Matrix metalloproteinase enzymes, overexpressed in HT-1080 human fibrocarcinoma tumors, were used to guide the accumulation and retention of an enzyme-responsive nanoparticle in a xenograft mouse model. The nanoparticles were prepared as micelles from amphiphilic block copolymers bearing a simple hydrophobic block and a hydrophilic peptide brush. The polymers were end-labeled with Alexa Fluor 647 dyes leading to the formation of labeled micelles upon dialysis of the polymers from DMSO/DMF to aqueous buffer. This dye-labeling strategy allowed the presence of the retained material to be visualized via whole animal imaging in vivo and in ex vivo organ analysis following intratumoral injection into HT-1080 xenograft tumors. We propose that the material is retained by virtue of an enzyme-induced accumulation process whereby particles change morphology from 20 nm spherical micelles to micrometer-scale aggregates, kinetically trapping them within the tumor. This hypothesis is tested here via an unprecedented super-resolution fluorescence analysis of ex vivo tissue slices confirming a particle size increase occurs concomitantly with extended retention of responsive particles compared to unresponsive controls.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry