John Garner

PLA from PolySciTech used in development of triple-negative breast cancer nanoparticle-based treatment

Blog Post created by John Garner on Aug 23, 2017

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Triple negative breast cancer is a specific type of cancer which does not have estrogen, progesterone, or HER2 receptors. This type of breast cancer is typically resistant to receptor-targeted treatments and tends to be more highly invasive than other kinds of breast cancer. One powerful form of treatment for this cancer requires sequential treatment with chemotherapeutics to maximize the effectiveness of the administered drugs. Recently, researchers at University of Cincinnati and The Cincinnati Veteran’s Hospital utilized PLA (PolyVivo AP128) from PolySciTech ( as part of their work in generating nanoparticles which provide for time-controlled release of Erlotinib and Doxorubicin to treat triple-negative breast cancer. These nanoparticles release the Erlotinib as an initial burst followed by sustained release of the Doxorubicin. This research holds promise to treat this highly invasive form of breast cancer. Read more: Zhou, Zilan, Carly Kennell, Mina Jafari, Joo-Youp Lee, Sasha J. Ruiz-Torres, Susan E. Waltz, and Jing-Huei Lee. "Sequential Delivery of Erlotinib and Doxorubicin for Enhanced Triple Negative Breast Cancer Treatment Using Polymeric Nanoparticle." International Journal of Pharmaceutics (2017). (


  “Abstract: Recent studies of signaling networks point out that an order of drugs to be administrated to the cancerous cells can be critical for optimal therapeutic outcomes of recalcitrant metastatic and drug-resistant cell types. In this study, a development of a polymeric nanoparticle system for sequential delivery is reported. The nanoparticle system can co-encapsulate and co-deliver a combination of therapeutic agents with different physicochemical properties [i.e. epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor, erlotinib (Ei), and doxorubicin (Dox)]. Dox is hydrophilic and was complexed with anionic lipid, 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphate (DOPA), via ion pairing to form a hydrophobic entity. Then it was co-encapsulated with hydrophobic Ei in a poly(L-lactide)-b-polyethylene glycol (PLA-b-PEG) nanoparticle by nanoprecipitation. The complexation of Dox with DOPA greatly helps the encapsulation of Dox, and substantially reduces the release rate of Dox. This nanoparticle system was found to burst the release of Ei with a slow and sustained profile of Dox, which is an optimal course of administration for these two drugs as previously reported. The efficacy of this sequential delivery nanoparticle system was validated in vitro and its in vivo potential applicability was substantiated by fluorescent imaging of high tumor accumulation. Keywords: Nanoparticle, Combination therapy, Sequential delivery, Triple negative breast cancer, EGFR,  inhibitor, Erlotinib, Doxorubicin”