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1.  The Roles of Cellular Nanomechanics in Cancer 
Medicinal research reviews  2014;35(1):198-223.
The biomechanical properties of cells and tissues may be instrumental in increasing our understanding of cellular behavior and cellular manifestations of diseases such as cancer. Nanomechanical properties can offer clinical translation of therapies beyond what are currently employed. Nanomechanical properties, often measured by nanoindentation methods using atomic force microscopy, may identify morphological variations, cellular binding forces, and surface adhesion behaviors that efficiently differentiate normal cells and cancer cells. The aim of this review is to examine current research involving the general use of atomic force microscopy/nanoindentation in measuring cellular nanomechanics; various factors and instrumental conditions that influence the nanomechanical properties of cells; and implementation of nanoindentation methods to distinguish cancer cells from normal cells or tissues. Applying these fundamental nanomechanical properties to current discoveries in clinical treatment may result in greater efficiency in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer, which ultimately can change the lives of patients.
PMCID: PMC4391641  PMID: 25137233
atomic force microscopy; cellular elasticity; cancer therapeutics; cellular mechanics; nanomechanical properties; cancer cells; anticancer drugs
2.  Nanoways to Overcome Docetaxel Resistance in Prostate Cancer 
Prostate cancer is the most common non-cutaneous malignancy in American men. Docetaxel is a useful chemotherapeutic agent for prostate cancer that has been available for over a decade, but the length of the treatment and systemic side effects hamper compliance. Additionally, docetaxel resistance invariably emerges, leading to disease relapse. Docetaxel resistance is either intrinsic or acquired by adopting various mechanisms that are highly associated with genetic alterations, decreased influx and increased efflux of drugs. Several combination therapies and small P-glycoprotein inhibitors have been proposed to improve the therapeutic potential of docetaxel in prostate cancer. Novel therapeutic strategies that may allow reversal of docetaxel resistance include alterations of enzymes, improving drug uptake and enhancement of apoptosis. In this review, we provide the most current docetaxel reversal approaches utilizing nanotechnology. Nanotechnology mediated docetaxel delivery is superior to existing therapeutic strategies and a more effective method to induce P-glycoprotein inhibition, enhance cellular uptake, maintain sustained drug release, and improve bioavailability.
PMCID: PMC4100480  PMID: 24853766
Docetaxel; chemoresistance; nanotechnology; nanomedicine; nanoparticles; drug delivery; drug targeting; prostate cancer
3.  Targeting microRNAs in Pancreatic Cancer: Microplayers in The Big Game 
Cancer research  2013;73(22):10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-1288.
The prognosis of patients with pancreatic cancer is extremely poor, and current systemic therapies result in only marginal survival rates for patients. The era of targeted therapies has offered a new avenue to search for more effective therapeutic strategies. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) that are small non-coding RNAs (18–24 nucleotides) have been associated with a number of diseases including cancer. Disruption of miRNAs may have important implications in cancer etiology, diagnosis and treatment. So far, focus has been on the mechanisms that are involved in translational silencing of their targets to fine tune gene expression. This review summarizes the approach for rational validation of selected candidates that might be involved in pancreatic tumorigenesis, cancer progression and disease management. Herein, we also focus on the major issues hindering the identification of miRNAs, their linked pathways, and recent advances in understanding their role as diagnostic/prognostic biomarkers and therapeutic tools in dealing with this disease. miRNAs are expected to be robust clinical analytes, valuable for clinical research and biomarker discovery.
PMCID: PMC3834190  PMID: 24204026
Pancreatic Cancer; MicroRNA; Diagnostics; Delivery; Therapeutics
4.  MicroRNA-145 targets MUC13 and suppresses growth and invasion of pancreatic cancer 
Oncotarget  2014;5(17):7599-7609.
