Soft Discoidal Polymeric Nanoconstructs Resist Macrophage Uptake and Enhance Vascular Targeting in Tumors

Jaehong Key, Anna Lisa Palange, Francesco Gentile, Santosh Aryal, Cinzia Stigliano, Daniele Di Mascolo, Enrica De Rosa, Minjung Cho, Yeonju Lee, Jaykrishna Singh, Paolo Decuzzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


Most nanoparticles for biomedical applications originate from the self-assembling of individual constituents through molecular interactions and possess limited geometry control and stability. Here, 1000 × 400 nm discoidal polymeric nanoconstructs (DPNs) are demonstrated by mixing hydrophobic and hydrophilic polymers with lipid chains and curing the resulting paste directly within silicon templates. By changing the paste composition, soft- and rigid-DPNs (s- and r-DPNs) are synthesized exhibiting the same geometry, a moderately negative surface electrostatic charge (-14 mV), and different mechanical stiffness (∼1.3 and 15 kPa, respectively). Upon injection in mice bearing nonorthotopic brain or skin cancers, s-DPNs exhibit ∼24 h circulation half-life and accumulate up to ∼20% of the injected dose per gram tumor, detecting malignant masses as small as ∼0.1% the animal weight via PET imaging. This unprecedented behavior is ascribed to the unique combination of geometry, surface properties, and mechanical stiffness which minimizes s-DPN sequestration by the mononuclear phagocyte system. Our results could boost the interest in using less conventional delivery systems for cancer theranosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11628-11641
Number of pages14
JournalACS Nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 21 2015


  • iron oxide nanocubes
  • macrophage uptake
  • nanoparticle shape
  • nanoparticle stiffness
  • tumor imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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