Polydopamine-Mesoporous Silica Core-Shell Nanoparticles for Combined Photothermal Immunotherapy

Anushree Seth, Hamed Gholami Derami, Prashant Gupta, Zheyu Wang, Priya Rathi, Rohit Gupta, Thao Cao, Jeremiah J. Morrissey, Srikanth Singamaneni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Cancer immunotherapy involves a cascade of events that ultimately leads to cytotoxic immune cells effectively identifying and destroying cancer cells. Responsive nanomaterials, which enable spatiotemporal orchestration of various immunological events for mounting a highly potent and long-lasting antitumor immune response, are an attractive platform to overcome challenges associated with existing cancer immunotherapies. Here, we report a multifunctional near-infrared (NIR)-responsive core-shell nanoparticle, which enables (i) photothermal ablation of cancer cells for generating tumor-associated antigen (TAA) and (ii) triggered release of an immunomodulatory drug (gardiquimod) for starting a series of immunological events. The core of these nanostructures is composed of a polydopamine nanoparticle, which serves as a photothermal agent, and the shell is made of mesoporous silica, which serves as a drug carrier. We employed a phase-change material as a gatekeeper to achieve concurrent release of both TAA and adjuvant, thus efficiently activating the antigen-presenting cells. Photothermal immunotherapy enabled by these nanostructures resulted in regression of primary tumor and significantly improved inhibition of secondary tumor in a mouse melanoma model. These biocompatible, biodegradable, and NIR-responsive core-shell nanostructures simultaneously deliver payload and cause photothermal ablation of the cancer cells. Our results demonstrate potential of responsive nanomaterials in generating highly synergistic photothermal immunotherapeutic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42499-42510
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 23 2020


  • NIR-responsive drug delivery
  • cancer immunotherapy
  • mesoporous silica
  • photothermal therapy
  • polydopamine nanoparticles


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