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A novel double-targeted nondrug delivery system for targeting cancer stem cells

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Instead of killing cancer stem cells (CSCs), the conventional chemotherapy used for cancer treatment promotes the enrichment of CSCs, which are responsible for tumor growth, metastasis, and recurrence. However, most therapeutic agents are only able to kill a small proportion of CSCs by targeting one or two cell surface markers or dysregulated CSC pathways, which are usually shared with normal stem cells (NSCs). In this study, we developed a novel nondrug delivery system for the dual targeting of CSCs by conjugating hyaluronic acid (HA) and grafting the doublecortin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1) monoclonal antibody to the surface of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)–poly(d,l-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) nanoparticles (NPs), which can specifically target CD44 receptors and the DCLK1 surface marker – the latter was shown to possess the capacity to distinguish between CSCSs and NSCs. The size and morphology of these NPs were characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). This was followed by studies of NP encapsulation efficiency and in vitro drug release properties. Then, the cytotoxicity of the NPs was tested via Cell Counting Kit-8 assay. Finally, the 4T1 CSCs were obtained from the alginate-based platform, which we developed as an in vitro tumor model. Tumor-bearing nude mice were used as in vivo models to systematically detect the ability of NPs to target CSCs. Our results showed that the DCLK1–HA–PEG–PLGA NPs exhibited a targeting effect toward CSCs both in vitro and in vivo. These findings have important implications for the rational design of drug delivery systems that target CSCs with high efficacy.




Qiao, S., Zhao, Y., Geng, S., Li, Y., Hou, X., Liu, Y., … Tian, W. (2016). A novel double-targeted nondrug delivery system for targeting cancer stem cells. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 11, 6667–6678.

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