Pancreatic cancer has a poor prognosis due to late diagnosis and ineffective therapeutic multimodality. MUC13, a transmembrane mucin is highly involved in pancreatic cancer progression. Thus, understanding its regulatory molecular mechanisms may offer new avenue of therapy for prevention/treatment of pancreatic cancer. Herein, we report a novel microRNA (miR-145)-mediated mechanism regulating aberrant MUC13 expression in pancreatic cancer. We report that miR-145 expression inversely correlates with MUC13 expression in pancreatic cancer cells and human tumor tissues. miR-145 is predominantly present in normal pancreatic tissues and early Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) precursor lesions (PanIN I) and is progressively suppressed over the course of development from PanIN II/III to late stage poorly differentiated PDAC. We demonstrate that miR-145 targets 3′ untranslated region of MUC13 and thus downregulates MUC13 protein expression in cells. Interestingly, transfection of miR-145 inhibits cell proliferation, invasion and enhances gemcitabine sensitivity. It causes reduction of HER2, P-AKT, PAK1 and an increase in p53. Similar results were found when MUC13 was specifically inhibited by shRNA directed at MUC13. Additionally, intratumoral injections of miR-145 in xenograft mice inhibited tumor growth via suppression of MUC13 and its downstream target, HER2. These results suggest miR-145 as a novel regulator of MUC13 in pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC4202147  PMID: 25277192
Pancreatic cancer; MUC13; MicroRNA; Tumor suppressor; Diagnostics; Therapeutics
5.  Novel Curcumin Loaded Magnetic Nanoparticles for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2013;12(8):1471-1480.
Curcumin (CUR), a naturally occurring polyphenol derived from the root of Curcuma longa, has demonstrated potent anti-cancer and cancer prevention activity in a variety of cancers. However, the clinical translation of curcumin has been significantly hampered due to its extensive degradation, suboptimal pharmacokinetics and poor bioavailability. To address these clinically relevant issues, we have developed a novel curcumin loaded magnetic nanoparticle (MNP-CUR) formulation. Herein, we have evaluated the in vitro and in vivo therapeutic efficacy of this novel MNP-CUR formulation in pancreatic cancer. Human pancreatic cancer cells (HPAF-II and Panc-1) exhibited efficient internalization of the MNP-CUR formulation in a dose dependent manner. As a result, the MNP-CUR formulation effectively inhibited growth of HPAF-II and Panc-1 cells in cell proliferation and colony formation assays. The MNP-CUR formulation suppressed pancreatic tumor growth in an HPAF-II xenograft mice model and improved mice survival by delaying tumor growth. The growth inhibitory effect of MNP-CUR formulation was correlated with the suppression of PCNA, Bcl-xL, Mcl-1, MUC1, Collagen I and enhanced membrane β-catenin expression. MNP-CUR formulation did not show any sign of hemotoxicity and was stable after incubation with human serum proteins. Additionally, the MNP-CUR formulation improved serum bioavailability of curcumin in mice up to 2.5 fold as compared to free curcumin. Biodistribution studies demonstrate that a significant amount of MNP-CUR formulation was able to reach the pancreatic xenograft tumor(s) which suggests its clinical translational potential. In conclusion, this study suggests that our novel MNP-CUR formulation can be valuable for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC3965353  PMID: 23704793
magnetic nanoparticles; curcumin; chemoprevention; pancreatic cancer; nanomedicine
6.  Protein Kinase D1 attenuates tumorigenesis in colon cancer by modulating β-catenin/T cell factor activity 
Oncotarget  2014;5(16):6867-6884.
Over 80% of colon cancer development and progression is a result of the dysregulation of β-catenin signaling pathway. Herein, for the first time, we demonstrate that a serine-threonine kinase, Protein Kinase D1 (PKD1), modulates the functions of β-catenin to suppress colon cancer growth. Analysis of normal and colon cancer tissues reveals downregulation of PKD1 expression in advanced stages of colon cancer and its co-localization with β-catenin in the colon crypts. This PKD1 downregulation corresponds with the aberrant expression and nuclear localization of β-catenin. In-vitro investigation of the PKD1-β-catenin interaction in colon cancer cells reveal that PKD1 overexpression suppresses cell proliferation and clonogenic potential and enhances cell-cell aggregation. We demonstrate that PKD1 directly interacts with β-catenin and attenuates β-catenin transcriptional activity by decreasing nuclear β-catenin levels. Additionally, we show that inhibition of nuclear β-catenin transcriptional activity is predominantly influenced by nucleus targeted PKD1. This subcellular modulation of β-catenin results in enhanced membrane localization of β-catenin and thereby increases cell-cell adhesion. Studies in a xenograft mouse model indicate that PKD1 overexpression delayed tumor appearance, enhanced necrosis and lowered tumor hypoxia. Overall, our results demonstrate a putative tumor-suppressor function of PKD1 in colon tumorigenesis via modulation of β-catenin functions in cells.
