Curcumin is a promising anti-cancer drug, but its applications in cancer therapy are limited, due to its poor solubility, short half-life and low bioavailability. In this study, curcumin loaded magnetic alginate/chitosan nanoparticles were fabricated to improve the bioavailability, uptake efficiency and cytotoxicity of curcumin to Human Caucasian Breast Adenocarcinoma cells (MDA-MB-231). Alginate and chitosan were deposited on Fe3
magnetic nanoparticles based on their electrostatic properties. The nanoparticle size ranged from 120–200 nm, within the optimum range for drug delivery. Controllable and sustained release of curcumin was obtained by altering the number of chitosan and alginate layers on the nanoparticles. Confocal fluorescence microscopy results showed that targeted delivery of curcumin with the aid of a magnetic field was achieved. The fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) assay indicated that MDA-MB-231 cells treated with curcumin loaded nanoparticles had a 3–6 fold uptake efficiency to those treated with free curcumin. The 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-Diphenyltetrazolium Bromide (MTT) assay indicated that the curcumin loaded nanoparticles exhibited significantly higher cytotoxicity towards MDA-MB-231 cells than HDF cells. The sustained release profiles, enhanced uptake efficiency and cytotoxicity to cancer cells, as well as directed targeting make MACPs promising candidates for cancer therapy.
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