Urease-powered nanobots for radionuclide bladder cancer therapy

Cristina Simó Costa , Meritxell Serra-Casablancas, A. C. L. Hortelão, Valerio Di Carlo, Sandra Guallar Garrido, Sandra Plaza-García, Rosa Maria Rabanal, Pedro Ramos-Cabrer, Balbino Yagüe, Laura Aguado, Lídia Bardia, Sébastien Tosi, Vanessa Gómez Vallejo, Abraham Martín, Tania Patino, Esther Julián, Julien Colombelli, Jordi Llop, Samuel Sánchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Bladder cancer treatment via intravesical drug administration achieves reasonable survival rates but suffers from low therapeutic efficacy. To address the latter, self-propelled nanoparticles or nanobots have been proposed, taking advantage of their enhanced diffusion and mixing capabilities in urine when compared with conventional drugs or passive nanoparticles. However, the translational capabilities of nanobots in treating bladder cancer are underexplored. Here, we tested radiolabelled mesoporous silica-based urease-powered nanobots in an orthotopic mouse model of bladder cancer. In vivo and ex vivo results demonstrated enhanced nanobot accumulation at the tumour site, with an eightfold increase revealed by positron emission tomography in vivo. Label-free optical contrast based on polarization-dependent scattered light-sheet microscopy of cleared bladders confirmed tumour penetration by nanobots ex vivo. Treating tumour-bearing mice with intravesically administered radio-iodinated nanobots for radionuclide therapy resulted in a tumour size reduction of about 90%, positioning nanobots as efficient delivery nanosystems for bladder cancer therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-564
Number of pages19
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number4
Early online date15 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Cell
  • Drug-delivery
  • Nanomotors
  • Tissue
  • Tumor penetration
  • Animals
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging
  • Mice
  • Urease
  • Administration, Intravesical
  • Radioisotopes/therapeutic use


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