Microenvironment-sensing, nanocarrier-mediated delivery of combination chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer

Priyanka Ray, Gauthami Nair, Arnab Ghosh, Snigdha Banerjee, Mikhail Y. Golovko, Sushanta K. Banerjee, Katie M. Reindl, Sanku Mallik, Mohiuddin Quadir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Limited effectiveness of Raf and MEK inhibitors has impelled the interest to use the inhibitors of Extra-cellular Receptor Kinase (ERK) pathway in combination with Gemcitabine (GEM) in pancreatic cancer. However, off-target abundance of ERK receptors, challenging physico-chemical properties, and dose-limiting toxicity of the inhibitor has presented critical challenges towards fabricating this combination amenable for clinical translation. Herein we report a pharmaceutical nanoformulation of GEM and an ERK inhibitor (SCH 772984) co-stabilized within a pH-sensing nanocarrier (NC, with a hydrodynamic diameter of 161 ± 5.0 nm). The NCs were modularly derived from a triblock, self-assembling copolymer, and were chemically conjugated with GEM and encapsulated with SCH772984 at a loading content of 20.2% and 18.3%, respectively. Through pH-mediated unfolding of the individual blocks of the copolymer, the NCs were able to control the release of encapsulated drugs, traffic through cellular membranes, engage target receptors, suppress proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells, and accumulate at disease sites. Collectively our studies showed the feasibility of co-delivery of a combination chemotherapy consisting of GEM and an ERK inhibitor from a NC platform, which can sense and respond to tumor microenvironment of pancreatic cancer setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-420
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Communication and Signaling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Drug delivery
  • Extracellular Receptor Kinase (ERK)
  • Nanocarrier
  • Pancreatic cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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