Mitochondria targeting IR780-based nanoGUMBOS for enhanced selective toxicity towards cancer cells

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© 2018 The Royal Society of Chemistry. Herein, a simple counter-ion variation strategy is proposed and demonstrated for design of an array of near infrared IR780-based nanoGUMBOS (nanomaterials from a Group of Uniform Materials Based on Organic Salts) to produce enhanced anticancer activity. These nanomaterials were synthesized by direct nanoengineering of IR780-based GUMBOS using a reprecipitation method, without addition of any other materials. Thus, these novel nanomaterials can serve as carrier-free nanodrugs, providing several distinct advantages over conventional chemotherapeutics. Examination of the size and stability of these nanoGUMBOS indicates formation of approximately 100 nm nanoparticles that are stable under biological conditions. Interestingly, in vitro chemotherapeutic applications of these nanoGUMBOS indicate two to four-fold enhanced toxicity towards breast cancer cells as compared to the parent dye, while still maintaining minimal toxicity towards normal cells. The mechanism of cancer toxicity for these nanoGUMBOS was also examined by a study of their sub-cellular localization as well as using a mitochondrial toxicity assay. Analyses of data from these studies revealed that all nanoGUMBOS primarily accumulate in the mitochondria of cancer cells and produce dysfunction in the mitochondria to induce cell death. Using these studies, we demonstrate tunable properties of IR780-based nanoGUMBOS through simple variation of counter-ions, thus providing a promising strategy for future design of better nanomedicines to be used for cancer therapy.

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RSC Advances

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