Hollow silica nanospheres (HSN) with low densities, large interior spaces and permeable silica shells are suitable for loading enzymes in the cavity to carry out intracellular biocatalysis. The porous shell can protect the encapsulated enzymes against proteolysis and attenuate immunological response. We developed a microemulsion-templating method for confining horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in the cavity of HSN. This simple one-pot enzyme encapsulation method allows entrapping of the enzyme, which retains high catalytic activity. Compared with HRP supported on solid silica spheres, HRP@HSN with thin porous silica shells displayed better enzyme activity. The small HRP@HSN (∼50 nm in diameter), giving satisfactory catalytic activity, can act as an intracellular catalyst for the oxidation of the prodrug indole-3-Acetic acid to produce toxic free radicals for killing cancer cells. We envision this kind of hollow nanosystem could encapsulate multiple enzymes or other synergistic drugs and function as therapeutic nanoreactors.
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