Development of a Gemcitabine-Polymer Conjugate with Prolonged Cytotoxicity against a Pancreatic Cancer Cell Line

Fanny Joubert, Liam Martin, Sebastien Perrier, George Pasparakis

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Gemcitabine (GEM) is a nucleoside analogue of deoxycytidine with limited therapeutic efficacy due to enzymatic hydrolysis by cytidine deaminase (CDA) resulting in compromised half-life in the bloodstream and poor pharmacokinetics. To overcome these limitations, we have developed a methacrylate-based GEM-monomer conjugate, which was polymerized by reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization with high monomer conversion (∼90%) and low dispersity (<1.4). The resulting GEM-polymer conjugates were found to form well-defined sub-90 nm nanoparticles (NPs) in aqueous suspension. Subsequently, the GEM release was studied at different pH (∼7 and ∼5) with and without the presence of an enzyme, Cathepsin B. The GEM release profiles followed a pseudo zero-order rate and the GEM-polymer conjugate NPs were prone to acidic and enzymatic degradation, following a two-step hydrolysis mechanism. Furthermore, the NPs exhibited significant cytotoxicity in vitro against a model pancreatic cell line. Although, the half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of the GEM-monomer and-polymer conjugate NPs was higher than free GEM, the conjugates showed superiorly prolonged activity compared to the parent drug.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-540
Number of pages6
JournalACS Macro Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2017

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