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Journal of Nanotechnology
Volume 2013, Article ID 768724, 8 pages
Research Article

Amino-Functionalized Silica Nanoparticles: In Vitro Evaluation for Targeted Delivery and Therapy of Pancreatic Cancer

Pharmaceutical Research Institute at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, 1 Discovery Drive, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA

Received 14 August 2012; Accepted 5 December 2012

Academic Editor: Thomas Thundat

Copyright © 2013 Abbey Y. Kardys 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.


We report a method of synthesis and optimization of amino-functionalized silica nanoparticles (SiNPs) and their in vitro evaluation as targeted delivery vehicles for the potential treatment of pancreatic cancer. SiNPs can efficiently encapsulate doxorubicin and can be attached to a targeting moiety such as anti-Claudin-4 (CLN4). The preferential uptake in pancreatic cancer cells, where CLN4 is overexpressed, of SiNPs when conjugated to CLN4 antibody (compared to nonconjugated SiNPs) was confirmed by confocal microscopy. SiNPs encapsulating doxorubicin had greater efficacy in MTT assays than free doxorubicin, and when conjugated to CLN4, the efficacy was dramatically increased (at 1 μM). No apparent carrier toxicity was observed when void SiNPs were used. SiNPs carrying a chemotherapeutic drug have the potential to be used as a targeted therapy for lethal cancers, such as pancreatic cancer. Also, incorporation of fluorescent probes in these SiNPs creates the possibility of their use as an imaging probe for diagnostic purposes.