Melanin nanoparticles derived from a homology of medicine and food for sentinel lymph node mapping and photothermal in vivo cancer therapy
The use of non-toxic or low toxicity materials exhibiting dual functionality for use in sentinel lymph node (SLN) mapping and cancer therapy has attracted considerable attention during the past two decades. Herein, we report that the natural black sesame melanin (BSM) extracted from black sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum L.) shows exciting potential for SLN mapping and cancer photothermal therapy. Aqueous solutions of BSM under neutral and alkaline conditions can assemble into sheet-like nanoparticles ranging from 20 to 200 nm in size. The BSM nanoparticles were encapsulated by liposomes to improve their water solubility and the encapsulated and bare BSM nanoparticles were both non-toxic to cells. Furthermore, the liposome-encapsulated BSM nanoparticles (liposome-BSM) did not exhibit any long-term toxicity in mice. The liposome-BSM nanoparticles were subsequently used to passively target healthy and tumor-bearing mice SLNs, which were identified by the black color of the nanoparticles. BSM also strongly absorbed light in the near-infrared (NIR) range, which was rapidly converted to heat energy. Human esophagus carcinoma cells (Eca-109) were killed efficiently by liposome-BSM nanocomposites upon NIR laser irradiation. Furthermore, mouse tumor tissues grown from Eca-109 cells were seriously damaged by the photothermal effects of the liposome-BSM nanocomposites, with significant tumor growth suppression compared with controls. Given that BSM is a safe and nutritious biomaterial that can be easily obtained from black sesame seed, the results presented herein represent an important development in the use of natural biomaterials for clinical SLN mapping and cancer therapy.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 91, June 2016, Pages 182–199