H2 Nanosystem for Tumor Penetration & Hydrogen TherapyScientific Research

original title: Enzyme-Triggered Size-Switchable Nanosystem for Deep Tumor Penetration and Hydrogen Therapy


Yongju He, Xiangjie Tian, Xingyu Fan, Xiyu Gong, Songwen Tan, Anqiang Pan, Shuquan Liang, Hui Xu, Fangfang Zhou

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.2c18184



The poor penetration of nanocarriers within tumor dense extracellular matrices (ECM) greatly restricts the access of anticancer drugs to the deep tumor cells, resulting in low therapeutic efficacy. Moreover, the high toxicity of the traditional chemotherapeutics inevitably causes undesirable side effects. Herein, taking the advantages of biosafe H2 and small-sized nanoparticles in diffusion within tumor ECM, we develop a matrix metalloprotease 2 (MMP-2) responsive size-switchable nanoparticle (UAMSN@Gel-PEG) that is composed of ultrasmall amino-modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles (UAMSN) wrapped within a PEG-conjugated gelatin to deliver H2 to the deep part of tumors for effective gas therapy. Ammonia borane (AB) is chosen as the H2 prodrug that can be effectively loaded into UAMSN by hydrogen-bonding adsorption. Gelatin is used as the substrate of MMP-2 to trigger size change and block AB inside UAMSN during blood circulation. PEG is introduced to further increase the particle size and endow the nanoparticle with long blood circulation to achieve effective tumor accumulation via the EPR effect. After accumulation into the tumor site, MMP-2 promptly digests gelatin to expose UAMSN loading AB for deep tumor penetration. Upon stimulation by the acidic tumor microenvironment, AB decomposes into H2 for further intratumor diffusion to achieve effective hydrogen therapy. Consequently, such a simultaneous deep tumor penetration of nanocarriers and H2 results in an evident suppression on tumor growth in a 4T1 tumor-bearing model without any obvious toxicity on normal tissues. Our synthetic nanosystem provides a promising strategy for the development of nanomedicines with enhanced tumor permeability and good biosafety for efficient tumor treatment.