Bioorthogonal catalytic patch

Nat Nanotechnol. 2021 Aug;16(8):933-941. doi: 10.1038/s41565-021-00910-7. Epub 2021 May 10.


Bioorthogonal catalysis mediated by transition metals has inspired a new subfield of artificial chemistry complementary to enzymatic reactions, enabling the selective labelling of biomolecules or in situ synthesis of bioactive agents via non-natural processes. However, the effective deployment of bioorthogonal catalysis in vivo remains challenging, mired by the safety concerns of metal toxicity or complicated procedures to administer catalysts. Here, we describe a bioorthogonal catalytic device comprising a microneedle array patch integrated with Pd nanoparticles deposited on TiO2 nanosheets. This device is robust and removable, and can mediate the local conversion of caged substrates into their active states in high-level living systems. In particular, we show that such a patch can promote the activation of a prodrug at subcutaneous tumour sites, restoring its parent drug's therapeutic anticancer properties. This in situ applied device potentiates local treatment efficacy and eliminates off-target prodrug activation and dose-dependent side effects in healthy organs or distant tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / chemistry
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Catalysis
  • Drug Delivery Systems*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Melanoma, Experimental
  • Metal Nanoparticles* / chemistry
  • Metal Nanoparticles* / therapeutic use
  • Mice
  • Palladium* / chemistry
  • Palladium* / pharmacokinetics
  • Palladium* / pharmacology
  • Prodrugs* / chemistry
  • Prodrugs* / pharmacokinetics
  • Prodrugs* / pharmacology
  • Titanium* / chemistry
  • Titanium* / pharmacokinetics
  • Titanium* / pharmacology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Prodrugs
  • titanium dioxide
  • Palladium
  • Titanium