Polymeric Engineering of Anticancer Prodrug Nanocrystals and Intracellular Drug Dynamics Investigation
Despite the high toxicitity and the lack of specificity of the drug administered, chemotherapy remains one of the most clinically used cancer treatments. Cancer research have dedicated a lot of attention to the development of efficient and targeted drug delivery systems (DDSs). However, the success is limited by the cytotoxicity of the complex system used and the poor knowledge on the intracellular dynamics of the drug. With this project, we would like to give our contribution to chemotherapy research, synthesizing new carrier-free prodrug nanocrystals and providing them with a polymeric coating, which can target cancer cells. As consisting only by pure prodrug, the nanocrystals overcome the problems associated to conventional carrier-based DDSs (e.g. increased citotoxicity and clearance). Furthermore, the advanced system, compared to the carrierfree prodrug nanocrystals reported so far, will have the unique capabilty to be specific for cancer cells. On the other hand, we would like to apply an innovative approach, based on endoscopymediated surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS), to investigate the intracellular dynamics of the drug in all its chemical forms (nanocrystals, prodrug and active molecules). The success of the technique will be esclusive as no alternative strategy currently exhists for such fundamental studies. The findings obtained will provide crucial information for further developments of prodrug nanocrystals as next generation drug delivery strategies.