Asia-Pacific Biotech News

Improving Breast Cancer Targeted Therapy with Shikonin-Loaded Nanoparticles

The constructed nanoparticle can improve the bioavailability of SK and its antitumour effects, providing a promising approach for the targeted therapy of breast cancer.

Breast cancer has the highest morbidity and fatality rates of all disorders affecting the female reproductive system, making it the second most lethal of all malignant tumours. Known for its anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-thrombotic properties, shikonin (SK) is an active natural component derived from Boraginaceae herbs with a wide spectrum of biological activities. However, SK has a very low water solubility, which create significant barriers to its absorption.

While steps have been taken to improve drug encapsulation and loading capacity, SK concentrations in tumour tissue cells/stem cells have remained low, highlighting the need to enhance target cell/site absorption and aggregation by pharmacologic approaches.

Published in Nano LIFE, researchers from Weifang People’s Hospital and Weifang Medical University constructed a targeted drug delivery liposome containing SK called MGB-SK-LPs, which prolonged the circulation time of drugs in vivo, thereby improving the bioavailability of SK and its antitumour effects.

In recent years, nanomaterials have received a lot of interest as a result of their distinctive physical properties, biocompatibility, and stability, among other characteristics. While they can passively accumulate in tumours, they can also be engineered with various targeted ligands that will allow them to bind to specific targets in tumour cells or tumour microenvironments to enhance their accumulation.

In this study, the researchers were able to show that their constructed nanoparticle MGB-SK-LP has a good stability solution and that its positively charged surface allows for good dispersion in a hydrophilic solution and binding with negatively charged tumor cells.

In vitro drug release results revealed that following encapsulation of SK by liposomes, MGB-SK-LPs had higher encapsulation and drug-loading rates with noticeably longer drug release times. This suggests that MGB-SK-LPs had decreased drug release rates and that the MGB antibody-modified liposome could facilitate efficient uptake into breast cancer cells.

According to their experimental results, their constructed nanoparticles had negligible cytotoxicity at concentrations below 100µg/mL and had low cytotoxicity at concentrations above this safe level. Additionally, cell experiments demonstrated that MGB-SK-LPs could specifically target and inhibit breast cancer cells.

The team’s work has provided a promising approach for the targeted therapy of breast cancer and future work will further explore the targeting ability of their nanoparticle and its mechanism at both cellular and animal levels. [APBN]

Source: Zhang, Q., Zhang, M., & Wang, W. (2022). Construction of Shikonin-Loaded Mammaglobin-Modified Liposomes for Breast Cancer Targeted Therapy. Nano LIFE12(04), 2250010. DOI: 10.1142/S1793984422500106