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Targeting Heterogeneous Tumors Using a Multifunctional Molecular Prodrug

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journal contribution
posted on 24.09.2019, 18:33 by Amit Sharma, Min-Goo Lee, Miae Won, Seyoung Koo, Jonathan F. Arambula, Jonathan L. Sessler, Sung-Gil Chi, Jong Seung Kim
Reported here is a molecular construct (K1) designed to overcome hurdles associated with delivering active drugs to heterogeneous tumor environments. Construct K1 relies on two cancer environment triggers (GSH and H2O2) to induce prodrug activation. It releases an active drug form (SN-38) under conditions of both oxidative and reductive stress in vitro. Specific uptake of K1 in COX-2 positive aggressive colon cancer cells (SW620 and LoVo) was seen, along with enhanced anticancer activity compared with the control agent SN-38. These findings are attributed to environmentally triggered drug release, as well as simultaneous scavenging of species giving rise to intracellular redox stress. K1 serves to downregulate various cancer survival signaling pathways (AKT, p38, IL-6, VEGF, and TNF-α) and upregulate an anti-inflammatory response (IL-10). Compared with SN-38 and DMSO as controls, K1 also displayed an improved in vivo therapeutic efficacy in a xenograft tumor regrowth model with no noticeable systematic toxicity at the administrated dose. We believe that the strategy described here presents an attractive approach to addressing solid tumors characterized by intratumoral heterogeneity.