Dendrimer-Mediated Targeted Delivery of Rapamycin to Tumor-Associated Macrophages Improves Systemic Treatment of Glioblastoma

Anjali Sharma, Kevin Liaw, Rishi Sharma, Talis Spriggs, Santiago Appiani La Rosa, Sujatha Kannan, Rangaramanujam M. Kannan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma exhibits high mortality rates due to challenges with drug delivery to the brain and into solid tumors. This two-pronged barrier necessitates high doses of systemic therapies, resulting in significant off-target toxicities. Recently, dendrimer-nanomedicines (without ligands) have shown promise for targeting specific cells in brain tumors from systemic circulation, for improved efficacy and amelioration of systemic toxicities. A dendrimer-rapamycin conjugate (D-Rapa) is presented here that specifically targets tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in glioblastoma from systemic administration. D-Rapa improves suppression of pro-tumor expression in activated TAMs and antiproliferative properties of rapamycin in glioma cells in vitro. In vivo, D-Rapa localizes specifically within TAMs, acting as depots to release rapamycin into the tumor microenvironment. This targeted delivery strategy yields improved reduction in tumor burden and systemic toxicities in a challenging, clinically relevant orthotopic syngeneic model of glioblastoma, demonstrating the significant potential of dendrimers as targeted immunotherapies for improving glioblastoma treatment, still an unmet need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5148-5161
Number of pages14
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 14 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Biomaterials


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