PMCID: PMC4196169  PMID: 25149539
Colon Cancer; PKD1; β-catenin; T cell factor activity (TCF); Tumor suppressor; Cell motility; Cell invasion
7.  MUC13 Mucin Augments Pancreatic Tumorigenesis 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2011;11(1):24-33.
The high death rate of pancreatic cancer is attributed to the lack of reliable methods for early detection and underlying molecular mechanisms of its aggressive pathogenesis. Although MUC13, a newly identified transmembrane mucin, is known to be aberrantly expressed in ovarian and gastro-intestinal cancers, its role in pancreatic cancer is unknown. Herein, we investigated the expression profile and functions of MUC13 in pancreatic cancer progression. The expression profile of MUC13 in pancreatic cancer was investigated using a recently generated monoclonal antibody (clone PPZ0020) and pancreatic tissue microarrays. The expression of MUC13 was significantly (P < 0.005) higher in cancer samples compared with normal/nonneoplastic pancreatic tissues. For functional analyses, full-length MUC13 was expressed in MUC13 null pancreatic cancer cell lines, MiaPaca and Panc1. MUC13 overexpression caused a significant (P < 0.05) increase in cell motility, invasion, proliferation, and anchorage-dependent or -independent clonogenicity while decreasing cell–cell and cell-substratum adhesion. Exogenous MUC13 expression significantly (P < 0.05) enhanced pancreatic tumor growth and reduced animal survival in a xenograft mouse model. These tumorigenic characteristics correlated with the upregulation/phosphorylation of HER2, p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), Akt, and metastasin (S100A4), and the suppression of p53. Conversely, suppression of MUC13 in HPAFII pancreatic cancer cells by short hairpin RNA resulted in suppression of tumorigenic characteristics, repression of HER2, PAK1, ERK, and S100A4, and upregulation of p53. MUC13 suppression also significantly (P < 0.05) reduced tumor growth and increased animal survival. These results imply a role of MUC13 in pancreatic cancer and suggest its potential use as a diagnostic and therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC4100478  PMID: 22027689
8.  Anti-Cancer Potential of a Novel SERM Ormeloxifene 
Current medicinal chemistry  2013;20(33):4177-4184.
Ormeloxifene is a non-steroidal Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) that is used as an oral contraceptive. Recent studies have shown its potent anti-cancer activities in breast, head and neck, and chronic myeloid leukemia cells. Several in vivo and clinical studies have reported that ormeloxifene possesses an excellent therapeutic index and has been well-tolerated, without any haematological, biochemical or histopathological toxicity, even with chronic administration. A reasonably long period of time and an enormous financial commitment are required to develop a lead compound into a clinically approved anti-cancer drug. For these reasons and to circumvent these obstacles, ormeloxifene is a promising candidate on a fast track for the development or repurposing established drugs as anti-cancer agents for cancer treatment. The current review summarizes recent findings on ormeloxifene as an anti-cancer agent and future prospects of this clinically safe pharmacophore.
PMCID: PMC4030721  PMID: 23895678
Breast cancer; cancer; chemo-resistance; chronic myeloid leukemia; contraceptive; head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; ormeloxifene; ovarian cancer; prostate cancer; SERM
9.  Emerging Roles of Protein Kinase D1 in Cancer 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2011;9(8):985-996.
Protein kinase D1 (PKD1) is a serine-threonine kinase that regulates various functions within the cell, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, adhesion, and cell motility. In normal cells, this protein plays key roles in multiple signaling pathways by relaying information from the extracellular environment and/or upstream kinases and converting them into a regulated intracellular response. The aberrant expression of PKD1 is associated with enhanced cancer phenotypes, such as deregulated cell proliferation, survival, motility, and epithelial mesenchymal transition. In this review, we summarize the structural and functional aspects of PKD1 and highlight the pathobiological roles of this kinase in cancer.
PMCID: PMC4030726  PMID: 21680539
10.  Plasma Proteins Interaction with Curcumin Nanoparticles: Implications in Cancer Therapeutics 
Current drug metabolism  2013;14(4):504-515.
