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Drug Deliv Transl Res. 2013 Dec 1;3(6). doi: 10.1007/s13346-013-0178-3.

Label-Free Raman Microspectral Analysis for Comparison of Cellular Uptake and Distribution between Non-Targeted and EGFR-Targeted Biodegradable Polymeric Nanoparticles.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Bouve College of Health Sciences.


Active targeted delivery of nanoparticle-encapsulated agents to tumor cells in vivo is expected to enhance therapeutic effect with significantly less non-specific toxicity. Active targeting is based on surface modification of nanoparticles with ligands that bind with extracellular targets and enhance payload delivery in the cells. In this study, we have used label-free Raman micro-spectral analysis and kinetic modeling to study cellular interactions and intracellular delivery of C6-ceramide using a non-targeted and an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) targeted biodegradable polymeric nano-delivery systems, in EGFR-expressing human ovarian adenocarcinoma (SKOV3) cells. The results show that EGFR peptide-modified nanoparticles were rapidly internalized in SKOV3 cells leading to significant intracellular accumulation as compared to non-specific uptake by the non-targeted nanoparticles. Raman micro-spectral analysis enables visualization and quantification of the carrier system, drug-load, and responses of the biological systems interrogated, without exogenous staining and labeling procedures.


Biodegradable polymeric nanoparticle; Raman micro-spectroscopy; epidermal growth factor receptor; targeted drug delivery

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