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“Stealth and Fully-Laden” Drug Carriers: Self-Assembled Nanogels Encapsulated with Epigallocatechin Gallate and siRNA for Drug-Resistant Breast Cancer Therapy

Ding, Jie, Liang, Tingxizi, Min, Qianhao, Jiang, Liping, Zhu, Jun-Jie
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018 v.10 no.12 pp. 9938-9948
adverse effects, animal models, biodegradability, biosafety, breast neoplasms, cell lines, cytotoxicity, drug resistance, drug therapy, drugs, epigallocatechin gallate, genes, growth retardation, hyaluronic acid, ligands, mice, nanocarriers, nanoparticles, small interfering RNA
For codelivery of therapeutic genes and chemical agents in combined therapy, the ideal drug delivery system entails high-capacity and low-body toxicity carriers, allowing adequate drug dose for tumor regions while yielding low residues in normal tissues. To augment the gene/drug load capacity and circumvent the potential toxicity brought by traditional inorganic and polymeric nanocarriers, a “stealth” carrier was herein designed in a simple self-assembly of (−)-epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG) and small interfering RNA (siRNA) by recruiting protamine as a biodegradable medium for the treatment of drug-resistant triple-negative breast cancer. In the self-assembled nanogel, entrapped siRNA played a central role in sensitizing the tumor response to EGCG-involved chemotherapy, and the positively charged protamine served as the assembly skeleton to fully accommodate gene and drug molecules and minimize the factors causing side effects. As compared to stand-alone chemotherapy with EGCG, the multicomponent nanogel revealed a 15-fold increase in the cytotoxicity to drug-resistant MDA-MB-231 cell line. Moreover, equipped with hyaluronic acid and tumor-homing cell-penetrating peptide as the outmost targeting ligands, the siRNA- and EGCG-loaded nanogel demonstrates superior selectivity and tumor growth inhibition to free EGCG in xenograft MDA-MB-231 tumor-bearing mice. Meanwhile, thanks to the acknowledged biosafety of protamine, little toxicity was found to normal tissues and organs in the animal model. This gene/drug self-assembly caged in a biodegradable carrier opens up an effective and secure route for drug-resistant cancer therapy and provides a versatile approach for codelivery of other genes and drugs for different medical purposes.