School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



In cancer combination therapy, a multimodal delivery vector is used to improve the bioavailability of multiple anti-cancer hydrophobic drugs. Further, targeted delivery of therapeutics along with simultaneous monitoring of the drug release at the tumor site without normal organ toxicity is an emerging and effective strategy for cancer treatment. However, the lack of a smart nano-delivery system limits the application of this therapeutic strategy. To overcome this issue, a PEGylated dual drug, conjugated amphiphilic polymer (CPT-S-S-PEG-CUR), has been successfully synthesized by conjugating two hydrophobic fluorescent anti-cancer drugs, curcumin (CUR) and camptothecin (CPT), through an ester and a redox-sensitive disulfide (-S-S-) linkage, respectively, with a PEG chain via in situ two-step reactions. CPT-S-S-PEG-CUR is spontaneously self-assembled in the presence of tannic acid (TA, a physical crosslinker) into anionic, comparatively smaller-sized (~100 nm), stable nano-assemblies in water in comparison to only polymer due to stronger H-bond formation between polymer and TA. Further, due to the spectral overlap between CPT and CUR and a stable, smaller nano-assembly formation by the pro-drug polymer in water in presence of TA, a successful Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) signal was generated between the conjugated CPT (FRET donor) and conjugated CUR (FRET acceptor). Interestingly, these stable nano-assemblies showed a preferential breakdown and release of CPT in a tumor-relevant redox environment (in the presence of 50 mM glutathione), leading to the disappearance of the FRET signal. These nano-assemblies exhibited a successful cellular uptake by the cancer cells and an enhanced antiproliferative effect in comparison to the individual drugs in cancer cells (AsPC1 and SW480). Such promising in vitro results with a novel redox-responsive, dual-drug conjugated, FRET pair-based nanosized multimodal delivery vector can be highly useful as an advanced theranostic system towards effective cancer treatment.


Copyright © 2023 by the authors.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title




Academic Level


Mentor/PI Department

Immunology and Microbiology



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.