Design and Evaluation of Tumor-Specific Dendrimer Epigenetic Therapeutics.

PMID 26246996


Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are promising therapeutics for cancer. HDACi alter the epigenetic state of tumors and provide a unique approach to treat cancer. Although studies with HDACi have shown promise in some cancers, variable efficacy and off-target effects have limited their use. To overcome some of the challenges of traditional HDACi, we sought to use a tumor-specific dendrimer scaffold to deliver HDACi directly to cancer cells. Here we report the design and evaluation of tumor-specific dendrimer-HDACi conjugates. The HDACi was conjugated to the dendrimer using an ester linkage through its hydroxamic acid group, inactivating the HDACi until it is released from the dendrimer. Using a cancer cell model, we demonstrate the functionality of the tumor-specific dendrimer-HDACi conjugates. Furthermore, we demonstrate that unlike traditional HDACi, dendrimer-HDACi conjugates do not affect tumor-associated macrophages, a recently recognized mechanism through which drug resistance emerges. We anticipate that this new class of cell-specific epigenetic therapeutics will have tremendous potential in the treatment of cancer.