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ACS Omega. 2018 Apr 30;3(4):4602-4619. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.8b00419. Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Porphyrin-Gold Nanomaterial for Efficient Drug Delivery to Cancerous Cells.

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Structural Biology and Bioinformatics Division and Cancer Biology & Inflammatory Disorder Division, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4, Raja S.C. Mullick Road, Kolkata 700032, India.


With an aim to overcome multidrug resistance (MDR), nontargeted delivery, and drug toxicity, we developed a new nanochemotherapeutic system with tetrasodium salt of meso-tetrakis(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrin (TPPS) armored on gold nanoparticles (TPPS-AuNPs). The nanocarrier is able to be selectively internalized within tumor cells than in normal cells followed by endocytosis and therefore delivers the antitumor drug doxorubicin (DOX) particularly to the nucleus of diseased cells. The embedment of TPPS on the gold nanosurface provides excellent stability and biocompatibility to the nanoparticles. Porphyrin interacts with the gold nanosurface through the coordination interaction between gold and pyrrolic nitrogen atoms of the porphyrin and forms a strong association complex. DOX-loaded nanocomposite (DOX@TPPS-AuNPs) demonstrated enhanced cellular uptake with significantly reduced drug efflux in MDR brain cancer cells, thereby increasing the retention time of the drug within tumor cells. It exhibited about 9 times greater potency for cellular apoptosis via triggered release commenced by acidic pH. DOX has been successfully loaded on the porphyrin-modified gold nanosurface noncovalently with high encapsulation efficacy (∼90%) and tightly associated under normal physiological conditions but capable of releasing ∼81% of drug in a low-pH environment. Subsequently, DOX-loaded TPPS-AuNPs exhibited higher inhibition of cellular metastasis, invasion, and angiogenesis, suggesting that TPPS-modified AuNPs could improve the therapeutic efficacy of the drug molecule. Unlike free DOX, drug-loaded TPPS-AuNPs did not show toxicity toward normal cells. Therefore, higher drug encapsulation efficacy with selective targeting potential and acidic-pH-mediated intracellular release of DOX at the nucleus make TPPS-AuNPs a "magic bullet" for implication in nanomedicine.

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