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Posted: February 5, 2007
Heat and pH-sensitive nanoparticles designed to target tumors
(Nanowerk News) Using a novel polymer that becomes unstable under the pH conditions inside tumor cells, investigators at Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have developed a core-shell nanoparticle targeted to deliver drugs to tumors. Because of the design of the polymer, the nanoparticles assemble on their own when mixed with water-insoluble anticancer agents, including doxorubicin and paclitaxel.
To target tumor cells, the investigators developed a method for chemically attaching folic acid to the exterior shell of these nanoparticles. Folic acid binds to a receptor that is overexpressed on the surfaces of many types of tumor cells. Tests with folic acid-labeled nanoparticles containing either doxorubicin or paclitaxel showed that these nanoparticles are taken up rapidly by targeted tumor cells but not by healthy cells or tumor cells that do not bear the folic acid receptor. These targeting experiments also demonstrated that increased uptake of the drug-laden nanoparticles translated into increased potency for the delivered drugs.