Photothermal therapy (PTT) using near-infrared (NIR) light is an attractive treatment modality for cancer, in which photothermal agents absorb energy from photons and convert it into thermal energy to lead to cancer cell death. Among the various organic and inorganic materials, single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) are promising candidates for NIR photothermal agents due to their strong absorption in this region as well as their high photothermal conversion efficiency. In the development of the SWCNT-based PTT materials, modifications of SWCNTs to offer a stable dispersion for biocompatibility as well as to target the tumor of choice while maintaining their NIR absorption have been required. While modification of SWCNTs through noncovalent methods can be achieved, these modifications can be easily reversed in the body. Contrarily, modifications through covalent attachments, while more desirable, may compromise the NIR absorption characteristics of the SWCNTs. Previously, we reported the development of a synthetic strategy to coat SWCNTs with a cross-linked polymer (i.e., a gel) through a process called CNT Micelle Polymerization and successfully introduced maleimide groups that allowed for postmodification through the ene-thiol reaction without deteriorating the NIR absorption. In this report, we postmodify thiol-containing antibodies (anti-TRP-1, a melanoma specific protein) using maleimide chemistry and find that the SWCNTs conjugated with anti-TRP-1 maintain the characteristic NIR absorption as SWCNTs with dispersion stability. It is estimated that 50 maleimide groups are incorporated in one SWCNT (ca. 280 nm long) and they are modified with 32 TRP-1 fragments. Finally, we successfully use these targeted SWCNTs for the PTT of the melanoma cell line using NIR light (1064 nm; 2 W, 5 min). Our method can be extended to a vast array of specific antibodies as well as other targeting agents.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Biochemistry, medical