Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.140, No.47, 16264-16274, 2018
A Dual Targeting Dendrimer-Mediated siRNA Delivery System for Effective Gene Silencing in Cancer Therapy
Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is emerging as a novel therapeutic for treating various diseases, provided a safe and efficient delivery is available. In particular, specific delivery to target cells is critical for achieving high therapeutic efficacy while reducing toxicity. Amphiphilic dendrimers are emerging as novel promising carriers for siRNA delivery by virtue of the combined multivalent cooperativity of dendrimers with the self-assembling property of lipid vectors. Here, we report a ballistic approach for targeted siRNA delivery to cancer cells using an amphiphilic dendrimer equipped with a dual targeting peptide bearing an RGDK warhead. According to the molecular design, the amphiphilic dendrimer was expected to deliver siRNA effectively, while the aim of the targeting peptide was to home in on tumors via interaction of its warhead with integrin and the neuropilin-1 receptor on cancer cells. Coating the positively charged siRNA/dendrimer delivery complex with the negatively charged segment of the targeting peptide via electrostatic interactions led to small and stable nanoparticles which were able to protect siRNA from degradation while maintaining the accessibility of RGDK for targeting cancer cells and preserving the ability of the siRNA to escape from endosomes. The targeted system had enhanced siRNA delivery, stronger gene silencing, and more potent anticancer activity compared to nontargeted or covalent dendrimer-based systems. In addition, neither acute toxicity nor induced inflammation was observed. Consequently, this delivery system constitutes a promising nonviral vector for targeted delivery and can be further developed to provide RNAi-based personalized medicine against cancer. Our study also gives new perspectives on the use of nanotechnology based on self-assembling dendrimers in various biomedical applications.