delivery platform with targeting ligands and nanovalves may further enhance cell-specific targeting and on-demand release.

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