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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences

First Advisor

Bhaskara Jasti

First Committee Member

Xin Guo

Second Committee Member

Xiaoling Li

Third Committee Member

Silvio Rodriguez

Fourth Committee Member

Abu Serajuddin


Specific interactions of ligands with receptors is one of the approaches for active targeting of anticancer drugs to cancer cells. Over expression of integrin receptors is a physiological manifestation in several cancers and is associated with cancer progression and metastasis, which makes it an attractive target for cancer chemotherapy. The peptide sequence for this integrin recognition is the Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD). Self-assembly offers a unique way of presenting ligands to target receptors for recognition and binding. This study focuses on development of integrin specific peptide amphiphile self-assemblies as carriers for targeted delivery of paclitaxel to α v β 3 integrin overexpressing cancers. Amphiphiles composed of conjugates of different analogs of RGD (linear, cyclic or glycosylated) and aliphatic fatty acid with or without 8-amino-3,6-dioxaoctanoic acid (ADA) as linker were synthesized and characterized. The amphiphiles exhibited Critical Micellar Concentration in the range of 7-30 μM. Transmission electron microscopy images revealed the formation of spherical micelles in the size range of 10-40 nm. Forster Resonance Energy Transfer studies revealed entrapment of hydrophobic dyes within a tight micellar core and provided information regarding the cargo exchange within micelles. The RGD micelles exhibited competitive binding with 55% displacement of a bound fluorescent probe by the cyclic RGD micelles. The internalization of fluorescein isothiocynate (FITC) loaded RGD micelles was significantly higher in A2058 melanoma cells compared to free FITC within 20 minutes of incubation at 37°C. The same micelles showed significantly lower internalization at 4°C and on pretreatment with 0.45M sucrose confirming endocytotic uptake of the RGD micellar carriers. The IC50 of paclitaxel in A2058 melanoma cells was lower when treated within RGD micelles as compared to treatment of free drug. On the other hand, IC50 values increased by 2 to 9 fold for micellar treatment in comparison to free drug in Detroit 551 cells. In A2058 melanoma xenograft mice model, the Paclitaxel-RGD micelles exhibited a significant inhibition of tumor growth in comparison to control treatment for both alternate day and twice weekly treatments. The studies showed the feasibility of using the non covalent peptide based self-assemblies as vehicles for targeted delivery in cancer.





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