Gold Half-Shell-Coated Paclitaxel-Loaded PLGA Nanoparticles for the Targeted Chemo-Photothermal Treatment of Cancer

Jaime Ibarra*, David Encinas-Basurto, Mario Almada, Josué Juárez, Miguel Angel Valdez, Silvia Barbosa, Pablo Taboada*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Conventional cancer therapies suffer from nonspecificity, drug resistance, and a poor bioavailability, which trigger severe side effects. To overcome these disadvantages, in this study, we designed and evaluated the in vitro potential of paclitaxel-loaded, PLGA-gold, half-shell nanoparticles (PTX-PLGA/Au-HS NPs) conjugated with cyclo(Arg-Gly-Asp-Phe-Lys) (cyRGDfk) as a targeted chemo-photothermal therapy system in HeLa and MDA-MB-231 cancer cells. A TEM analysis confirmed the successful gold half-shell structure formation. High-performance liquid chromatography showed an encapsulation efficiency of the paclitaxel inside nanoparticles of more than 90%. In the release study, an initial burst release of about 20% in the first 24 h was observed, followed by a sustained drug release for a period as long as 10 days, reaching values of about 92% and 49% for NPs with and without near infrared laser irradiation. In in vitro cell internalization studies, targeted nanoparticles showed a higher accumulation than nontargeted nanoparticles, possibly through a specific interaction of the cyRGDfk with their homologous receptors, the ανβ3 y ανβ5 integrins on the cell surface. Compared with chemotherapy or photothermal treatment alone, the combined treatment demonstrated a synergistic effect, reducing the cell viability to 23% for the HeLa cells and 31% for the MDA-MB-231 cells. Thus, our results indicate that these multifuncional nanoparticles can be considered to be a promising targeted chemo-photothermal therapy system against cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1390
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • PLGA
  • chemo-photothermal therapy
  • cyRGDk peptide
  • half shell
  • paclitaxel


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