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Bioorg Med Chem. 2011 Feb 1;19(3):1123-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2010.06.036. Epub 2010 Jun 18.

Development of a liposomal delivery system for temperature-triggered release of a tumor targeting agent, Ln(III)-DOTA-phenylboronate.

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Biocatalysis and Organic Chemistry, Department of Biotechnology, Delft University of Technology, Julianalaan 136, 2628 BL Delft, The Netherlands.


Liposomes, capable of temperature-triggered content release at the site of interest, can be of great importance for imaging and therapy of tumors. The delivery of imaging agents or therapeutics can be improved by application of liposomes with a gel-to-liquid phase-transition temperature suitable for mild hyperthermia (41-43°C), and by prolonging their circulation time by incorporation of lipids containing polyethyleneglycol moieties. Still, the rapid wash out of the delivered material from the tumor tissue is a major obstacle for both imaging and therapy. In this study, we developed an optimized temperature sensitive liposomal system to be used with mild hyperthermia: highly stable at physiological temperature and with a sharp transition of the bilayer at 41.5°C, with subsequent rapid release of entrapped compounds such as calcein or tumor cell-targeting contrast agents. Intravital microscopy on calcein/rhodamine containing liposomes was applied to demonstrate the applicability of this system in vivo. The calcein loaded liposomes were injected iv into nude mice with a human BLM melanoma tumor implanted in a dorsal skin-fold window chamber. Arrival of the liposomes at the tumor site and content release after temperature increase were monitored. The results demonstrated not only accumulation of the liposomes at the tumor site, but also a massive release of calcein after increase of the temperature to 41°C. The versatility of the thermosensitive liposomes was further demonstrated by encapsulation of a tumor cell-targeting DOTA-phenylboronate conjugate and its release at elevated temperatures. The DOTA ligand in this system is able to chelate a variety of metals suitable for both diagnostic and therapeutic applications, whereas the phenylboronate function is able to target specifically to tumor cells through a covalent binding with sialic acid moieties over-expressed on their surface upon heat-triggered release from the liposomal carrier.

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