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Biomaterials. 2010 May;31(15):4409-16. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.01.064. Epub 2010 Feb 26.

The pH-dependent association with cancer cells of tunable functionalized lipid vesicles with encapsulated doxorubicin for high cell-kill selectivity.

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Chemical and Biological Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, 6 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA.


To enable selective cell-kill, we designed functionalized lipid vesicles with pH-triggered heterogeneous membranes and encapsulated doxorubicin that exhibit tunable surface topography. These vesicles "hide" (mask) the targeting ligands from their surface during circulation in the blood, and only progressively "expose" these ligands as they gradually penetrate deeper into the tumor interstitium, where after endocytosis they burst release their contents. The stimulus to activate the binding reactivity is the pH gradient between the blood stream (pH 7.4-7.0) and the increasingly acidic pH inside the tumor interstitium (pH 6.7-6.5). Doxorubicin release is activated at the endosomal pH 5.5-5.0. We show that tunable functionalized vesicles exhibit environmentally-dependent (pH-dependent) association with cancer cells resulting in high cell-kill selectivity. When lowering the extracellular pH from 7.4 to 6.5, tunable functionalized vesicles deliver doxorubicin to cancer cells that increases from 41% to 93% of maximum resulting in cancer cell killing that increases from 23 to 71% of maximum, respectively. This proof-of-concept shows the potential of tunable targeted liposomal chemotherapy to selectively kill cancer cells in an environmentally-dependent way.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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