Hydrogen-Bonded Polymer Nanomedicine with AIE Characteristic for Intelligent Cancer Therapy

 Li, Z. et. al., ACS Macro Lett., 2023, 12, 10, 1384–1388, https://doi.org/10.1021/acsmacrolett.3c00493

Hydrogen-bonding (H-bonding) assembly incorporated with an aggregation-induced emission (AIE) capability can serve as a powerful tool for developing supramolecular nanomedicine with clear tumor imaging and smart therapeutic performance. We here report a H-bonded polymeric nanoformulation with an AIE characteristic toward smart antitumor therapy. To do so, we first design a structurally novel tetraphenylethylene (TPE)-based H-bonding theranostic prodrug, TPE-(FUA)4, characterized by four chemotherapeutic fluorouracil-1-acetic acid (FUA) moieties arched to the TPE core. A six-arm star-shaped amphiphilic polymer vehicle, P(DAP-co-OEGEA)6, is prepared, bearing hydrophilic and biocompatible POEGEA (poly(oligo (ethylene glycol) ethyl acrylate) segments, along with a hydrophobic and H-bonding PDAP (poly(diaminopyridine acrylamide)) segment. Thanks to the establishment of the DAP/FUA H-bonding association, incorporating the TPE-(FUA)4 prodrug to the P(DAP-co-OEGEA)6 vehicle can yield H-bond cross-linked nanoparticles with interpenetrating networks. For the first time, AIE luminogens are interwoven into a six-arm star-shaped polymer via an intrinsic H-bonding array of the chemotherapeutic agent FUA, thus imposing an effective restriction of TPE molecular rotations. Concomitantly, encapsulated photothermal agent (IR780) via a hydrophobic interaction facilitates the formation of nanoassemblies, TPE-(FUA)4/IR780@P(DAP-co-OEGEA)6, featuring synergistic cancer chemo/photothermal therapy (CT/PTT). Copyright © 2023, American Chemical Society