Tunicate-Inspired Photoactivatable Proteinic Nanobombs for Tumor-Adhesive Multimodal Therapy

Yeonsu Jeong, Yun Kee Jo, Mou Seung Kim, Kye Il Joo, Hyung Joon Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Near-IR (NIR) light-responsive multimodal nanotherapeutics have been proposed to achieve improved therapeutic efficacy and high specificity in cancer therapy. However, their clinical application is still elusive due to poor biometabolization and short retention at the target site. Here, innovative photoactivatable vanadium-doped adhesive proteinic nanoparticles (NPs) capable of allowing biological photoabsorption and NIR-responsive anticancer therapeutic effects to realize trimodal photothermal-gas-chemo-therapy treatments in a highly biocompatible, site-specific manner are proposed. The photoactivatable tumor-adhesive proteinic NPs can enable efficient photothermal conversion via tunicate-inspired catechol–vanadium complexes as well as prolonged tumor retention by virtue of mussel protein-driven distinctive adhesiveness. The incorporation of a thermo-sensitive nitric oxide donor and doxorubicin into the photoactivatable adhesive proteinic NPs leads to synergistic anticancer therapeutic effects as a result of photothermal-triggered “bomb-like” multimodal actions. Thus, this protein-based phototherapeutic tumor-adhesive NPs have great potential as a spatiotemporally controllable therapeutic system to accomplish effective therapeutic implications for the complete ablation of cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2101212
JournalAdvanced Healthcare Materials
Issue number23
StatePublished - 8 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Y.J. and Y.K.J. contributed equally to this work. The authors acknowledge the financial support by the National Research Foundation grant (NRF‐2018R1A2B3003758 to H.J.C., NRF‐2021R1C1C1008560 to Y.K.J.) funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, Korea, the Marine BioMaterials Research Center grant (to H.J.C.) funded by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Korea, and the National Research Foundation grant (NRF‐2019R1A6A3A13096878 to Y.J.) funded by the Ministry of Education, Korea.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley-VCH GmbH


  • NIR-responsive nanotherapeutics
  • bioinorganic chemistry
  • multimodal anticancer therapy
  • protein-based photothermal agents
  • vanadium-doping effect


Dive into the research topics of 'Tunicate-Inspired Photoactivatable Proteinic Nanobombs for Tumor-Adhesive Multimodal Therapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this