Methylene blue-conjugated polyacrylamide nanoparticles are prepared through a microemulsion polymerization, after conjugation of the dye with a monomer. The nanoparticles have a 50-60 nm diameter in solution. This conjugation method enables a large increase in loading of methylene blue per nanoparticle and also minimizes dye leaching out of the nanoparticle. Furthermore, the dye content can be controlled by variation of the dye amount, enabling a more refined control of the singlet oxygen production ability. The nanoparticles are coated with F3 peptides, which give specific targeting to selected tumor cells, 9L, MDA-MB-435, and F98, in vitro. In addition, MTT assays reveal that the nanoparticles have no dark toxicity but excellent PDT efficacy increasing with the nanoparticle dose and irradiation time.
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