DNA Thioaptamer with Homing Specificity to Lymphoma Bone Marrow Involvement

Junhua Mai, Xin Li, Guodong Zhang, Yi Huang, Rong Xu, Qi Shen, Ganesh L. Lokesh, Varatharasa Thiviyanathan, Lingxiao Chen, Haoran Liu, Youli Zu, Xiaojing Ma, David E. Volk, David G. Gorenstein, Mauro Ferrari, Haifa Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Selective drug accumulation in the malignant tissue is a prerequisite for effective cancer treatment. However, most drug molecules and their formulated particles are blocked en route to the destiny tissue due to the existence of multiple biological and physical barriers including the tumor microvessel endothelium. Since the endothelial cells on the surface of the microvessel wall can be modulated by inflammatory cytokines and chemokines secreted by the tumor or stromal cells, an effective drug delivery approach is to enhance interaction between the drug particles and the unique spectrum of surface proteins on the tumor endothelium. In this study, we performed in vivo screening for thioaptamers that bind to the bone marrow endothelium with specificity in a murine model of lymphoma with bone marrow involvement (BMI). The R1 thioaptamer was isolated based on its high homing potency to bones with BMI, and 40-60% less efficiency in accumulation to healthy bones. In cell culture, R1 binds to human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) with a high affinity (K d ≈ 3 nM), and the binding affinity can be further enhanced when cells were treated with a mixture of lymphoma cell and bone marrow cell conditioned media. Cellular uptake of R1 is through clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Conjugating R1 on to the surface of liposomal doxorubicin nanoparticles resulted in 2-3-fold increase in drug accumulation in lymphoma BMI. Taking together, we have successfully identified a thioaptamer that preferentially binds to the endothelium of lymphoma BMI. It can serve as an affinity moiety for targeted delivery of drug particles to the disease organ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1814-1825
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular pharmaceutics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2018


  • bone
  • in vivo SELEX
  • lymphoma
  • thioaptamer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery


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