Intracellular drug delivery using laser activated carbon nanoparticles
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We demonstrate intracellular delivery of various molecules by inducing controlled and reversible cell damage through pulsed laser irradiation of carbon black (CB) nanoparticles. We then characterized and optimized the system for maximal uptake and minimal loss of viability. At our optimal condition 88% of cells exhibited uptake with almost no loss of viability. In other more intense cases it was shown that cell death could be prevented through addition of poloxamer. The underlying mechanism of action is also studied and our hypothesis is that the laser heats the CB leading to thermal expansion, vapor formation and/or chemical reaction leading to generation of acoustic waves and then there is energy transduction to the cell causing poration of the cell membrane. We also delivered anti-EGFR siRNA to ovarian cancer cells. Cells exposed to a laser at 18.75 mJ/cm2 for 7 minutes resulted in a 49% knockdown of EGFR compared to negative control. We established an alternative way to deliver siRNA to knockdown proteins, for the first time using laser CB interaction.