Targeted Delivery of Cytotoxic Metal Complexes into Cancer Cells with and without Macromolecular Vehicles
Anticancer active metal complexes such as cisplatin are routinely used for treating various cancers since 1978. However, the side effects of cisplatin overwhelm its therapeutic potential, especially in the latter stages of treatment. The nonspecific cytotoxicity of drugs could be avoided if targeted delivery to cancer cells is achieved using two different methodologies namely, enhanced permeability and retention in solid tumors (EPR) and receptor mediated endocytosis using a homing agent (RME). Ru(II)-arene complexes which are delivered specifically into cancer cells by the transferrin enzyme are less toxic compared to other metal complexes. The thesis describes the synthesis and use of Ru(II)-η6cymene complexes with different ancillary ligands which modulates the anticancer activity and the utility of two macromolecular vehicles in directed drug delivery. Ru(II)-η6cymene complexes with different heterocyclic ancillary ligands are synthesized and their anticancer activity tested against various cancer cell lines. Ruthenium complexes with mercaptobenzothiazoles are found to be quite active against the H460 cell lines that overexpress transferrin receptors and non-cytotoxic to the normal cell line, HEL299. Biophysical studies show that complexes (H1 and H8) can unwind the pBR322 DNA and inhibit the Topo IIα enzyme. A unique biphasic melting curve of CT DNA is observed in the presence of H1 which is attributed to formation of a dinuclear species (H20). Half-sandwich complexes of 6-thioguanine (6-TG) have also been prepared to improve the delivery and efficacy of 6-TG which is used in spite of a deleterious photoreaction. The Ru complexes cytotoxic to several leukemia cell lines. As they are photostable and anticancer active, they are better than 6-TG. Anticancer activity exhibiting piazselenols are used as ancillary ligands to make Ru(II)-arene complexes. Unfortunately, 1H NMR spectra suggests that piazselenol complexes dissociate in solution. However, the nitro substituted piazselenol and its Ru complex show the greatest cytotoxicity (<0.1 µM) against the A2780 cell line. The utility of PAMAM dendrimers and hyper branched polymers (hybramers) conjugated with a homing agent to target cancer cells by EPR and RME is probed. A cytotoxic copper complex (CuATSM) is covalently attached to the macromolecules through a disulfide linker, cleaved in the presence of GSH. Targeting efficacy of the folic acid-dendrimer conjugates is checked against two glioma cell lines. The folic acid-dendrimer conjugate is more active compared to dendrimer conjugate without folic acid against folate-receptor-overexpressing LN18 cell line. Biotin conjugated dendrimer shows better accumulation in HeLa cells, which require high amounts of biotin for growth. In vivo studies demonstrate that the conjugate can cross the blood-brain barrier. These studies suggest that PAMAM dendrimer can be used as a targeted delivery vehicle for cytotoxic metal complexes. Hyperbranched polymers decorated with propargyl groups and hydrophilic OH terminated TEG groups are attached to biotin and a cytotoxic Cu complex. (CuATSM-SS-CONH-N3) through ‘click’ reactions and tested against the HeLa cell line. On the basis of the studies conducted, it is concluded that targeted delivery of cytotoxic metal complexes are possible in the case of Ru(II) half-sandwich complexes and macromolecular vehicles like dendrimers are suitable for specifically delivering copper complexes into cancer cells.
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