In this study, the synthesis of smart, polymerically embedded titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles aimed to exhibit photo-induced anticancer properties under visible light irradiation is investigated. The TiO2 nanoparticles were prepared by utilizing the sol gel method with different dopants, including nitrogen (N-doped), iron (Fe-doped), and nitrogen and iron (Fe,N-doped). The dopants were embedded in an interpenetrating (IP) network microgel synthesized by stimuli responsive poly (N-Isopropylacrylamide-co-polyacrylicacid)-pNipam-co-PAA forming composite particles. All the types of produced particles were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction, micro-Raman, Fourier-transform infrared, X-ray photoelectron, ultra-violet-visible spectroscopy, Field Emission Scanning Electron, Transmission Electron microscopy, and Dynamic Light Scattering techniques. The experimental findings indicate that the doped TiO2 nanoparticles were successfully embedded in the microgel. The N-doped TiO2 nano-powders and composite particles exhibit the best photocatalytic degradation of the pollutant methylene blue under visible light irradiation. Similarly, the highly malignant MDA-MB-231 breast cancer epithelial cells were susceptible to the inhibition of cell proliferation at visible light, especially in the presence of N-doped powders and composites, compared to the non-metastatic MCF-7 cells, which were not affected.
Keywords: Fe,N-doped TiO2; Fe-doped TiO2; IP microgel; N-doped TiO2; anticancer; drug delivery; pNiPam; photocatalysis; sol gel; visible light.