Combinatorial drug delivery is an attractive, but challenging requirement of next generation cancer nanomedicines. Here, we report a transferrin-targeted core-shell nanomedicine formed by encapsulating two clinically used single-agent drugs, doxorubicin and sorafenib against liver cancer. Doxorubicin was loaded in poly(vinyl alcohol) nano-core and sorafenib in albumin nano-shell, both formed by a sequential freeze-thaw/coacervation method. While sorafenib from the nano-shell inhibited aberrant oncogenic signaling involved in cell proliferation, doxorubicin from the nano-core evoked DNA intercalation thereby killing >. 75% of cancer cells. Upon targeting using transferrin ligands, the nanoparticles showed enhanced cellular uptake and synergistic cytotoxicity in . 92% of cells, particularly in iron-deficient microenvironment. Studies using 3D spheroids of liver tumor indicated efficient penetration of targeted core-shell nanoparticles throughout the tissue causing uniform cell killing. Thus, we show that rationally designed core-shell nanoparticles can effectively combine clinically relevant single-agent drugs for exerting synergistic activity against liver cancer. From the Clinical Editor: Transferrin-targeted core-shell nanomedicine encapsulating doxorubicin and sorafenib was studied as a drug delivery system against hepatocellular carcinoma, resulting in enhanced and synergistic therapeutic effects, paving the way towards potential future clinical applications of similar techniques. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
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, “Transferrin targeted core-shell nanomedicine for combinatorial delivery of doxorubicin and sorafenib against hepatocellular carcinoma”, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, vol. 10, pp. 1649-1659, 2014.