Boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT) is a radiotherapy treatment based on the accumulation in the tumor of a 10B-containing drug and subsequent irradiation with low energy neutrons, which bring about the decay of 10B to 7Li and an particle, causing the death of the neoplastic cell. The effectiveness of BNCT is limited by the low delivery and accumulation of the used boron-containing compounds. Here we report the development and the characterization of BPO4 nanoparticles (NPs) as a novel possible alternative drug for BNCT. An extensive analysis of BPO4 NP biocompatibility was performed using both mature blood cells (erythrocytes, neutrophils and platelets) and a model of hematopoietic progenitor cells. A time- and concentration-dependent cytotoxicity study was performed on neoplastic coloncarcinoma and osteosarcoma cell lines. BPO4 functionalization with folic acid, introduced to improve the uptake by tumor cells, appeared to effectively limit the unwanted effects of NPs on the analyzed blood components.
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