Folic Acid Conjugated δ-Valerolactone-Poly(ethylene glycol) Based Triblock Copolymer as a Promising Carrier for Targeted Doxorubicin Delivery

>The aim of this study is to test the hypothesis that the newly synthesized poly(δ-valerolactone)/poly(ethylene glycol)/poly(δ-valerolactone) (VEV) copolymer grafted with folic acid would impart targetability and further enhance the anti-tumor efficacy of doxorubicin (DOX). Here, folic acid conjugated VEV (VEV-FOL) was synthesized by a modified esterification method and characterized using IR and NMR. DOX loaded VEV-FOL micelles were synthesized using a novel solvent evaporation method and were obtained with a mean diameter of 97 nm with high encapsulation efficiency and sustained in vitro release profile. Comparative studies of polymer micelles with and without folate for cellular uptake and cytotoxicity were done on folate receptor-positive breast cancer cell line, MDAMB231. The intracellular uptake tests showed significant increase in folate micellar uptake when compared to non-folate-mediated micelles. MTT assay followed by apoptosis assays clearly indicated that folate decorated micelles showed significantly better cytotoxicity (IC50 = 0.014 µM) and efficiency to induce apoptosis than other treated groups. Moreover, a significant G2/M arrest was induced by DOX loaded VEV-FOL micelles at a concentration where free drug failed to show any activity. Thus, our results show that the folic acid-labeled VEV copolymer is a promising biomaterial with controlled and sustainable tumor targeting ability for anticancer drugs which can open new frontiers in the area of targeted chemotherapy.

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