Thermosensitive yolk-shell nanoparticles were developed as remote-controlled targeting drug delivery platform for multimodal imaging and combined therapy of cancer. The nanoparticles were fabricated using magnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles as photothermal cores, thermo-responsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-co-1-Vinyl-2-pyrrolidone p(NIPAM-co-NVP) as shells (Fe3O4-PNIPAM), with a hollow space between the two layers for loading of chemotherapeutic drug. The magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle cores could absorb and transform light to heat efficiently upon the irradiation of near infrared (NIR) laser, resulting in the shrink of the PNIPAM shell and the release of chemo-drugs. In vivo fluorescence/photoacoustic images demonstrated that Fe3O4-PNIPAM nanoparticles could accumulate in the tumor after intravenous injection. Upon the irradiation of the NIR laser, DOX-Fe3O4-PNIPAM nanoparticles exhibited outstanding synergistic effect. The tumor inhibition rate increased from 40.3% (DOX-Fe3O4-PNIPAM alone) and 65.2% (Fe3O4-PNIPAM +NIR) to 91.5%. The results demonstrated that the NIR-responsive nanocarrier offers a novel strategy for cancer theranostics and combined therapy of cancer.

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