John Garner

Mal-PEG-PLGA and mPEG-PLGA from PolySciTech used to develop phototherapy nanoparticles for triple-negative breast cancer treatment

Blog Post created by John Garner on Feb 15, 2018

Jadia, 2018 phototherapy triple-negative breast cancer.jpg

Cancer survival rates and prognosis depends on both location and type of cancer. For breast-cancer, one of the most devastating and difficult to treat forms is what is referred to as triple-negative breast cancer. This breast cancer lacks typical markers and factors, such as HER, which normal breast cancers possess. Since these markers are usually targeted in traditional therapy, this makes treating this type of cancer very difficult. Additionally, these types of cancer tend to grow aggressively. Recently, researchers from University of Massachusetts Lowell used Polyvivo mPEG-PLGA (AK037) and PLGA-PEG-Mal (AI020) from PolySciTech ( to develop unique phototriggered nanoparticles to treat breast cancer which respond to near-infrared light to destroy the tumors. This holds promise for improved treatment options for this often lethal and difficult to treat disease. Read more: Jadia, Rahul, Janel Kydd, and Prakash Rai. "Remotely Phototriggered, Transferrin‐Targeted Polymeric Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Breast Cancer." Photochemistry and Photobiology.


  “Abstract: Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) has the worst prognosis amongst all sub-types of breast cancer. Currently no targeted treatment has been approved for TNBC. The goal of this study was to design a remotely triggered, targeted therapy for TNBC using polymeric nanoparticles and light. Active targeting of TNBC was achieved by conjugating the nanoparticles to a peptide (hTf) that binds to the transferrin receptor, which is overexpressed in TNBC. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) was explored for TNBC treatment by remotely triggering benzoporphyrin derivative monoacid (BPD), a photosensitizer, using near infrared light. In this study, we investigated the use of actively targeting polymeric nanoparticles for PDT against TNBC using in vitro imaging and cytotoxicity studies. Fluorescence imaging confirmed that the BPD loaded nanoparticles showed greater fluorescence in TNBC cells compared to free BPD, but more importantly actively targeted nanoparticles displayed stronger fluorescence compared to passively targeted nanoparticles. Moreover, fluorescence imaging following competition with empty targeted nanoparticles validated the specificity of the targeted nanoparticles for TNBC cells. The PDT killing results were in line with the fluorescence imaging results, where actively targeting nanoparticles exhibited the highest phototriggered cytotoxicity in TNBC cells, making them an attractive nanoplatform for TNBC treatment.”