Library Dissertation Showcase

Bolaamphiphiles: a novel delivery system targeting folate receptor alpha positive breast cancers

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

Approximately 150 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed daily in the U.K. However, survival rates have doubled in the last forty years alone thanks to cancer research. Current cancer treatments are typically invasive and harsh, with chemotherapy harming healthy cells as well as cancerous. It has been discovered that certain tumours overexpress receptors specific to cancer types, such as triple negative breast cancers are characterised by overexpressing folate receptor alpha (FRα). Lipid bolaamphiphiles can form monolayer vesicles in solution and are in development as nanocarriers for targeted disease therapies. This study utilised a new bolaamphiphile synthesised from Vernonia oil. Vesicles were synthesised from this molecule with a PEG-based lipid molecule with a terminal folate group to create a new folate-combined bolaamphiphile delivery system. Vesicles displayed an almost neutral charge and increased in size after 16 days of storage, suggesting further work should focus on the overall charge of the bolaamphiphile material to increase stability. The encapsulation efficiency of the folate-combined vesicles was estimated to be 7.21 %. Folate-combined vesicles penetrated two cell lines and a time course analysis connoted that FRα positive cells exhibited enhanced rates of uptake. Quantitative measurement with smaller time intervals would give a more detailed understanding of uptake. Overall, this novel folate-combined lipidbased delivery system targeted towards FRα-positive breast cancers could offer advantages over other folate-combined carriers, and these preclinical investigations mark the start of fulfilling this potential.

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