Research Article


2016, 9(5): 1393–1408


NGR-tagged nano-gold: A new CD13-selective carrier for cytokine delivery to tumors

Flavio Curnis1 (*), Martina Fiocchi1, Angelina Sacchi1, Alessandro Gori2, Anna Gasparri1, and Angelo Corti1,3 (*)

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1 Division of Experimental Oncology, IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan 20132, Italy
2 Istituto di Chimica del Riconoscimento Molecolare, CNR, Milan 20131, Italy
3 Vita Salute San Raffaele University, Milan 20132, Italy

Keywords: Asn-Gly-Arg (NGR), isoAsp-Gly-Arg (isoDGR), CD13, integrin, tumor necrosis factor, albumin, gold nanoparticles
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  • Abstract
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Colloidal gold (Au), a well-tolerated nanomaterial, is currently exploited for several applications in nanomedicine. We show that gold nanoparticles tagged with a novel tumor-homing peptide containing Asn-Gly-Arg (NGR), a ligand of CD13 expressed by the tumor neovasculature, can be exploited as carriers for cytokine delivery to tumors. Biochemical and functional studies showed that the NGR molecular scaffold/linker used for gold functionalization is critical for CD13 recognition. Using fibrosarcoma-bearing mice, NGR-tagged nanodrugs could deliver extremely low, yet pharmacologically active doses of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), an anticancer cytokine, to tumors with no evidence of toxicity. Mechanistic studies confirmed that CD13 targeting was a primary mechanism of drug delivery and excluded a major role of integrin targeting consequent to NGR deamidation, a degradation reaction that generates the isoAsp-Gly-Arg (isoDGR) integrin ligand. NGR-tagged gold nanoparticles can be used, in principle, as a novel platform for single- or multi-cytokine delivery to tumor endothelial cells for cancer therapy.
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NGR-tagged nano-gold: A new CD13-selective carrier for cytokine delivery to tumors. Nano Res. 2016, 9(5): 1393–1408

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