Biodegradable Polymeric Multilayer Capsules for Therapy of Lung Cancer

Marina V. Novoselova, Hui Mun Loh, Daria B. Trushina, Avanee Ketkar, Tatiana O. Abakumova, Timofei S. Zatsepin, Mitali Kakran, Agata Maria Brzozowska, Hooi Hong Lau, Dmitry A. Gorin, Maria N. Antipina, Anna I. Brichkina

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Citations (Scopus)


    Formulated forms of cancer therapeutics enhance the efficacy of treatment by more precise targeting, increased bioavailability of drugs, and an aptitude of some delivery systems to overcome multiple drug resistance of tumors. Drug carriers acquire importance for anti-cancer interventions via targeting tumor-associated macrophages with active molecules capable to either eliminate them or change their polarity. Although several packaged drug forms have reached the market, there is still a high demand for novel carrier systems to hurdle limitations of existing drugs on active molecules, toxicity, bioeffect, and stability. Here, we report a facile assembly and delivery methodology for biodegradable polymeric multilayer capsules (PMC) with the purpose of further use in injectable drug formulations for lung cancer therapy via direct erosion of tumors and suppression of the tumor-promoting function of macrophages in the tumor microenvironment. We demonstrate delivery of low-molecular-weight drug molecules to lung cancer cells and macrophages and provide details on in vivo distribution, cellular uptake, and disintegration of the developed PMC. Poly-l-arginine and dextran sulfate alternately adsorb on a ∼500 nm CaCO3 sacrificial template followed by removal of the inorganic core to obtain hollow capsules for consequent loading with drug molecules, gemcitabine or clodronate. The capsules further compacted upon loading down to ∼250 nm in diameter via heat treatment. A comparative study of the capsule internalization rate in vitro and in vivo reveals the benefits of a diminished carrier size. We show that macrophages and epithelial cells of the lungs and liver internalize capsules with efficacy higher than 75%. Using an in vivo mouse model of lung cancer, we also confirm that tumor lungs better retain smaller capsules than the healthy lung tissue. The pronounced cytotoxic effect of the encapsulated gemcitabine on lung cancer cells and the ability of the encapsulated clodronate to block the tumor-promoting function of macrophages prove the efficacy of the developed capsule loading method in vitro. Our study taken as a whole demonstrates the great potential of the developed PMC for in vivo treatment of cancer via transporting active molecules, including those that are water-soluble with low molecular weight, to both cancer cells and macrophages through the bloodstream.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5610-5623
    Number of pages14
    JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


    • biodistribution
    • clodronate
    • drug delivery
    • encapsulation
    • gemcitabine
    • layer-by-layer
    • lung cancer
    • tumor-associated macrophages


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