Targeted Delivery to Cancer Cells using Self-assembled, Camptothecin Nanotubes: Active and Passive Targeting

The Need: Cancer remains one of the most pressing medical challenges of our time, demanding innovative solutions to enhance treatment efficacy while minimizing systemic toxicity. Conventional chemotherapy agents often suffer from poor solubility, instability, and indiscriminate cytotoxicity, necessitating the development of targeted delivery systems to improve their therapeutic index.

The Technology: Utilizing the power of self-assembly, our team has engineered a groundbreaking nanotube delivery platform for the potent anticancer agent Camptothecin (CPT). Derived from Camptotheca acuminata, CPT has long held promise in cancer treatment, but its clinical application has been hindered by challenges such as instability, toxicity, and poor solubility. Our approach involves appending CPT molecules onto self-assembled nanotubes, which are then encapsulated within a polydopamine (PDA) coat. This PDA coat serves as a stable and versatile platform for the grafting of antibody fragments (3E8-scFv), ensuring selective targeting of tumor cells over normal tissues.

Commercial Applications:

  • Targeted chemotherapy for various adenocarcinomas, leveraging the specific binding of 3E8 antibody fragments to TAG-72 receptors overexpressed in cancer cells.
  • Precision medicine applications, offering tailored treatment strategies based on individual tumor markers and receptor profiles.
  • Combination therapy approaches, synergizing the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect with active targeting mechanisms to improve therapeutic outcomes.


  • Enhanced stability and solubility of CPT, overcoming longstanding challenges associated with its clinical use.
  • Selective targeting of tumor cells, minimizing off-target toxicity and maximizing therapeutic efficacy.
  • Potential for personalized medicine approaches, optimizing treatment regimens based on individual patient profiles and tumor characteristics.
  • Synergistic effects with other treatment modalities, paving the way for combination therapies with improved outcomes.
  • Platform versatility, allowing for the incorporation of various payloads and targeting moieties to address diverse cancer types and patient populations.

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