Cancer Targeting Nanorods via Peptoid Mediated Antibody Bioconjugation

Summer 2016

Andrew Kelleghan : Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Mentor: Phillip Messersmith

In 2012 alone, 14.1 million cases of cancer were reported worldwide and the disease claimed 8.2 million lives. The magnitude of these figures speaks to the complexity of the causes and mechanisms of cancers and the need to develop new strategies to better combat the disease state. Existing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can prove effective but are notoriously limited by a lack of selectivity which results in widespread damage to cancer patients' healthy cells. Thus, there remains a large demand for effective therapies capable of ridding the body of cancerous cells while leaving surrounding healthy ones intact.
To this end, my research aims to develop a nanoparticle modified with breast cancer-specific antibodies which will allow for exploitation of the nanoparticle's optical properties to induce localized, cancer specific cell death. Addition of the antibody to the nanoparticle will be achieved via covalent bonding to a peptoid, a peptidomimetic polymer which can be extensively customized and easily synthesized and which displays desirable stability and antifouling properties in vivo. The end of the peptoid opposite that linked to the antibody will be connected to the nanoparticle by a strong, well-documented gold-thiol interaction, yielding a biologically stable, cancer-specific system capable of inducing targeted cell destruction.

I am extremely grateful to have been given this research opportunity. As a student in Chemical Engineering, it is often difficult to find enough time to devote to lab work during the school year given the considerable time requirements of coursework. Therefore, being given the ability to focus entirely on research over the summer represents a much desired and highly exciting opportunity to make meaningful progress on my research as well as develop my lab and professional skills. As such, I would like to thank to the Rose Hills Foundation for providing me the financial freedom to devote my undivided attention to my work.