Phosphorus and Nitrogen Dual-Doped Hollow Carbon Dot as a Nanocarrier for Doxorubicin Delivery and Biological Imaging

Innovative phosphorus and nitrogen dual-doped hollow carbon dots (PNHCDs) have been fabricated for anticancer drug delivery and biological imaging. The functional groups of PNHCDs are introduced by simply mixing glucose, 1,2-ethylenediamine, and concentrated phosphoric acid. This is an automatic method without external heat treatment to rapidly produce large quantities of PNHCDs, which avoid high temperature, complicated operations, and long reaction times. The as-prepared PNHCDs possess small particle size, hollow structure, and abundant phosphate/hydroxyl/pyridinic/pyrrolic-like N groups, endowing PNHCDs with fluorescent properties, improving the accuracy of PNHCDs as an optical monitoring code both in vitro and in vivo. The investigation of PNHCDs as an anticancer drug nanocarrier for doxorubicin (DOX) indicates a better antitumor efficacy than free DOX owing to its enhanced nuclear delivery in vitro and tumor accumulation in vivo, which results in highly effective tumor growth inhibition and improved targeted therapy for cancer in clinical medicine.