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J Liposome Res. 2019 Jun 5:1-8. doi: 10.1080/08982104.2019.1614054. [Epub ahead of print]

Development of transferrin-bearing vesicles encapsulating aspirin for cancer therapy.

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a Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde , Glasgow , UK.
b College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences , University of Glasgow , Glasgow , UK.


Originally developed for the treatment of inflammatory disorders, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug aspirin was shown to have a preventive effect against cancer in the past decades. Most importantly, recent studies suggested that it might also provide a therapeutic benefit in the treatment of cancer in vitro. However, this drug failed to specifically reach tumors at a therapeutic concentration following intravenous administration, thus resulting in lack of efficacy on tumors. In this work, we demonstrated that aspirin could be formulated in transferrin-bearing vesicles and that this tumor-targeted formulation could lead to an increase in the anti-proliferative efficacy of the drug in three cancer cell lines in vitro. The in vitro therapeutic efficacy of aspirin was significantly improved when formulated in transferrin-bearing vesicles, by about 2-fold compared to that of drug solution. These results are promising and support the optimization of this delivery system to further improve its potential as a therapeutic tool in combination with other anti-cancer therapies.


Aspirin; cancer therapy; drug delivery; transferrin; tumor targeting

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