Targeted Nanoparticle Delivery of Doxorubicin Into Placental Tissues to Treat Ectopic Pregnancies

Tu'uhevaha J Kaitu'u-Lino, Scott Pattison, Louie Ye, Laura Tuohey, Pavel Sluka, Jennifer Macdiarmid, Himanshu Brahmbhatt, Terrence Johns, Andrew W Horne, Jeremy Brown, Stephen Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abnormal trophoblast growth can cause life-threatening disorders such as ectopic pregnancy, choriocarcinoma, and placenta accreta. EnGeneIC Delivery Vehicles (EDVs) are nanocells that can promote tissue-specific delivery of drugs and may be useful to medically treat such disorders. The objective of this study was to determine whether EDVs loaded with the chemotherapeutic doxorubicin and targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR, very highly expressed on the placental surface) can regress placental cells in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo. In female SCID mice, EGFR-targeted EDVs induced greater inhibition of JEG-3 (choriocarcinoma cells) tumor xenografts, compared with EDVs targeting an irrelevant antigen (nontargeted EDVs) or naked doxorubicin. EGFR-targeted EDVs were more readily taken up by human placental explants ex vivo and induced increased apoptosis (M30 antibody) compared with nontargeted EDVs. In vitro, EGFR-targeted EDVs administered to JEG-3 cells resulted in a dose-dependent inhibition of cell viability, proliferation, and increased apoptosis, a finding confirmed by continuous monitoring by xCELLigence. In conclusion, EGFR-targeted EDVs loaded with doxorubicin significantly inhibited trophoblastic tumor cell growth in vivo and in vitro and induced significant cell death ex vivo, potentially mediated by increasing apoptosis and decreasing proliferation. EDVs may be a novel nanoparticle treatment for ectopic pregnancy and other disorders of trophoblast growth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-919
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


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