While chemotherapy is a major mode of cancer therapeutics, its efficacy is limited by systemic toxicities and drug resistance. Recent advances in nanomedicine provide the opportunity to reduce systemic toxicities. However, drug resistance remains a major challenge in cancer treatment research. Here we developed a nanomedicine composed of a phase-change nano-droplet (PCND) and an anti-cancer antibody (9E5), proposing the concept of ultrasound cancer therapy with intracellular vaporisation. PCND is a liquid perfluorocarbon nanoparticle with a liquid-gas phase that is transformable upon exposure to ultrasound. 9E5 is a monoclonal antibody targeting epiregulin (EREG). We found that 9E5-conjugated PCNDs are selectively internalised into targeted cancer cells and kill the cells dynamically by ultrasound-induced intracellular vaporisation. In vitro experiments show that 9E5-conjugated PCND targets 97.8% of high-EREG-expressing cancer cells and kills 57% of those targeted upon exposure to ultrasound. Furthermore, direct observation of the intracellular vaporisation process revealed the significant morphological alterations of cells and the release of intracellular contents.
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