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Hollow Nanostars with Photothermal Gold Caps and Their Controlled Surface Functionalization for Complementary Therapies

Gold nanoparticles exhibiting absorption in the desirable near-infrared (NIR) region are supposed attractive candidates for photothermal therapy (PTT). Furthermore, the construction of one nanoplatform employing gold nanoparticles for complementary therapy is still a great challenge. In this work, well defined unique hollow silica nanostars with encapsulated gold caps (starlike Au@SiO2) are readily synthesized by a sacrificial template method. Ethanolamine-functionalized poly(glycidyl methacrylate) (denoted by BUCT-PGEA) brushes were then grafted controllably from the surface of starlike Au@SiO2 nanoparticles via surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) to produce starlike Au@SiO2-PGEA. The photothermal effect of gold caps with cross cavity could be utilized for PTT. The interior hollow feature of starlike Au@SiO2 nanoparticles endows them with excellent drug loading capbility for chemotherpy while the polycationic BUCT-PGEA brushes on the sruface provides good transfection performances for gene therapy (GT), which will overcome the penetration depth limitation of PTT for tumor therapy. Compared with ordinary spherical Au@SiO2-PGEA counterparts, the starlike Au@SiO2-PGEA hybrids with sharp horns favor endocytosis which could contribute to enhanced antitumor effectiveness. The rational integration of photothermal gold caps, hollow nanostars, and polycations through the facile strategy might offer a promising avenue for complementary cancer therapy.

Written by: Ranran Wang | |