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Cholesterol-Inulin Conjugates for Efficient SN38 Nuclear Delivery: Nanomedicines for Precision Cancer Therapy

  • Autori: Nicolò Mauro; Mara Andrea Utzeri; Roberta Cillari; Cinzia Scialabba; Gaetano Giammona; Gennara Cavallaro
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


An amphiphilic inulin-thiocholesterol conjugate (INU-Cys-TC) was strategically designed as a biodegradable core-shell nanocarrier of 7-ethyl-10-hydroxy-camptothecin (SN38) to enhance its solubility and stability in aqueous media, thus exploiting its brilliant anticancer effect. INU-Cys-TC was designed to have the hydrophilic inulin backbone (external shell) partially functionalized with hydrophobic thiocholesterol moieties (internal core) through a biodegradable disulfide bond due to cysteamine bridges. Thiocholesterol moieties impair redox-sensitive self-assembling abilities, yielding to nano-sized micelles in aqueous media capable of efficiently encapsulating a high amount of SN38 (DL = 8.1%). Micelles (INU-Cys-TC@SN38) were widely characterized, demonstrating an effective and stable delivery strategy to overcome the poor water-solubility of SN38. SN38-loaded micelles showed a gradual and prolonged release of SN38 over time, and a cell- and time-dependent cytotoxicity. In particular, we show that micelles efficiently deliver SN38 inside cell nuclei, and, compared to normal cell lines, they can also enter cancer cells by endo-lysosomes, where a complete degradation can occur releasing the drug payload. Overall, the proposed micelles appear potentially effective as nanomedicines for precision cancer therapies of colorectal and breast cancer, thus improving the SN38 therapeutic index and extending its use in a huge plethora of cancers.