Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) offer increased efficacy and reduced toxicity compared to systemic chemotherapy. Less attention has been paid to peptide-drug delivery, which has the potential for increased tumor penetration and facile synthesis. We report a knottin peptide-drug conjugate (KDC) and demonstrate that it can selectively deliver gemcitabine to malignant cells expressing tumor-associated integrins. This KDC binds to tumor cells with low-nanomolar affinity, is internalized by an integrin-mediated process, releases its payload intracellularly, and is a highly potent inhibitor of brain, breast, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer cell lines. Notably, these features enable this KDC to bypass a gemcitabine-resistance mechanism found in pancreatic cancer cells. This work expands the therapeutic relevance of knottin peptides to include targeted drug delivery, and further motivates efforts to expand the drug-conjugate toolkit to include non-antibody protein scaffolds.
View details for DOI 10.1002/anie.201603488
View details for PubMedID 27304709