Anti-HER2 PLGA-PEG polymer nanoparticle containing gold nanorods and paclitaxel for laser-activated breast cancer detection and therapy

Phase-transition nanoparticles have been identified as effective theragnostic, anti-cancer agents. However, non-selective delivery of these agents results in inaccurate diagnosis and insufficient treatment. In this study, we report on the development of targeted phase-transition polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) for the imaging and treatment of breast cancer cell lines over-expressing human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). These NPs contain a perfluorohexane liquid interior and gold nanorods (GNRs) stabilized by biodegradable and biocompatible copolymer PLGA-PEG. Water-insoluble therapeutic drug Paclitaxel (PAC) and fluorescent dye were encapsulated into the PLGA shell. The NP surfaces were conjugated to HER2-binding agent, Herceptin, to actively target HER2-positive cancer cells. We evaluated the potential of using these NPs as a photoacoustic contrast agent. The efficacy of cancer cell treatment by laser-induced vaporization and stimulated drug release were also investigated. The results showed that our synthesized PLGA-PEG-GNRs (mean diameter 285 ± 29 nm) actively targeted HER2 positive cells with high efficacy. The laser-induced vaporization caused more damage to the targeted cells versus PAC-only and negative controls. This agent may provide better diagnostic imaging and therapeutic potential than current methods for treating HER2-positive breast cancer.

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