John Garner

Folate-PEG, PEG-PLLA polymers from PolySciTech used in development of targeted nanoparticle photodynamic therapy of cancer

Blog Post created by John Garner on Feb 21, 2019

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Cancer therapy suffers from drawbacks due to the non-specific nature of chemotherapy as well as the invasive nature of surgical and radiological means of treatment. Targeted therapies which primarily affect the cancerous tissue without damaging healthy tissue hold promise to reduce the side-effects of cancer treatment. Recently, researchers at Wroclaw University (Poland) used mPEG-PLLA (AK004) and Folate-PEG-COOH (AE003) from PolySciTech ( to create targeted nanoparticles for phototherapy. This research holds promise to improve treatment regiments for cancers. Read more: Lamch, Łukasz, Julita Kulbacka, Magda Dubińska-Magiera, Jolanta Saczko, and Kazimiera A. Wilk. "Folate-directed zinc (II) phthalocyanine loaded polymeric micelles engineered to generate reactive oxygen species for efficacious photodynamic therapy of cancers." Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy (2019).


“Highlights: Folate functionalized block copolymers were used for zinc (II) phthalocyanine encapsulation. ZnPc-loaded micelles of FA-PEG-b-PLLA (DH<150 nm) showed good chemical and physical stability. Smart polymeric micelles were efficiently internalized by Me45 and SKOV-3 cells. ZnPc-smart FA-nanomicelles enhanced photocytotoxicity in Me45 and SKOV-3 cells. PDT with ZnPc-smart FA-nanomicelles induced ROS generation and F-actin reorganization. Abstract: Targeted and effective drug transport is becoming an attractive option in cancer therapy since it can improve drug efficacy and reduce drugs’ side effects in normal tissues. In addition to using specific surface ligand molecules, the selective drug delivery can be accomplished via enhanced permeability and retention effect. Therefore, in our studies, we entrapped zinc (II) phthalocyanine (ZnPc) – a second generation photosensitizer – in folate-functionalized micelles of the biocompatible, FDA-approved for biomedical application diblock copolymer methoxypoly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(L-lactide) (mPEG-b-PLLA) and its derivative with folate (FA) attached to the end of PEG chain (FA-PEG-b-PLLA). Dynamic light scattering (DLS) measurements confirmed the micellar size to be <150 nm in diameter, a low polydispersity index, and good colloid stability of the studied nanocarriers, while atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to study their morphology. The application potential of the resulting micelles was evaluated in cyto- and photocytotoxicity studies in conjunction with intracellular distribution and accumulation imaging of the photosensitizer delivered to ovarian carcinoma (SKOV-3) and metastatic melanoma (Me45) cell lines. Reactive oxygen species generation study was performed after photodynamic reaction, and cellular cytoskeleton reorganization was visualized after undergoing a photodynamic reaction. The results demonstrated that the functionalized polymeric micelles are promising nanocarriers for photodynamic therapy procedures and can be used in anticancer drug delivery. Keywords: Nanomedicine Functionalized polymeric micelles Biocompatible block copolymers Photodynamic reaction Reactive oxygen species Cytoskeletal analysis Metastatic melanoma Resistant ovarian carcinoma”


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