John Garner

PLLA-PEG-Mal and PLGA-Rhodamine from PolySciTech used in development of nanoparticle-stem-cell drug delivery system for treatment of cancer

Blog Post created by John Garner on Apr 12, 2019

Moku, 2019 MSC nanoparticles cancer polyscitech.jpg

Cancer is unlike other diseases in that it is not caused by an invasion from a foreign pathogen (such as bacterial or viral infection). The inherent difficulty with its treatment is that, since cancer is comprised of cells similar to that of the patient’s own cells, most therapies which are applied to kill the cancer also harm the patient. This lack of specificity is the main cause of side-effects from chemotherapy (hair-loss, naseua, weakness, etc.). One mechanism to deal with this is to design a delivery system which will ensure that the bulk of the cancer treatment goes to the site of the tumor. Recently, researchers at University of Minnesota and Breck School utilized PLGA-rhodamine (AV011) and PLLA-PEG-Mal (AI119 ) from PolySciTech ( to develop TAT functionalized nanoparticles for uptake into MSC’s to deliver to tumors. This research holds promise to provide for improved treatments of cancer. Read more: Moku, Gopikrishna, Buddhadev Layek, Lana Trautman, Samuel Putnam, Jayanth Panyam, and Swayam Prabha. "Improving Payload Capacity and Anti-Tumor Efficacy of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Using TAT Peptide Functionalized Polymeric Nanoparticles." Cancers 11, no. 4 (2019): 491.


“Abstract: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) accumulate specifically in both primary tumors and metastases following systemic administration. However, the poor payload capacity of MSCs limits their use in small molecule drug delivery. To improve drug payload in MSCs, we explored polymeric nanoparticles that were functionalized with transactivator of transcription (TAT) peptide. Paclitaxel loaded poly(DL-lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) nanoparticles (15–16% w/w paclitaxel; diameter of 225 ± 7 nm; and zeta potential of −15 ± 4 mV) were fabricated by emulsion-solvent evaporation method, followed by TAT-conjugation to the surface of nanoparticles via maleimide-thiol chemistry. Our studies demonstrated that TAT functionalization improved the intracellular accumulation and retention of nanoparticles in MSCs. Further, nano-engineering of MSCs did not alter the migration and differentiation potential of MSCs. Treatment with nano-engineered MSCs resulted in significant (p < 0.05) inhibition of tumor growth and improved survival (p < 0.0001) in a mouse orthotopic model of lung cancer compared to that with free or nanoparticle encapsulated drug. In summary, our results demonstrated that MSCs engineered using TAT functionalized nanoparticles serve as an efficient carrier for tumor specific delivery of anticancer drugs, resulting in greatly improved therapeutic efficacy. Keywords: mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs); TAT peptide; PLGA; paclitaxel; nano-engineered MSCs; orthotopic lung tumor model”


- Biotech, Pharma, Cancer, Research (BPCR) is a free, 1-day scientific networking conference hosted by Akina, Inc. on Aug 28, 2019. See more and register to attend at