Prodrugs combining macromolecular delivery systems with site-selective drug release represent a powerful strategy to increase selectivity of anticancer agents. We have adapted this strategy to develop new polymeric photosensitizer prodrugs (PPP) sensitive to urokinase-like plasminogen activator (uPA). In these compounds (to be referred to as uPA-PPPs) multiple copies of pheophorbide a are attached to a polymeric carrier via peptide linkers that can be cleaved by uPA, a protease overexpressed in prostate cancer (PCa). uPA-PPPs are non-phototoxic in their native state but become fluorescent and produce singlet oxygen after uPA-mediated activation. In the present work, we studied the influence of side-chain modifications, molecular weight, and overall charge on the photoactivity and pharmacokinetics of uPA-PPPs. An in vitro promising candidate with convertible phototoxicity was then further investigated in vivo. Systemic administration resulted in a selective accumulation and activation of the prodrug in luc...
Maria-Fernanda Zuluaga; Doris Gabriel; Norbert Lange
The successful applicability of gene therapy approaches will heavily rely on the development of efficient and safe nonviral gene delivery vectors, for example, cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs). CPPs can condense oligonucleotides and plasmid DNA (pDNA) into nanoparticles, thus allowing the t ... more
Dendrimers feature a defined number of terminal groups that may bind RNA or be functionalized with bioactive molecules. These competing uses of terminal groups may create an impasse if the requisite density of ligands depletes the number of terminal groups for binding sufficient RNA, or vic ... more
The development of clay bionanocomposites requires processing routes with nanostructural control. Moreover, moisture durability is a concern with water-soluble biopolymers. Here, oriented bionanocomposite coatings with strong in-plane orientation of clay platelets are for the first time pre ... more
Scientists are reporting discovery of a potential biochemical basis for the apparent cancer-fighting ability of broccoli and its veggie cousins. They found for the first time that certain substances in the vegetables appear to target and block a defective gene associated with cancer. Their ... more
Scientists in Japan are reporting development of a faster, less expensive version of the fabled polymerase chain reaction (PCR) a DNA test widely used in criminal investigations, disease diagnosis, biological research and other applications. The new method could lead to expanded use of PCR ... more
Researchers at Rice University in Texas have developed a new approach to fighting cancer, based on nanoscale particles that can both detect and destroy cancerous cells. The report appears in the American Chemical Society's journal Nano Letters. Current molecular imaging approaches only dete ... more