Curcumin, a natural bioactive polyphenol, has been widely investigated as a conventional medicine for centuries. Over the past two decades, major pre-clinical and clinical trials have demonstrated its safe therapeutic profile but clinical translation has been hampered due to rapid degradation, poor water solubility, bioavailability and pharmaco-kinetics. To overcome such translational issues, many laboratories have focused on developing curcumin nanoformulations for cancer therapeutics. In this review, we discuss the evolution of curcumin nanomedicine in cancer therapeutics, the possible interactions between the surface of curcumin nanoparticles and plasma proteins, the role of nanoparticle-protein complex architecture parameters, and the rational design of clinically useful curcumin nanoformulations. Considering all the biologically relevant phenomena, curcumin nanoformulations can be developed as a new neutraceutical or pharmaceutical agent.
PMCID: PMC4030727  PMID: 23566382
Polyphenol; drug delivery; nanomedicine; cancer therapeutics; bioavailability; protein corona
11.  Mucin 13: Structure, Function, and Potential Roles in Cancer Pathogenesis 
Molecular cancer research : MCR  2011;9(5):531-537.
Mucin 13 (MUC13) is a high-molecular-weight transmembrane glycoprotein that is frequently and aberrantly expressed in a variety of epithelial carcinomas, including gastric, colorectal, and ovarian cancers. On the basis of the high expression of MUC13 in cancer cells as well as recent laboratory findings suggesting a malignant phenotype of MUC13-transfected cell lines, the oncogenic potential of MUC13 has emerged. The various functional domains of MUC13 may confer oncogenic potential to MUC13. For example, the bulky extracellular domain with extensive modification with glycan chains may prevent cell–cell and cell–extracellular matrix binding whereas the cytoplasmic tail containing serine and tyrosine residues for potential phosphorylation may participate in cell signaling. MUC13 exhibits the characteristics suitable as an early marker for cancer screening and presents a promising target for antibody-guided targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC4017946  PMID: 21450906
12.  Curcumin Nanomedicine: A Road to Cancer Therapeutics 
Current pharmaceutical design  2013;19(11):1994-2010.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Conventional therapies cause widespread systemic toxicity and lead to serious side effects which prohibit their long term use. Additionally, in many circumstances tumor resistance and recurrence is commonly observed. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify suitable anticancer therapies that are highly precise with minimal side effects. Curcumin is a natural polyphenol molecule derived from the Curcuma longa plant which exhibits anticancer, chemo-preventive, chemo- and radio-sensitization properties. Curcumin’s widespread availability, safety, low cost and multiple cancer fighting functions justify its development as a drug for cancer treatment. However, various basic and clinical studies elucidate curcumin’s limited efficacy due to its low solubility, high rate of metabolism, poor bioavailability and pharmacokinetics. A growing list of nanomedicine(s) using first line therapeutic drugs have been approved or are under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve human health. These nanotechnology strategies may help to overcome challenges and ease the translation of curcumin from bench to clinical application. Prominent research is reviewed which shows that advanced drug delivery of curcumin (curcumin nanoformulations or curcumin nanomedicine) is able to leverage therapeutic benefits by improving bioavailability and pharmacokinetics which in turn improves binding, internalization and targeting of tumor(s). Outcomes using these novel drug delivery systems have been discussed in detail. This review also describes the tumor-specific drug delivery system(s) that can be highly effective in destroying tumors. Such new approaches are expected to lead to clinical trials and to improve cancer therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3640558  PMID: 23116309
Nanotechnology; curcumin nanomedicine; drug delivery; cancer therapy; chemo-prevention; and tumor targeting
13.  Design of Curcumin loaded Cellulose Nanoparticles for Prostate Cancer 
Current drug metabolism  2012;13(1):120-128.
