An Aptamer for Broad Cancer Targeting and Therapy
Department of Surgery, Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC 27710, USA
Department of Medical Oncology, Duke Cancer Institute, Center for Genomics and Computational Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA
Department of Biochemistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA
Research and Development Division, b3 bio, Inc., Durham, NC 27709, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 1 October 2020 / Revised: 24 October 2020 / Accepted: 29 October 2020 / Published: 31 October 2020
Recent efforts to improve chemotherapy’s antitumor effects have increasingly focused on targeted therapies, where the drug is modified with an agent able to specifically deliver it to the tumor while limiting its accumulation in normal tissue. Aptamers, comprised of short pieces of RNA or DNA, are ideal for this type of drug targeting due in part to their ease of chemical synthesis. The E3 aptamer was previously conjugated to highly toxic chemotherapeutics and shown to target and treat prostate tumors. Here, we show that E3 is not limited to prostate cancer targeting but appears to broadly target cancer cells. E3 highly toxic drug conjugates also efficiently kill a broad range of cancer types, and E3 targets tumors that closely model patient tumors. Thus, the E3 aptamer appears to be a general agent for specific delivery of chemotherapy to tumors and should improve antitumor treatment while reducing unwanted toxicities in other tissues.