Clicking Together Tumor-Targeting Nanoparticles
One of the most promising aspects of developing nanoparticles as therapeutic agents is the ability to attach tumor-targeting molecules to their surfaces. The task of linking targeting agents to nanoparticles just got easier thanks to work from the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer.
Reporting its findings in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry, a multi-institutional team of Alliance investigators headed by Sangeeta Bhatia, Ph.D., MIT; Michael Sailor, Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, and Erkki Ruoslahti, M.D., Ph.D., Burnham Institute for Medical Research, describe their use of what is known as click chemistry to attach relatively fragile peptide targeting agents to the surface of inorganic nanoparticles. Because click chemistry takes place under mild conditions, the targeting peptides are not harmed during the chemical reaction. In addition, click chemistry is widely adaptable, enabling the researchers to fine-tune the reaction conditions to ensure that the resulting nanoparticles have the optimal tumor-targeting properties.
In fact, the investigators found that their click chemistry nanoparticles were effective at targeting tumor cells growing in culture and in finding tumors growing in mice. Based on these results, Dr. Bhatia and her colleagues speculate that they will be able to use click chemistry to attach a wide variety of molecules designed to target specific types of tumor cells in vivo.
This work, which is detailed in the paper “In Vivo Tumor Cell Targeting With Click Nanoparticles,” was supported by the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer. An abstract of this paper is available through PubMed.