Biodegradable Enzymatically Activated Nanoprobes for Dual Imaging and Therapy of Breast Cancer
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Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide. Near infrared optical imaging has emerged recently as a viable alternative for the detection, monitoring, and image-guided therapy of tumors. Enzymatically activated nanoprobes utilize protease-labile polypeptides labeled with near infrared fluorophores as a mean to provide an off-to-on switch for fluorescence development that is triggered by tumor-overexpressed enzymes. Clinical use of doxorubicin is restricted by dose-dependent toxicity, multidrug resistance, and low specificity against cancer cells. Theranostic nanoprobes integrate diagnostic and therapeutic functions within an all-in-one platform. In this work, theranostic nanoprobes were synthesized with commonly used biocompatible and biodegradable polymers, and was used as cancer contrast and therapeutic agents for optical imaging and treatment of breast cancer. These core-shell structure nanoprobes were prepared with blends of biodegradable and biocompatible amphiphilic copolymers, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid)-b-poly(ʟ-lysine), and poly(lactic acid)-b-poly(ethylene glycol). The protease cleavable polypeptide, poly(ʟ-lysine), was decorated with the near infrared ﬂuorescent molecule AlexaFluor-750 for optical imaging of breast cancer cells. The chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin was loaded into the core of nanoprobes for drug delivery.