Drug-induced amplification of nanoparticle targeting to tumors

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nano Today, Volume 9, p.550 - 559 (2014)




Magnetic nanoworms


Nanomedicines have the potential to significantly impact cancer therapy by improving drug efficacy and decreasing off-target effects, yet our ability to efficiently home nanoparticles to disease sites remains limited. One frequently overlooked constraint of current active targeting schemes is the relative dearth of targetable antigens within tumors, which restricts the amount of cargo that can be delivered in a tumor-specific manner. To address this limitation, we exploit tumor-specific responses to drugs to construct a cooperative targeting system where a small molecule therapeutic modulates the disease microenvironment to amplify nanoparticle recruitment in vivo. We first administer a vascular disrupting agent, ombrabulin, which selectively affects tumors and leads to locally elevated presentation of the stress-related protein, p32. This increase in p32 levels provides more binding sites for circulating p32-targeted nanoparticles, enhancing their delivery of diagnostic or therapeutic cargos to tumors. We show that this cooperative targeting system recruits over five times higher doses of nanoparticles to tumors and decreases tumor burden when compared with non-cooperative controls. These results suggest that using nanomedicine in conjunction with drugs that enhance the presentation of target antigens in the tumor environment may be an effective strategy for improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.