Nanotherapeutic approaches to overcome distinct drug resistance barriers in models of breast cancer

Nanophotonics. 2021 Sep;10(12):3063-3073. doi: 10.1515/nanoph-2021-0142. Epub 2021 Jun 25.


Targeted delivery of drugs to tumor cells, which circumvent resistance mechanisms and induce cell killing, is a lingering challenge that requires innovative solutions. Here, we provide two bioengineered strategies in which nanotechnology is blended with cancer medicine to preferentially target distinct mechanisms of drug resistance. In the first 'case study', we demonstrate the use of lipid-drug conjugates that target molecular signaling pathways, which result from taxane-induced drug tolerance via cell surface lipid raft accumulations. Through a small molecule drug screen, we identify a kinase inhibitor that optimally destroys drug tolerant cancer cells and conjugate it to a rationally-chosen lipid scaffold, which enhances anticancer efficacy in vitro and in vivo. In the second 'case study', we address resistance mechanisms that can occur through exocytosis of nanomedicines. Using adenocarcinoma HeLa and MCF-7 cells, we describe the use of gold nanorod and nanoporous vehicles integrated with an optical antenna for on-demand, photoactivation at ~650 nm enabling release of payloads into cells including cytotoxic anthracyclines. Together, these provide two approaches, which exploit engineering strategies capable of circumventing distinct resistance barriers and induce killing by multimodal, including nanophotonic mechanisms.

Keywords: cancer biology; chemotherapy; drug resistance; nanomedicine.