Inherently Fluorescent Peanut-Shaped Polymersomes for Active Cargo Transportation
Nanomotors have been extensively explored for various applications in nanomedicine, especially in cargo transportation. Motile properties enable them to deliver pharmaceutical ingredients more efficiently to the targeted site. However, it still remains a challenge to design motor systems that are therapeutically active and can also be effectively traced when taken up by cells. Here, we designed a nanomotor with integrated fluorescence and therapeutic potential based on biodegradable polymersomes equipped with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) agents. The AIE segments provided the polymersomes with autofluorescence, facilitating the visualization of cell uptake. Furthermore, the membrane structure enabled the reshaping of the AIE polymersomes into asymmetric, peanut-shaped polymersomes. Upon laser irradiation, these peanut polymersomes not only displayed fluorescence, but also produced reactive oxygen species (ROS). Because of their specific shape, the ROS gradient induced motility in these particles. As ROS is also used for cancer cell treatment, the peanut polymersomes not only acted as delivery vehicles but also as therapeutic agents. As an integrated platform, these peanut polymersomes therefore represent an interesting delivery system with biomedical potential.