Enhancing Radiotherapy by Lipid Nanocapsule-Mediated Delivery of Amphiphilic Gold Nanoparticles to Intracellular Membranes
Amphiphilic gold nanoparticles (amph-NPs), composed of gold cores surrounded by an amphiphilic mixed organic ligand shell, are capable of embedding within and traversing lipid membranes. Here we describe a strategy using crosslink-stabilized lipid nanocapsules (NCs) as carriers to transport such membrane-penetrating par-tides into tumor cells and promote their transfer to intracellular membranes for enhanced radiotherapy of cancer. We synthesized and characterized interbilayer-crosslinked multilamellar lipid vesicles (ICMVs) carrying amph-NPs embedded in the capsule walls, forming Au-NCs. Confocal and electron microscopies revealed that the intracellular distribution of amph-NPs within melanoma and breast tumor cells following uptake of free particles vs Au-NCs was quite distinct and that amph-NPs initially delivered into endosomes by Au-NCs transferred over a period of hours to intracellular membranes through tumor cells, with greater intracellular spread in melanoma cells than breast carcinoma cells. Clonogenic assays revealed that Au-NCs enhanced radiotherapeutic killing of melanoma cells. Thus, multilamellar lipid capsules may serve as an effective carrier to deliver amphiphilic gold nanoparticles to tumors, where the membrane-penetrating properties of these materials can significantly enhance the efficacy of frontline radiotherapy treatments.