Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

W. Andrew Yeudall


Anticancer therapeutics are often limited to suboptimal doses due to their lack of selectivity for tumor cells and resultant damage to healthy tissue. These limitations motivated researchers to develop tumor-specific delivery systems for improved therapeutic efficacy and reduced unintended cytotoxicity. Polyamidoamine dendrimers offer an ideal platform for designing targeted therapeutics with tunable characteristics that optimize pharmacokinetic behavior and targeting specificity. Ligand conjugation to dendrimer provides the biochemical interaction necessary to activate tumor-specific receptors for receptor-mediated endocytosis and effective internalization of polyplexes. Tumor-specific receptors overexpressed in carcinomas, like folate receptor-alpha (FOLRα), are targeted by ligand-conjugated dendrimer to allow enhanced internalization of dendrimer and its therapeutic cargo. We examined the cellular trafficking dynamics and potential of folate-conjugated dendrimer for nucleic acid delivery in vitro. Results show folate-conjugation to G4 PAMAM dendrimer (G4FA) confers enhanced uptake in FOLRα-positive tumor cells. Cells internalize G4FA in a receptor-dependent manner with specificity for FOLRα-positive tumor cells.


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Biochemistry Commons