Blood-triggered generation of platinum nanoparticle functions as an anti-cancer agent

Xin Zeng, Jie Sun, Suping Li, Jiyun Shi, Han Gao, Wei Sun Leong, Yiqi Wu, Minghui Li, Chengxin Liu, Ping Li, Jing Kong, Yi Zhou Wu, Guangjun Nie, Yuming Fu, Gen Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Since the discovery of metal nanoparticles (NPs) in the 1960s, unknown toxicity, cost and the ethical hurdles of research in humans have hindered the translation of these NPs to clinical use. In this work, we demonstrate that Pt NPs with protein coronas are generated in vivo in human blood when a patient is treated with cisplatin. These self-assembled Pt NPs form rapidly, accumulate in tumors, and remain in the body for an extended period of time. Additionally, the Pt NPs are safe for use in humans and can act as anti-cancer agents to inhibit chemotherapy-resistant tumor growth by consuming intracellular glutathione and activating apoptosis. The tumor inhibitory activity is greatly amplified when the Pt NPs are loaded in vitro with the chemotherapeutic drug, daunorubicin, and the formulation is effective even in daunorubicin-resistant models. These in vivo-generated metal NPs represent a biocompatible drug delivery platform for chemotherapy resistant tumor treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number567
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 28 2020


  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents/blood
  • Apoptosis/drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cisplatin/pharmacology
  • Daunorubicin/pharmacology
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Drug Tolerance
  • Female
  • Glutathione/metabolism
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells
  • Kidney Glomerulus/drug effects
  • Male
  • Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Nude
  • Particle Size
  • Platinum/blood
  • Protein Corona
  • Time Factors
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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