Biotin-decorated all-HPMA polymeric micelles for paclitaxel delivery

Wang, Yan, van Steenbergen, Mies J., Beztsinna, Nataliia, Shi, Yang, Lammers, Twan, van Nostrum, Cornelus F. & Hennink, Wim E.

Published: 10 December 2020


To avoid poly(ethylene glycol)-related issues of nanomedicines such as accelerated blood clearance, fully N-2-hydroxypropyl methacrylamide (HPMAm)-based polymeric micelles decorated with biotin for drug delivery were designed. To this end, a biotin-functionalized chain transfer agent (CTA), 4-cyano-4-[(dodecylsulfanylthiocarbonyl)-sulfanyl]pentanoic acid (biotin-CDTPA), was synthesized for reversible addition–fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization. Amphiphilic poly(N-2-hydroxypropyl methacrylamide)-block-poly(N-2-benzoyloxypropyl methacrylamide) (p(HPMAm)-b-p(HPMAm-Bz)) with molecular weights ranging from 8 to 24 kDa were synthesized using CDTPA or biotin-CDTPA as CTA and 2,2′-azobis(2-methylpropionitrile) as initiator. The copolymers self-assembled in aqueous media into micelles with sizes of 40–90 nm which positively correlated to the chain length of the hydrophobic block in the polymers, whereas the critical micelle concentrations decreased with increasing hydrophobic block length. The polymer with a molecular weight of 22.1 kDa was used to prepare paclitaxel-loaded micelles which had sizes between 61 and 70 nm, and a maximum loading capacity of around 10 wt%. A549 lung cancer cells overexpressing the biotin receptor, internalized the biotin-decorated micelles more efficiently than non-targeted micelles, while very low internalization of both types of micelles by HEK293 human embryonic kidney cells lacking the biotin receptor was observed. As a consequence, the paclitaxel-loaded micelles with biotin decoration exhibited stronger cytotoxicity in A549 cells than non-targeted micelles. Overall, a synthetic pathway to obtain actively targeted poly(ethylene glycol)-free micelles fully based on a poly(HPMAm) backbone was established. These polymeric micelles are promising systems for the delivery of hydrophobic anticancer drugs.

Full Access Link: Journal of Controlled Release