Targeted delivery of RNA-cleaving DNA enzyme (DNAzyme) to tumor tissue by transferrin-modified, cyclodextrin-based particles

Suzie H. Pun, Frederik Tack, Nathalie C. Bellocq, Jianjun Cheng, Brendan H. Grubbs, Gregory S. Jensen, Mark E. Davis, Marcus Brewster, Michel Janicot, Boudewijn Janssens, Wim Floren, Annette Bakker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Short nucleic acid sequences specific to oncogene targets such as bcl-2, bcr-abl, and c-myc have been shown to exhibit specific anti-cancer activity in vitro through antigene or antisense activity. Efficient in vivo delivery of oligonucleotides remains a major limitation for the therapeutic application of these molecules. We report herein on the preparation of transferrin-modified nanoparticles containing DNAzymes (short catalytic single-stranded DNA molecules) for tumor targeting as well as their biodistribution using various methods of administration in the mouse. Linear, β-cyclodextrin-based polymers are complexed with DNAyzme molecules to form sub-50 nm particles termed "polyplexes". The surface properties of the cyclodextrin-containing polyplexes are modified by exploiting the ability of the β-cyclodextrin substructure and adamantane to form inclusion complexes. Accordingly, conjugates of adamantane with poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) are prepared and combined with the polyplexes. The adamantane form inclusion complexes with the surface cyclodextrins of the polyplexes to provide a sterically stabilizing layer of PEG. The stabilized polyplexes are also modified with transferrin for increasing targeting to tumor cells expressing transferrin receptors. The preparation, characterization, and in vitro application of these nanoparticles are discussed. The transferrin-polyplexes containing fluorescently-labeled DNAzyme molecules are administered to tumor-bearing nude mice and their biodistribution and clearance kinetics are monitored using a fluorescence imaging system. Four methods of administration are studied: intraperitoneal bolus and infusion, intravenous bolus, and subcutaneous injection. DNAzymes packaged in polyplex formulations are concentrated and retained in tumor tissue and other organs, whereas unformulated DNAzyme is eliminated from the body within 24 hours post-injection. Intravenous and intraperitoneal bolus injections result in the highest fluorescent signal (DNAzyme) at the tumor site. Tumor cell uptake is observed with intravenous bolus injection only, and intracellular delivery requires transferrin targeting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-650
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • DNAzyme
  • Gene delivery
  • Nanoparticle
  • Tumor targeting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Targeted delivery of RNA-cleaving DNA enzyme (DNAzyme) to tumor tissue by transferrin-modified, cyclodextrin-based particles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this