Prostate cancer (PC) is the most frequently diagnosed disease in men in the United States. Curcumin (CUR), a natural polyphenol, has shown potent anti-cancer efficacy in various types of cancers. However, suboptimal pharmacokinetics and poor bioavailability limit its effective use in cancer therapeutics. Several successful CUR nanoformulations have recently been reported which improve upon these features; however there is no personalized safe nanoformulation for prostate cancer. This study contributes two important scientific aspects of prostate cancer therapeutics. The first objective was to investigate the comparative cellular uptake and cytotoxicity evaluation of β-cyclodextrin (CD), hydroxyl propyl methyl cellulose (cellulose), poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA), magnetic nanoparticles (MNP), and dendrimer based CUR nanoformulations in prostate cancer cells. Curcumin loaded cellulose nanoparticles (cellulose-CUR) formulation exhibited the highest cellular uptake and caused maximum ultrastructural changes related to apoptosis (presence of vacuoles) in prostate cancer cells. Secondly, the anti-cancer potential of the optimized cellulose-CUR formulation was evaluated in cell culture models using cell proliferation, colony formation and apoptosis (7-AAD staining) assays. In these assays, the cellulose-CUR formulation showed improved anti-cancer efficacy compared to free curcumin. Our study shows, for the first time, the feasibility of cellulose-CUR formulation and its potential use in prostate cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3632315  PMID: 21892919
Drug delivery systems; nanoparticles; cellulose; cancer therapy; nanomedicine; anti-cancer drug
14.  Curcumin nanoformulations: a future nanomedicine for cancer 
Drug Discovery Today  2011;17(1-2):71-80.
Curcumin, a natural diphenolic compound derived from turmeric Curcuma longa, has proven to be a modulator of intracellular signaling pathways that control cancer cell growth, inflammation, invasion, apoptosis and cell death, revealing its anticancer potential. In this review, we focus on the design and development of nanoparticles, self-assemblies, nanogels, liposomes and complex fabrication for sustained and efficient curcumin delivery. We also discuss the anticancer applications and clinical benefits of nanocurcumin formulations. Only a few novel multifunctional and composite nanosystem strategies offer simultaneous therapy as well as imaging characteristics. We also summarize the challenges to developing curcumin delivery platforms and up-to-date solutions for improving curcumin bioavailability and anticancer potential for therapy.
PMCID: PMC3259195  PMID: 21959306
15.  Current status and implications of microRNAs in ovarian cancer diagnosis and therapy 
Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer among women and causes more deaths than any other type of female reproductive cancer. Currently, treatment of ovarian cancer is based on the combination of surgery and chemotherapy. While recurrent ovarian cancer responds to additional chemotherapy treatments, the progression-free interval becomes shorter after each cycle, as chemo-resistance increases until the disease becomes incurable. There is, therefore, a strong need for prognostic and predictive markers to help optimize and personalize treatment in order to improve the outcome of ovarian cancer. An increasing number of studies indicate an essential role for microRNAs in ovarian cancer progression and chemo-resistance. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small endogenous non-coding RNAs (~22bp) which are frequently dysregulated in cancer. Typically, miRNAs are involved in crucial biological processes, including development, differentiation, apoptosis and proliferation. Two families of miRNAs, miR-200 and let-7, are frequently dysregulated in ovarian cancer and have been associated with poor prognosis. Both have been implicated in the regulation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, a cellular transition associated with tumor aggressiveness, tumor invasion and chemo-resistance. Moreover, miRNAs also have possible implications for improving cancer diagnosis; for example miR-200 family, let-7 family, miR-21 and miR-214 may be useful in diagnostic tests to help detect ovarian cancer at an early stage. Additionally, the use of multiple target O-modified antagomirs (MTG-AMO) to inhibit oncogenic miRNAs and miRNA replacement therapy for tumor suppressor miRNAs are essential tools for miRNA based cancer therapeutics. In this review we describe the current status of the role miRNAs play in ovarian cancer and focus on the possibilities of microRNA-based therapies and the use of microRNAs as diagnostic tools.
PMCID: PMC3539914  PMID: 23237306
Ovarian cancer; miRNAs; Chemoresistance; Diagnosis; Prognosis; Therapy; miR-200; Let-7
16.  Design and engineering of nanogels for cancer treatment 
Drug discovery today  2011;16(9-10):457-463.
Here, we provide a comprehensive insight into current advances in the use of nanogel-mediated chemotherapy for cancer treatment. Nanogels are composed of cross-linked three-dimensional polymer chain networks that are formed via covalent linkages or self-assembly processes. The porosity between the cross-linked networks of nanogels not only provides an ideal reservoir for loading drugs, oligonucleotides and imaging agents, but also protects them from environmental degradation and hazards. Here, we focus mainly on novel synthetic strategies and key considerations in the design of nanogel-based drug delivery systems for controlled and targeted cancer therapeutic applications.
