Clinical effectiveness of gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer is hindered due to its rapid plasma metabolism and development of chemo-resistance. We have previously delineated the significant role of miRNAs in mediating the growth and proliferation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) which in turn result in chemo-resistance, invasion and metastasis. Here, we designed self-assembling, gemcitabine conjugated cationic copolymers for co-delivery of a tumor suppressor miRNA-205 (miR-205) and evaluated their in vivo efficacy in a pancreatic cancer ectopic tumor model developed using gemcitabine resistant MIA PaCa-2(R) cells. Combination formulations showed mean a particle size of <100 nm and gemcitabine payload of >10% w/w, exhibited miRNA complexation at N/P ratio of 4/1, sustained release of gemcitabine for >10 days, transfection efficiency of >90%, extended miRNA and drug stability in serum. Functional assays in gemcitabine resistant MIA PaCa-2(R) and CAPAN-1(R) pancreatic cancer cells revealed that the combination formulations effectively reversed chemo-resistance, invasion and migration. In pancreatic tumor model, the combination formulation treated group showed significant inhibition of tumor growth. Immuno-hiostochemical analysis revealed decreased tumor cell proliferation with increased apoptosis in the animals treated with miR-205 and gemcitabine combination.
Keywords: Cancer; Gemcitabine; Micelles; Pancreas; miR-205; miRNA.
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