NIH Research Festival
Delivery of cancer therapeutics to non-specific sites decreases treatment efficacy while increasing toxicity. In ovarian cancer, overexpression of the cell surface marker HER2, which several therapeutics target, relates to poor prognosis. We recently reported the assembly of biocompatible bacterial spore-like particles, termed ‚ÄúSSHELs.‚Äù Here, we modify SSHELs with an affibody directed against HER2 and load them with the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin. Drug-loaded SSHELs reduce tumor growth and increase survival with lower toxicity in a mouse tumor xenograft model compared with free drug and with liposomal doxorubicin by preferentially accumulating in the tumor mass. Target cells actively internalize and then traffic bound SSHELs to acidic compartments, whereupon the cargo is released to the cytosol in a pH-dependent manner. We propose that SSHELs represent a versatile strategy for targeted drug delivery, especially in cancer settings.
Scientific Focus Area: Cancer Biology
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