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J Control Release. 2006 Sep 12;114(3):277-87. Epub 2006 Jun 7.

A dual-ligand approach for enhancing targeting selectivity of therapeutic nanocarriers.

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Neurological Biomaterials and Therapeutics, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical, Engineering, 313 Ferst Drive, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, USA.


Conjugation of ligands to nano-scale drug carriers targeting over-expressed cell surface receptors is a promising approach for delivery of therapeutic agents to tumor cells. However, most commonly utilized ligands are directed at receptors expressed not only on target cells but also on other cells in the body, leading to unintended uptake in these off-target cells. In this study, a novel, dual-ligand approach is reported, which targets tumor cells while sparing off-target cells by exploiting the fact that tumor cells typically over-express multiple types of surface receptors. This approach was tested in the human KB cell line, which over-expresses both folate receptor (FR) and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Liposomal nanocarriers loaded with doxorubicin and bearing controlled numbers of both folic acid and a monoclonal antibody against the EGFR were designed. Cytotoxicity was used to determine targeting selectivity of the designed carriers in vitro by utilizing KB cells expressing both FR and EGFR and off-target control cells in which one or both receptors were blocked. The data demonstrates that nanocarriers can be designed to achieve toxicity only when all targeted receptors are available, providing an approach to improve selectivity over current single-ligand approaches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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