Biodegradable Theranostic Plasmonic Vesicles of Amphiphilic Gold Nanorods.

ACS nano

PubMedID: 24073739

Song J, Pu L, Zhou J, Duan B, Duan H. Biodegradable Theranostic Plasmonic Vesicles of Amphiphilic Gold Nanorods. ACS Nano. 2013;.
We have developed surface-initiated organocatalytic ring-opening polymerization on functional nanocrystals and synthesized amphiphilic gold nanorods carrying well-defined mixed polymer brushes of poly(ethylene glycol) and polylactide. Self-assembly of the amphiphilic gold nanorods affords biodegradable plasmonic vesicles that can be destructed by both enzymatic degradation and near-infrared photothermal heating. When tagged with Raman probes, strongly coupled gold nanorods in the self-assembled vesicles give rise to highly active SERS signals. The biodegradable plasmonic vesicles exhibit a unique combination of optical and structural properties that are of particular interest for theranostic applications. We have demonstrated that bioconjugated SERS-active plasmonic vesicles can specifically target EpCAM-positive cancer cells, leading to ultrasensitive spectroscopic detection of cancer cells. Furthermore, integration of photothermal effect of gold nanorods and large loading capacity of the vesicles provides opportunities for localized synergistic photothermal ablation and photoactivated chemotherapy, which have shown higher efficiency in killing targeted cancer cells than either single therapeutic modality. The versatile chemistry of organocatalytic ring-opening polymerization, in conjugation with recent development in synthesizing functional nanocrystals with tailored optical, electronic, and magnetic properties opens the possibilities for constructing multifunctional biodegradable platforms for clinical translation.