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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 587451, 10 pages
Research Article

A pH-Sensitive, Biobased Calcium Carbonate Aragonite Nanocrystal as a Novel Anticancer Delivery System

1Laboratory of Molecular Biomedicine, Institute of Bioscience, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Malaysia
2Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Malaysia

Received 12 July 2013; Revised 13 September 2013; Accepted 3 October 2013

Academic Editor: Sanyog Jain

Copyright © 2013 Abdullahi Shafiu Kamba et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The synthesised biobased calcium carbonate nanocrystals had demonstrated to be an effective carrier for delivery of anticancer drug doxorubicin (DOX). The use of these nanocrystals displayed high levels of selectivity and specificity in achieving effective cancer cell death without nonspecific toxicity. These results confirmed that DOX was intercalated into calcium carbonate nanocrystals at high loading and encapsulation efficiency (4.8 and 96%, resp.). The CaCO3/DOX nanocrystals are relatively stable at neutral pH (7.4), resulting in slow release, but the nanocrystals progressively dissociated in acidic pH (4.8) regimes, triggering faster release of DOX. The CaCO3/DOX nanocrystals exhibited high uptake by MDA MB231 breast cancer cells and a promising potential delivery of DOX to target cells. In vitro chemosensitivity using MTT, modified neutral red/trypan blue assay, and LDH on MDA MB231 breast cancer cells revealed that CaCO3/DOX nanocrystals are more sensitive and gave a greater reduction in cell growth than free DOX. Our findings suggest that CaCO3 nanocrystals hold tremendous promise in the areas of controlled drug delivery and targeted cancer therapy.