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Targeting Tumors and the Kidney with siRNA Nanoparticles and Evaluation of Extracellular MicroRNA-based Methodologies to Track Their Activity


Zuckerman, Jonathan Eric (2012) Targeting Tumors and the Kidney with siRNA Nanoparticles and Evaluation of Extracellular MicroRNA-based Methodologies to Track Their Activity. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/P4FF-NQ42.


The goal of my thesis work is to discover new ways to enable the use of nanoparticle therapeutics to treat human disease. The work presented here touches on several areas in medicine and is united by a common theme: engineering ways to make, use, and evaluate therapeutics that maximize the benefit to the patient and minimize the harm. I have explored three interrelated strategies to achieve my objectives: (1) the use of targeted-nanoparticle-based therapeutics to deliver therapeutic entities to specific sites in the body, (2) the use of a highly specific type of therapeutic, siRNA, and (3) the evaluation of strategies for using extracellular microRNAs to non invasively monitor therapeutic activity and disease response to that activity.

In Chapter 2, I present the first evidence of targeted-nanoparticle delivery of siRNA to solid tumors following systemic administration to patients. My coworkers and I demonstrate both dose-dependent accumulation of the siRNA nanoparticles and evidence of gene knockdown via the canonical RNAi mechanism.

Chapters 3 – 5 describe the therapeutic potential of targeted nanoparticles (one version used in the clinic and described in Chapter 2) for: (i) targeting ribonucleotide reductase subunit M2 in human melanoma cell lines (Chapter 3), (ii) Herceptin-targeted nanoparticles containing siRNA against Her2 in Her2(+) breast cancer (Chapter 4), and (iii) siRNA targeting the “undruggable” protein N-Ras for N-Ras mutant melanomas (Chapter 5).

Chapters 6 – 8 focus on the interaction of nanoparticles with the kidney. Chapter 6 explores a previously unknown phenomenon of size-dependent glomerular accumulation of nanoparticles. In Chapter 7, a new mechanism of clearance for polycation-polymer-based nucleic acid delivery systems is demonstrated, based on interactions between polymer components in the nanoparticle and the anionic surface of the renal filtration barrier, explaining the rapid clearance of these siRNA nanoparticle systems. Chapter 8 illustrates targeted-nanoparticle delivery of siRNA to the kidney.

In Chapter 9, I test the hypothesis that analysis of tumor-secreted microRNAs within patient blood samples can be used as real-time markers of drug pharmacodynamics. Specifically, I focus on efforts to characterize microRNA expression patterns following pharmacologic inhibition of the oncogene BRAF in melanoma cells and their secreted exosomes.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Nanoparticles;siRNA;kidney;glomerulus;cancer
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Davis, Mark E.
Thesis Committee:
  • Heath, James R. (chair)
  • Baltimore, David L.
  • Ribas, Antoni
  • Davis, Mark E.
Defense Date:17 May 2012
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:05182012-134600511
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7052
Deposited By: Jonathan Zuckerman
Deposited On:22 May 2012 16:31
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 23:55

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