Sei Kwang Hahn,1,* Ho Sang Jung,1 Won Ho Kong,1 Ki Su Kim,2 Seok Hyun Yun 2
1 Department of Material Science and Engineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), Korea
2 Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School and
Massachusetts General Hospital, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
Melanoma skin cancer is one of the most dangerous skin cancers and the main cause of skin-cancer-related mortality. Hyaluronic acid (HA) has been used as an effective transdermal delivery carrier of chemical drugs and biopharmaceuticals. In this work, nanographene oxide - HA conjugate (NGO-HA) was synthesized for photothermal ablation therapy of melanoma skin cancer using a near-infrared (NIR) laser. Confocal microscopy and ex vivo bioimaging clearly visualized the remarkable transdermal delivery of NGO-HA to tumor tissues in the skin of mice, which might be ascribed to highly expressed HA receptors and relatively leaky structures around tumor tissues, enabling the enhanced permeation and retention of nanoparticles. The NIR irradiation resulted in complete ablation of tumor tissues with no recurrence of tumorigenesis. The antitumor therapeutic effect was confirmed by ELISA for caspase-3 activity and histological and immunohistochemical analyses with TUNEL assay for the tumor apoptosis.