• cancer therapy;
  • drug delivery;
  • enzymes;
  • mesoporous materials;
  • nanoparticles


In this paper, we present a facile strategy to synthesize hyaluronic acid (HA) conjugated mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSP) for targeted enzyme responsive drug delivery, in which the anchored HA polysaccharides not only act as capping agents but also as targeting ligands without the need of additional modification. The nanoconjugates possess many attractive features including chemical simplicity, high colloidal stability, good biocompatibility, cell-targeting ability, and precise cargo release, making them promising agents for biomedical applications. As a proof-of-concept demonstration, the nanoconjugates are shown to release cargoes from the interior pores of MSPs upon HA degradation in response to hyaluronidase-1 (Hyal-1). Moreover, after receptor-mediated endocytosis into cancer cells, the anchored HA was degraded into small fragments, facilitating the release of drugs to kill the cancer cells. Overall, we envision that this system might open the door to a new generation of carrier system for site-selective, controlled-release delivery of anticancer drugs.