PMCID: PMC3095726  PMID: 21414419
17.  Curcumin-loaded magnetic nanoparticles for breast cancer therapeutics and imaging applications 
The next generation magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) with theranostic applications have attracted significant attention and will greatly improve nanomedicine in cancer therapeutics. Such novel MNP formulations must have ultra-low particle size, high inherent magnetic properties, effective imaging, drug targeting, and drug delivery properties. To achieve these characteristic properties, a curcumin-loaded MNP (MNP-CUR) formulation was developed.
MNPs were prepared by chemical precipitation method and loaded with curcumin (CUR) using diffusion method. The physicochemical properties of MNP-CUR were characterized using dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, and spectroscopy. The internalization of MNP-CUR was achieved after 6 hours incubation with MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. The anticancer potential was evaluated by a tetrazolium-based dye and colony formation assays. Further, to prove MNP-CUR results in superior therapeutic effects over CUR, the mitochondrial membrane potential integrity and reactive oxygen species generation were determined. Magnetic resonance imaging capability and magnetic targeting property were also evaluated.
MNP-CUR exhibited individual particle grain size of ~9 nm and hydrodynamic average aggregative particle size of ~123 nm. Internalized MNP-CUR showed a preferential uptake in MDA-MB-231 cells in a concentration-dependent manner and demonstrated accumulation throughout the cell, which indicates that particles are not attached on the cell surface but internalized through endocytosis. MNP-CUR displayed strong anticancer properties compared to free CUR. MNP-CUR also amplified loss of potential integrity and generation of reactive oxygen species upon treatment compared to free CUR. Furthermore, MNP-CUR exhibited superior magnetic resonance imaging characteristics and significantly increased the targeting capability of CUR.
MNP-CUR exhibits potent anticancer activity along with imaging and magnetic targeting capabilities. This approach can be extended to preclinical and clinical use and may have importance in cancer treatment and cancer imaging in the future. Further, if these nanoparticles can functionalize with antibody/ligands, they will serve as novel platforms for multiple biomedical applications.
PMCID: PMC3356199  PMID: 22619526
magnetic nanoparticles; drug delivery systems; magnetic resonance imaging; nanomedicine; cancer therapeutics; biomedical applications
18.  Curcumin Attenuates β-catenin Signaling in Prostate Cancer Cells through Activation of Protein Kinase D1 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35368.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer affecting 1 in 6 males in the US. Understanding the molecular basis of prostate cancer progression can serve as a tool for early diagnosis and development of novel treatment strategies for this disease. Protein Kinase D1 (PKD1) is a multifunctional kinase that is highly expressed in normal prostate. The decreased expression of PKD1 has been associated with the progression of prostate cancer. Therefore, synthetic or natural products that regulate this signaling pathway can serve as novel therapeutic modalities for prostate cancer prevention and treatment. Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has shown anti-cancer properties via modulation of a number of different molecular pathways. Herein, we have demonstrated that curcumin activates PKD1, resulting in changes in β-catenin signaling by inhibiting nuclear β-catenin transcription activity and enhancing the levels of membrane β-catenin in prostate cancer cells. Modulation of these cellular events by curcumin correlated with decreased cell proliferation, colony formation and cell motility and enhanced cell-cell aggregation in prostate cancer cells. In addition, we have also revealed that inhibition of cell motility by curcumin is mediated by decreasing the levels of active cofilin, a downstream target of PKD1. The potent anti-cancer effects of curcumin in vitro were also reflected in a prostate cancer xenograft mouse model. The in vivo inhibition of tumor growth also correlated with enhanced membrane localization of β-catenin. Overall, our findings herein have revealed a novel molecular mechanism of curcumin action via the activation of PKD1 in prostate cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3327669  PMID: 22523587
19.  Multi-functional Magnetic Nanoparticles for Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Cancer Therapy 
Biomaterials  2010;32(7):1890-1905.
