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Nanoparticles with tuneable anti-cancer activity

European scientists developed an innovative methodology for generating nanoparticle-based drugs of varying size and cytotoxicity.
Nanoparticles with tuneable anti-cancer activity
Colloidal systems based on polymers have attracted great attention in drug delivery due to the diversity of polymer composition, properties and functionalisation. Recently, a polymer prodrug approach has been utilised that essentially links hydrophobic drugs to the side chain of a preformed hydrophilic polymer. However, this method only applies to hydrophobic drugs and lacks flexibility and efficacy.

To address this, the EU-funded AMPHIDRUGS (Anticancer nanoparticles from amphiphilic macromolecular produgs) project set out to develop a versatile platform for preparing well-defined amphiphilic polymer-drug conjugates. The methodology aimed to generate biologically active assemblies and in particular to functionalise anti-cancer drugs.

Researchers optimised the hydrophilic-lipophilic balance of the drug-polymer pair to synthesise two families of polymer prodrugs. Functionalised anti-cancer agents were developed for Cladribine and Paclitaxel. The polymer prodrugs were formed into nanoparticles using the nanoprecipitation technique and were evaluated for their biological activity.

Particle size could be adjusted by varying the molecular weight of the polymer prodrugs. Interestingly, the cytotoxicity of the polymer prodrug nanoparticles increased when increasing the polymer chain length, providing tuneable anticancer activity.

Overall, the AMPHIDRUGS methodology proved to be extensively versatile due to the flexibility of varying the polymer-prodrug structure. This capacity to generate multiple drugs opens new perspectives for the treatment of numerous pathologies.

Related information


Drug, cancer, nanoparticle, colloidal system, polymer
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