Lipid-Iron Nanoparticle with a Cell Stress Release Mechanism Combined with a Local Alternating Magnetic Field Enables Site-Activated Drug Release
Most available cancer chemotherapies are based on systemically administered small organic molecules, and only a tiny fraction of the drug reaches the disease site. The approach causes significant side effects and limits the outcome of the therapy. Targeted drug delivery provides an alternative to improve the situation. However, due to the poor release characteristics of the delivery systems, limitations remain. This report presents a new approach to address the challenges using two fundamentally different mechanisms to trigger the release from the liposomal carrier. We use an endogenous disease marker, an enzyme, combined with an externally applied magnetic field, to open the delivery system at the correct time only in the disease site. This site-activated release system is a novel two-switch nanomachine that can be regulated by a cell stress-induced enzyme at the cellular level and be remotely controlled using an applied magnetic field. We tested the concept using sphingomyelin-containing liposomes encapsulated with indocyanine green, fluorescent marker, or the anticancer drug cisplatin. We engineered the liposomes by adding paramagnetic beads to act as a receiver of outside magnetic energy. The developed multifunctional liposomes were characterized in vitro in leakage studies and cell internalization studies. The release system was further studied in vivo in imaging and therapy trials using a squamous cell carcinoma tumor in the mouse as a disease model. In vitro studies showed an increased release of loaded material when stress-related enzyme and magnetic field was applied to the carrier liposomes. The theranostic liposomes were found in tumors, and the improved therapeutic effect was shown in the survival studies.