We have developed a multi-layer approach for the synthesis of water-dispersible superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for hyperthermia, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and drug delivery applications. In this approach, iron oxide core nanoparticles were obtained by precipitation of iron salts in the presence of ammonia and provided β-cyclodextrin and pluronic polymer (F127) coatings. This formulation (F127250) was highly water dispersible which allowed encapsulation of the anti-cancer drug(s) in β-cyclodextrin and pluronic polymer for sustained drug release. The F127250 formulation has exhibited superior hyperthermia effects over time under alternating magnetic field compared to pure magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) and β-cyclodextrin coated nanoparticles (CD200). Additionally, the improved MRI characteristics were also observed for the F127250 formulation in agar gel and in cisplatin resistant ovarian cancer cells (A12780CP) compared to MNP and CD200 formulations. Furthermore, the drug loaded formulation of F127250 exhibited many folds of imaging contrast properties. Due to the internalization capacity of the F127250 formulation, its curcumin loaded formulation (F127250-CUR) exhibited almost equivalent inhibition effects on A2780CP (ovarian), MDA-MB-231 (breast), and PC3 (prostate) cancer cells even though curcumin release was only 40%. The improved therapeutic effects were verified by examining molecular effects using Western blotting and transmission electron microscopic (TEM) studies. F127250-CUR also exhibited haemocompatibility, suggesting a nanochemo-therapuetic agent for cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3021632  PMID: 21167595
Magnetic nanoparticles; multi-layer coating; MRI; drug delivery; hyperthermia
20.  Interaction of curcumin nanoformulations with human plasma proteins and erythrocytes 
Recent studies report curcumin nanoformulation(s) based on polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA), β-cyclodextrin, cellulose, nanogel, and dendrimers to have anticancer potential. However, no comparative data are currently available for the interaction of curcumin nanoformulations with blood proteins and erythrocytes. The objective of this study was to examine the interaction of curcumin nanoformulations with cancer cells, serum proteins, and human red blood cells, and to assess their potential application for in vivo preclinical and clinical studies.
The cellular uptake of curcumin nanoformulations was assessed by measuring curcumin levels in cancer cells using ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry. Protein interaction studies were conducted using particle size analysis, zeta potential, and Western blot techniques. Curcumin nanoformulations were incubated with human red blood cells to evaluate their acute toxicity and hemocompatibility.
Cellular uptake of curcumin nanoformulations by cancer cells demonstrated preferential uptake versus free curcumin. Particle sizes and zeta potentials of curucumin nanoformulations were varied after human serum albumin adsorption. A remarkable capacity of the dendrimer curcumin nanoformulation to bind to plasma protein was observed, while the other formulations showed minimal binding capacity. Dendrimer curcumin nanoformulations also showed higher toxicity to red blood cells compared with the other curcumin nanoformulations.
PLGA and nanogel curcumin nanoformulations appear to be very compatible with erythrocytes and have low serum protein binding characteristics, which suggests that they may be suitable for application in the treatment of malignancy. These findings advance our understanding of the characteristics of curcumin nanoformulations, a necessary component in harnessing and implementing improved in vivo effects of curcumin.
Video abstract
PMCID: PMC3225220  PMID: 22128249
nanoparticle; curcumin; chemotherapy; cellular uptake; protein binding; hemocompatibility
21.  Protein kinase D1 (PKD1) influences androgen receptor (AR) function in prostate cancer cells 
Protein kinase D1 (PKD1), founding member of PKD protein family, is down-regulated in advanced prostate cancer (PCa). We demonstrate that PKD1 and androgen receptor (AR) are present as a protein complex in PCa cells. PKD1 is associated with a transcriptional complex which contains AR and promoter sequence of the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) gene. Ectopic expression of wild type PKD1 and the kinase dead mutant PKD1 (K628W) attenuated the ligand-dependent transcriptional activation of AR in prostate cancer cells and yeast cells indicating that PKD1 can affect AR transcription activity, whereas knocking down PKD1 enhanced the ligand-dependent transcriptional activation of AR. Co-expression of kinase dead mutant with AR significantly inhibited androgen-mediated cell proliferation in both LNCaP and DU145 PC cells. Our data demonstrate for the first time that PKD1 can influence AR function in PCa cells.
