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Nanomedicine (Lond). 2014;9(12):1775-88. doi: 10.2217/nnm.13.125. Epub 2013 Nov 6.

Sensitizing cancer cells to TRAIL-induced death by micellar delivery of mitoxantrone.

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Harrington Biomedical Engineering, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA.


TNF╬▒-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces death selectively in cancer cells. However, subpopulations of cancer cells are either resistant to or can develop resistance to TRAIL-induced death. As a result, strategies that overcome this resistance are currently under investigation. We have recently identified several US FDA-approved drugs with TRAIL-sensitization activity against prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer cells. Mitoxantrone, a previously unknown TRAIL sensitizer identified in the screen, was successfully encapsulated in methoxy-, amine- and carboxyl-terminated PEG-DSPE micelles in order to facilitate delivery of the drug to cancer cells. All three micelle types were extensively characterized for their physicochemical properties and evaluated for their ability to sensitize cancer cells to TRAIL-induced death. Our results indicate that micelle-encapsulated mitoxantrone can be advantageously employed in synergistic treatments with TRAIL, leading to a biocompatible delivery system and amplified cell killing activity for combination chemotherapeutic cancer treatments.


PEG-DSPE micelles; TRAIL; combination treatment; mitoxantrone

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