The contemporary use of nanomedicines for cancer treatment has been largely limited to serving as carriers for existing therapeutic agents. Here, we provide definitive evidence that, the metallofullerenol nanomaterial Gd@C82 (OH)22, while essentially not toxic to normal mammary epithelial cells, possesses intrinsic inhibitory activity against triple-negative breast cancer cells. Gd@C82 (OH)22 blocks epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition with resultant efficient elimination of breast cancer stem cells (CSCs) resulting in abrogation of tumour initiation and metastasis. In normoxic conditions, Gd@C82 (OH)22 mediates these effects by blocking TGF-β signalling. Moreover, under hypoxic conditions found in the tumour microenvironment, cellular uptake of Gd@C82 (OH)22 is facilitated where it functions as a bi-potent inhibitor of HIF-1 and TGF-β activities, enhancing CSC elimination. These studies indicate that nanomaterials can be engineered to directly target CSCs. Thus, Gd-metallofullerenol is identified as a kind of non-toxic CSC specific inhibitors with significant therapeutic potential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)