Author(s): Guo J, Hong H, Chen G, Shi S, Nayak TR, Theuer CP, Barnhart TE, Cai W, Gong S. Theranostic unimolecular micelles based on brush-shaped amphiphilic block copolymers for tumor-targeted drug delivery and positron emission tomography imaging. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2014 Dec 24;6(24):21769-79. doi: 10.1021/am5002585. Epub 2014 Mar 14. PMID 24628452
Brush-shaped amphiphilic block copolymers were conjugated with a monoclonal antibody against CD105 (i.e., TRC105) and a macrocyclic chelator for (64)Cu-labeling to generate multifunctional theranostic unimolecular micelles. The backbone of the brush-shaped amphiphilic block copolymer was poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) and the side chains were poly(L-lactide)-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLLA-PEG). The doxorubicin (DOX)-loaded unimolecular micelles showed a pH-dependent drug release profile and a uniform size distribution. A significantly higher cellular uptake of TRC105-conjugated micelles was observed in CD105-positive human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) than nontargeted micelles due to CD105-mediated endocytosis. In contrast, similar and extremely low cellular uptake of both targeted and nontargeted micelles was observed in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells (CD105-negative). The difference between the in vivo tumor accumulation of (64)Cu-labeled TRC105-conjugated micelles and that of nontargeted micelles was studied in 4T1 murine breast tumor-bearing mice, by serial positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and validated by biodistribution studies. These multifunctional unimolecular micelles offer pH-responsive drug release, noninvasive PET imaging capability, together with both passive and active tumor-targeting abilities, thus making them a desirable nanoplatform for cancer theranostics.