The goal of this project is to develop smart dual-targeted lipid ECO/siRNA self-assembly nanoparticles to target oncogenic long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) as a novel therapy to treat metastatic and drug-resistant triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). Metastasis and drug resistance are the main causes for high mortality rate of women diagnosed with TNBC worldwide. Although targeted therapies have been developed to treat some subtypes of breast cancer, the TN subtype is particularly refractory to these therapies. Oncogenic lncRNAs play a critical role in tumorigenesis, stemness, invasion, metastasis, and drug resistance of cancer by simultaneously manipulating multiple cancer-associated signaling pathways. Hence, lncRNAs are promising novel therapeutic targets for TNBC. We will develop smart dual-targeted lipid ECO/siRNA nanoparticles to regulate the expression of an identified lncRNA associated with cancer EMT, stemness, metastasis, and drug resistance as a novel therapy for TNBC. This oncogenic lncRNA is highly expressed in TNBC tumors, but not in normal tissues, making this smart nanoparticle therapy a highly feasible and promising approach to effectively treating TNBC without any adverse effects in healthy tissues. We have demonstrated the feasibility of silencing the oncogenic lncRNA for suppressing the survival and aggressiveness of TNBC cells and for completely inhibiting tumor proliferation in a TNBC mouse model. In this project, we will optimize and develop the smart ECO/siRNA nanoparticles to improve tumor-specific cytosolic delivery of therapeutic siRNAs and to effectively silence the cancer-promoting lncRNA in treating TNBC. We will also explore the combination therapy of silencing lncRNA with the smart nanoparticles and chemotherapy to have the synergistic effects of inhibiting metastasis, alleviating multidrug resistance and enhancing chemotherapy to achieve curative outcomes and to eventually eradicate TNBC.
The specific aims of this project are 1) to design and optimize smart dual-targeted ECO/siRNA nanoparticles for efficient and specific gene silencing in cancer cells via systemic administration; 2) to determine the effects of silencing oncogenic lncRNA with the smart dual- targeted ECO/siRNA nanoparticles on the invasiveness and drug-resistance of TNBC cells in vitro; 3) to determine the efficacy of the smart dual-targeted ECO/siRNA nanoparticles alone and in combination with chemotherapy for TNBC therapy in animal models. Our long-term goal is to develop a novel and feasible therapy based on the smart nanoparticles to treat life- threatening metastatic and drug-resistant breast cancer.
This project is aimed at developing safe and effective smart multifunctional nanoparticles to regulate long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) associated with cancer metastasis and drug-resistance in triple negative breast cancer patients. Tumor- specific silencing of cancer-promoting lncRNAs with the nanoparticles offers a novel therapy to treat metastatic breast cancer with minimal side-effects, to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and to eventually eradicate the disease and improve the survival of cancer patients. A lead smart nanoparticle formulation will be identified at the end of the project for preclinical and clinical development.