Theranostics 2018; 8(6):1591-1606. doi:10.7150/thno.22430

Research Paper

Bioinspired Multifunctional Melanin-Based Nanoliposome for Photoacoustic/Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Efficient Photothermal Ablation of Cancer

Liang Zhang1*, Danli Sheng2*, Dong Wang1✉, Yuanzhi Yao3, Ke Yang1, Zhigang Wang2, Liming Deng2, Yu Chen4✉

1. Department of Ultrasound, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing 400016, P. R. China;
2. Institute of Ultrasound Imaging, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Chongqing, 400010, P. R. China;
3. Department of Ultrasound, Chongqing Cancer Hospital, Chongqing Cancer Institute, Chongqing Cancer Center, Chongqing 400030, P. R. China;
4. State Key Laboratory of High Performance Ceramics and Superfine Microstructures, Shanghai Institute of Ceramics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, 200050, P. R. China.
* These two authors contributed equally to this work.


Background: The construction of theranostic nanosystems with concurrently high biosafety and therapeutic performance is a challenge but has great significance for the clinical translation of nanomedicine for combating cancer.

Methods: Bio-inspired melanin-based nanoliposomes (Lip-Mel) as theranostic agents were constructed for simultaneous photoacoustic (PA) imaging- and T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging-guided photothermal ablation of tumors, which was demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo. The high biosafety of Lip-Mel was also systematically evaluated.

Results: The achieved Lip-Mel nanoliposomes demonstrated their imaging capability for both PA and T1-weighted MR imaging (r1 = 0.25 mM-1·s-1) both in vitro and in vivo, providing the potential for therapeutic guidance and monitoring. Importantly, the desirable photothermal-conversion efficiency of the as-prepared Lip-Mel achieved complete eradication of tumors in breast cancer-bearing mice, exhibiting remarkable photothermal-based therapeutic performance. In particular, the efficient encapsulation of melanin into the PEGylated liposome mitigated the potential toxicity of melanin and improved the photothermal performance of the loaded melanin. Systematic in vivo biosafety evaluations demonstrated the high biocompatibility of Lip-Mel at a high dose of 100 mg/kg.

Conclusion: In this work, we reported a bioinspired strategy where melanin, a natural product in the human body, is encapsulated into PEGylated nanoliposomes for efficient theranostics with high biocompatibility. This work provides a new strategy for creating desirable theranostic agents with concurrent high biocompatibility and satisfactory theranostic performance through the use of materials that totally originate from biosystems.

Keywords: Melanin, Liposome, Photoacoustic imaging, MRI, Photothermal ablation, Nanomedicine

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How to cite this article:
Zhang L, Sheng D, Wang D, Yao Y, Yang K, Wang Z, Deng L, Chen Y. Bioinspired Multifunctional Melanin-Based Nanoliposome for Photoacoustic/Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Efficient Photothermal Ablation of Cancer. Theranostics 2018; 8(6):1591-1606. doi:10.7150/thno.22430. Available from