Discovery of a novel biopolymer for targeting of cisplatin-resistant melanoma

Dr Vijaya Sarangthem
Dr Vijaya Sarangthem and her collaborator at Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea,discovered an Elastin Like Polypeptides (ELP) based biopolymer that can serve as an excellent carrier of anti-cancer drugs for targeted therapy of cisplatin resistant Melanoma (a type of skin cancer) with lesser side effect and organ toxicity. They recently published their findings as research article in ACS Biomaterial Sciences and Engineering, August, 2020.
Melanoma is a highly aggressive skin cancer with a melanocyte origin and its incidence continues to increase dramatically worldwide. Melanoma has a strong tendency to metasta size, especially to the brain, which makes it inaccessible to many therapeutic modalities. The majority of chemotherapeutic and bioactive agents have little effect on melanoma, and thus, have little impact on survival. The development of acquired drug resistance during treatment is a commonly encountered and main cause of failure of malignant cancer therapies. Cisplatin is widely used to treat several cancers including Melanoma, but due to several known and unknown mechanisms, tumour cells frequently develop resistance to cisplatin during chemotherapy. In order to increase the therapeutic efficacy of cisplatin, alternative strategies are needed such as active tumour targeting using macromolecular carriers or combinatorial treatments.
Tumour targeting using macromolecular polymer carriers offers great potential in the context of efficient drug delivery as it decreases the rate of drug clearance after systematic administration and increases drug half-lives in plasma.In the past few decades, nanomedicine has gain lots of attention due to several advantages over conventional cancer therapies. Nanomedicine provides new opportunities for early detection and diagnosis of cancer, thereby improving the treatment of cancer patients. Cancer nano medicines can deliver the chemotherapeutic agents to tumour tissues while reducing systemic toxicity.For many years genetically engineered biopolymer like Elastin-Like Polypeptides (ELPs) have been used as drug delivery carrier for cancer treatment. ELPs are human tropoelastin derived polymers, which are highly biocompatible, biodegradable, non-immunogenic and hence suitable for clinical applications.
Dr. Vijaya’s South Korean collaborator discovered a Cisplatin resistant (Cis-R) melanoma targeting peptide by phage display technique. In the present study, published recentlyin ACS Biomaterial Sciences and Engineering, her team generated the cisplatin resistant melanoma-targeted ELP polymer, that can be used as drug carrier for melanoma treatment. This Cis-R-ELP polymer specifically binds to cisplatin resistant murine and human melanoma cell lines as well as in melanoma bearing mice model when administered intravenously. In future, this targeted ELP platform can be used to deliver FDA approved anti-cancer drugs in resistance melanoma patient. The targeted ELP platform of drug delivery will improve the patient’s survival and quality of life by increasing the intracellular concentration of drugs and reducing dose-limiting toxicities. At present, her labis incorporating suitable anti-cancer drugs to Cis-R targeting ELP biopolymer for the treatment of cisplatin resistance melanoma patient.
Dr Vijaya is a Scientist at the Department of Pathology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. Before joining AIIMS, she spent 9 years in Kyungpook National University, Daegu, South Korea for her PhD in Biomedical Sciences and Post-doc.She is the wife of Dr. Thoudam Debraj Singh, faculty at Department of Medical Oncology, AIIMS, New Delhi. She is the eldest daughter of Sarangthem Biramani Singh and Waribam Mema Devi from Wangkhei, Thambalkhong Sabal Leikai.Dr. Vijaya research lab focused on targeted delivery of anti-cancer drugs and regenerative medicine funded by DST and ICMR. Interested candidates willing to pursue PhD in the above area can contact at the email [email protected]