Double-targeted theranostic gold nanoparticles for treatment of brain tumors

S. Dixit, Y. Zhu, A. Moore, M. Kenney, A-M. Broome
Medical University of South Carolina, US

Keywords: gold nanoparticle, photodynamic therapy, brain tumors, EGFR, TfR


Therapeutic drug delivery across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is not only inefficient but also nonspecific, thereby posing a major shortcoming in effective treatment of brain cancer. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a localized treatment modality, relying on both a photosensitizer and drug activation using a specific wavelength. The widespread use of PDT in brain tumor therapy has been partially hampered by non-targeted phototoxicity towards healthy tissue. The development of nanoparticles selectively targeted to cell surface receptors that can act as drug delivery vehicles is critical for improving the treatment and therapeutic responsiveness in inaccessible tumors, such as glioblastomas. Gold nanoparticles (Au NPs) provide an excellent platform with a surface that can be tailored to attach biomolecules for targeted drug delivery and biocompatible coatings that can efficiently encapsulate the hydrophobic photosensitizer drug, Pc 4, thereby reducing off-site cytotoxicity. In this study, we demonstrate a novel double targeted, noncovalent Au NP drug delivery agent, which selectively delivers drugs to brain tumors for PDT.