On/off-switchable anti-neoplastic nanoarchitecture.
Throughout the world, there are increasing demands for alternate approaches to advanced cancer therapeutics. Numerous potentially chemotherapeutic compounds are developed every year for clinical trial and some of them are considered as potential drug candidates. Nanotechnology-based approaches have accelerated the discovery process, but the key challenge still remains to develop therapeutically viable and physiologically safe materials suitable for cancer therapy. Here, we report a high turnover, on/off-switchable functionally popping reactive oxygen species (ROS) generator using a smart mesoporous titanium dioxide popcorn (TiO2 Pops) nanoarchitecture. The resulting TiO2 Pops, unlike TiO2 nanoparticles (TiO2 NPs), are exceptionally biocompatible with normal cells. Under identical conditions, TiO2 Pops show very high photocatalytic activity compared to TiO2 NPs. Upon on/off-switchable photo activation, the TiO2 Pops can trigger the generation of high-turnover flash ROS and can deliver their potential anticancer effect by enhancing the intracellular ROS level until it crosses the threshold to open the 'death gate', thus reducing the survival of cancer cells by at least six times in comparison with TiO2 NPs without affecting the normal cells.