iRGD is a tumor penetrating peptide to fight cancer

Coadministration of a tumor-penetrating peptide enhances the efficacy of cancer drugs.

Author information

Vascular Mapping Laboratory, Center for Nanomedicine, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute at University of California at Santa Barbara, Biology II Building, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9610, USA.


Poor penetration of anticancer drugs into tumors can be an important factor limiting their efficacy. We studied mouse tumor models to show that a previously characterized tumor-penetrating peptide, iRGD, increased vascular and tissue permeability in a tumor-specific and neuropilin-1-dependent manner, allowing coadministered drugs to penetrate into extravascular tumor tissue. Importantly, this effect did not require the drugs to be chemically conjugated to the peptide. Systemic injection with iRGD improved the therapeutic index of drugs of various compositions, including a small molecule (doxorubicin), nanoparticles (nab-paclitaxel and doxorubicin liposomes), and a monoclonal antibody (trastuzumab). Thus, coadministration of iRGD may be a valuable way to enhance the efficacy of anticancer drugs while reducing their side effects, a primary goal of cancer therapy research.

PMID: 20378772 PMCID: PMC2881692 DOI: 10.1126/science.1183057

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