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

1 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


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


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