Polymeric micelles guide the way in anticancer treatment
A new type of polymeric micelle drug carrier has been developed by scientists in Japan.
Kazunori Kataoka and colleagues at the University of Tokyo incorporated a molecular promotor, folate, into polymeric micelles, to specifically target folate binding protein, which is overexpressed on cancer cell membranes. These polymeric micelles can effectively deliver drugs to tumour cells because of their high drug loading capacity and low toxicity.
The anticancer drug adriamycin was attached to the micelle by a pH sensitive hydrazone bond. This bond breaks when it enters the acidic intracellular environment. The micellar system was used to control drug release and even with short exposure times, tumour cell growth was inhibited.
Understanding in detail the interactions between the micelles and tumour cells will be challenging, said Kataoka, but will ultimately enhance the targeting ability of these nanodevices and their stability in the body.
Y Bae et al, Mol. Biosyst., 2005 (DOI: 10.1039/b500266d)