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Amorphous calcium phosphate nanoparticles could function as a novel cancer therapeutic agent by employing a suitable targeted drug delivery platform

Milad Pourbaghi-Masouleh1 and Vahid Hosseini2*

Author Affiliations

1 Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Department, Materials and Energy Research Center, Karaj, P.O. Box: 31787/316, Iran

2 Department of Health Science and Technology, Laboratory of Applied Mechanobiology, ETH, Zürich 8093, Switzerland

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:449  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-449

Published: 30 October 2013


Employment of nanovehicular system for delivering apoptogenic agent to cancer cells for inducing apoptosis has widely been investigated. Loading efficacy and controlled release of the agents are of the inseparable obstacles that hamper the efforts in reaching an efficacious targeted cancer therapy method. When the carrier itself is apoptogenic, then there is no need to load the carrier with apoptogenic agent and just delivering of the particle to the specific location matters. Hence, we hypothesize that amorphous calcium phosphate nanoparticle (ACPN) is a potent candidate for apoptosis induction, although encapsulation in liposome shell, and surface decoration with targeting ligand (TL), and cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) plays a pivotal role in the employment of this agent. It is well understood that elevation in cytosolic Ca2+ ([Ca2+]c) would result in the induction of apoptosis. ACPN has the potential to cause imbalance in this medium by elevating [Ca2+]c. Owning to the fact that the nanoparticles should be delivered into cytosol, it is necessary to trap them in a liposomal shell for evading endocytosis. It was demonstrated that employment of the trans-activator of transcription (TAT) as CPP eminently enhances the efficacy of endosomal escape; therefore, the platform is designed in a way that TAT is positioned on the surface of the liposome. Due to the fact that the apoptosis should be induced in sole cancer cells, Folate as TL is also attached on the surface of the liposome. This hypothesis heralds the new generation of chemotherapeutic agents and platforms which could have less side effect than the most common ones, in addition to other advantages they have.

Amorphous calcium phosphate nanoparticle; Apoptosis; Cancer; Calcium; Endosomal escape; Targeting ligand