Cancer cell surface induced peptide folding allows intracellular translocation of drug

Scott H. Medina, Joel P. Schneider

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Many lead molecules identified in drug discovery campaigns are eliminated from consideration due to poor solubility and low cell permeability. These orphaned molecules could have clinical value if solubilized and delivered properly. SVS-1 is a de novo designed peptide that preferentially folds at the surface of tumor cells, adopting a β-hairpin conformation that rapidly translocates into the cytoplasm, and ultimately nucleus, of cells. SVS-1 is stable in serum and small molecules attached to the peptide are effectively delivered to cancer cells via mechanisms involving physical translocation and, to a lesser extent, clathrin-dependent endocytosis. For example, ligating the model hydrophobic drug Paclitaxel (PTX) to SVS-1 improved its aqueous solubility by ~ 1000-fold and successfully delivered and released PTX to cancer cells in vitro and tumors in vivo without toxic adjuvants. These results suggest that SVS-1 can serve as a simple, effective delivery platform for molecules with poor solubility and permeability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-326
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Controlled Release
StatePublished - May 28 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmaceutical Science


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