Scientific reports

Nanosomes carrying doxorubicin exhibit potent anticancer activity against human lung cancer cells.

PMID 27941871


Successful chemotherapeutic intervention for management of lung cancer requires an efficient drug delivery system. Gold nanoparticles (GNPs) can incorporate various therapeutics; however, GNPs have limitations as drug carriers. Nano-sized cellular vesicles like exosomes (Exo) can ferry GNP-therapeutic complexes without causing any particle aggregation or immune response. In the present study, we describe the development and testing of a novel Exo-GNP-based therapeutic delivery system -'nanosomes'- for lung cancer therapy. This system consists of GNPs conjugated to anticancer drug doxorubicin (Dox) by a pH-cleavable bond that is physically loaded onto the exosomes (Exo-GNP-Dox). The therapeutic efficacy of Dox in nanosomes was assessed in H1299 and A549 non-small cell lung cancer cells, normal MRC9 lung fibroblasts, and Dox-sensitive human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASM). The enhanced rate of drug release under acidic conditions, successful uptake of the nanosomes by the recipient cells and the cell viability assays demonstrated that nanosomes exhibit preferential cytotoxicity towards cancer cells and have minimal activity on non-cancerous cells. Finally, the underlying mechanism of cytotoxicity involved ROS-mediated DNA damage. Results from this study mark the establishment of an amenable drug delivery vehicle and highlight the advantages of a natural drug carrier that demonstrates reduced cellular toxicity and efficient delivery of therapeutics to cancer cells.