Transferrin receptor (TfR) is a promising target validated in the clinical trials for managing various malignancies. Transferrin (Tf) and single chain antibody fragment can target TfR and are typically conjugated to nanomedicines via post-modification, which poses significant production challenges. Here, we report that the polymersomes functionalized with a Tf-binding peptide CGGGHKYLRW (TBP-Ps) can selectively and stably bind Tf and subsequently mediate targeted doxorubicin (Dox) delivery to TfR over-expressing HCT-116 colorectal cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. The Tf surface density of the polymersomes could be controlled by the surface content of TBP. Interestingly, modifying Dox-loaded TBP-Ps with Tf led to greatly increased cellular uptake and inhibitory effect of HCT-116 cells. Tf-bound TBP-Ps demonstrated rapid accumulation in the tumor xenografts in nude mice following i.v. injection. More importantly, Dox-loaded Ps with Tf binding significantly enhanced the antitumor efficacy in mice bearing HCT-116 tumors compared to polymersomes without Tf binding. Surface functionalization of the nanoparticles with Tf-binding peptide provides an appealing strategy in formulating Tf-targeted nanomedicines.
- Colorectal cancer
- Targeted delivery