Maria Bednarek, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
“Optimization of Drug Nanocarriers via the Construction of a Stealth Dendron”
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Marie-Christine Daniel
Expected Graduation Date: 2010
Several challenges need to be overcome in chemotherapy to markedly increase its efficiency against cancer. Although intense research is done on combined therapy and tumor targeting, the simultaneous targeting of different therapeutic entities to the cancer cells is still an area of research to be developed. One possibility has been to generate a potent multifunctional drug delivery vehicle, or nanovector, for the chemotherapy of specific cancers by attaching dendron units with distinct functionalities (chemotherapeutic drugs, targeting ligands and imaging enhancers) around a central anchoring gold nanoparticle. My project will consist of the synthesis of a “stealth dendron” that will contribute to such a nanovector through its combination of dendrons with the aforementioned functionalities around a central gold nanoparticle. This “stealth dendron” will help further elongate the blood circulation time of the nanovectors, and most importantly avoid non-specific entry of the nanovectors into healthy cells in order to maximize the targeting. The specific goals of my project will be to first synthesize the backbone dendron, then modify it with the “stealth” functions, and finally attach it to a spacer that will allow it to anchor onto the gold nanoparticles. Once this has been completed, in vitro testing will be performed to assess whether it is successful in minimizing non-specific cellular entry.