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Bioconjug Chem. 1999 Sep-Oct;10(5):755-63.

Synthesis and selective cytotoxicity of a hyaluronic acid-antitumor bioconjugate.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, The University of Utah, 30 South 2000 East, Room 201, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-5820, USA.


A cell-targeted prodrug was developed for the anti-cancer drug Taxol, using hyaluronic acid (HA) as the drug carrier. HA-Taxol bioconjugates were synthesized by linking the Taxol 2'-OH via a succinate ester to adipic dihydrazide-modified HA (HA-ADH). The coupling of Taxol-NHS ester and HA-ADH provided several HA bioconjugates with different levels of ADH modification and different Taxol loadings. A fluorescent BODIPY-HA was also synthesized to illustrate cell targeting and uptake of chemically modified HA using confocal microscopy. HA-Taxol conjugates showed selective toxicity toward the human cancer cell lines (breast, colon, and ovarian) that are known to overexpress HA receptors, while no toxicity was observed toward a mouse fibroblast cell line at the same concentrations used with the cancer cells. The drug carrier HA-ADH was completely nontoxic. The selective cytotoxicity is consistent with the results from confocal microscopy, which demonstrated that BODIPY-HA only entered the cancer cell lines.

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