PMCID: PMC2925514  PMID: 18602367
Protein kinase D1; Androgen receptor; Interaction; Prostate cancer
22.  Scope of nanotechnology in ovarian cancer therapeutics 
This review describes the use of polymer micelle nanotechnology based chemotherapies for ovarian cancer. While various chemotherapeutic agents can be utilized to improve the survival rate of patients with ovarian cancer, their distribution throughout the entire body results in high normal organ toxicity. Polymer micelle nanotechnology aims to improve the therapeutic efficacy of anti-cancer drugs while minimizing the side effects. Herein, different types of polymer micelle technology based nanotherapies such as PLGA, polymerosomes, acid cleavable, thermosensitive, pH sensitive, and cross-linked micelles are introduced and structural differences are explained. Additionally, production methods, stability, sustainability, drug incorporation and drug release profiles of various polymer micelle based nanoformulations are discussed. An important feature of polymer micelle nanotechnology is the small size (10-100 nm) of particles which improves circulation and enables superior accumulation of the therapeutic drugs at the tumor sites. This review provides a comprehensive evaluation of different types of polymer micelles and their implications in ovarian cancer therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC2924337  PMID: 20691083
23.  Curcumin induces chemo/radio-sensitization in ovarian cancer cells and curcumin nanoparticles inhibit ovarian cancer cell growth 
Chemo/radio-resistance is a major obstacle in treating advanced ovarian cancer. The efficacy of current treatments may be improved by increasing the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemo/radiation therapies. Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound with anti-cancer activity in multiple cancers; however, its chemo/radio-sensitizing potential is not well studied in ovarian cancer. Herein, we demonstrate the effectiveness of a curcumin pre-treatment strategy for chemo/radio-sensitizing cisplatin resistant ovarian cancer cells. To improve the efficacy and specificity of curcumin induced chemo/radio sensitization, we developed a curcumin nanoparticle formulation conjugated with a monoclonal antibody specific for cancer cells.
Cisplatin resistant A2780CP ovarian cancer cells were pre-treated with curcumin followed by exposure to cisplatin or radiation and the effect on cell growth was determined by MTS and colony formation assays. The effect of curcumin pre-treatment on the expression of apoptosis related proteins and β-catenin was determined by Western blotting or Flow Cytometry. A luciferase reporter assay was used to determine the effect of curcumin on β-catenin transcription activity. The poly(lactic acid-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticle formulation of curcumin (Nano-CUR) was developed by a modified nano-precipitation method and physico-chemical characterization was performed by transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering methods.
Curcumin pre-treatment considerably reduced the dose of cisplatin and radiation required to inhibit the growth of cisplatin resistant ovarian cancer cells. During the 6 hr pre-treatment, curcumin down regulated the expression of Bcl-XL and Mcl-1 pro-survival proteins. Curcumin pre-treatment followed by exposure to low doses of cisplatin increased apoptosis as indicated by annexin V staining and cleavage of caspase 9 and PARP. Additionally, curcumin pre-treatment lowered β-catenin expression and transcriptional activity. Nano-CUR was successfully generated and physico-chemical characterization of Nano-CUR indicated an average particle size of ~70 nm, steady and prolonged release of curcumin, antibody conjugation capability and effective inhibition of ovarian cancer cell growth.
Curcumin pre-treatment enhances chemo/radio-sensitization in A2780CP ovarian cancer cells through multiple molecular mechanisms. Therefore, curcumin pre-treatment may effectively improve ovarian cancer therapeutics. A targeted PLGA nanoparticle formulation of curcumin is feasible and may improve the in vivo therapeutic efficacy of curcumin.
PMCID: PMC2880315  PMID: 20429876
24.  Mucins in ovarian cancer diagnosis and therapy 
Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy and the five-year survival rate is only 35% after diagnosis. Epithelial ovarian cancer is a highly metastatic disease characterized by widespread peritoneal dissemination and ascites. The death incidences from ovarian cancer could be significantly lowered by developing new methods for the early diagnosis and treatment of this fatal disease. Several potential markers have been identified recently. However, mucins are the most promising markers for ovarian cancer diagnosis. Mucins are large extracellular, heavily glycosylated proteins and their aberrant expression has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of cancers, including ovarian cancer. This review will summarize known facts about the pathological and molecular characteristics of ovarian cancer, the current status of ovarian cancer markers, as well as general information about mucins, the putative role of mucins in the progression of ovarian cancer and their potential use for the early diagnosis and treatment of this disease.
PMCID: PMC2804676  PMID: 20034397

Results 1-24 (24)