Multistage vector delivery of sulindac and silymarin for prevention of colon cancer

Maria Principia Scavo, Emanuela Gentile, Joy Wolfram, Jianhua Gu, Michele Barone, Michael Evangelopoulos, Jonathan O. Martinez, Xuewu Liu, Christian Celia, Ennio Tasciotti, Eduardo Vilar, Haifa Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) is an inherited condition secondary to germline mutations in the APC gene, thus resulting in the formation of hundreds of colonic adenomas that eventually progress into colon cancer. Surgical removal of the colon remains the only treatment option to avoid malignancy, as long-term exposure to chemopreventive agents such as sulindac (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) and silymarin (phytoestrogen) is not feasible. Here, we have developed a multistage silicon-based drug delivery platform for sulindac and silymarin that preferentially interacts with colon cancer cells as opposed to normal intestinal mucosa. Preferential binding and internalization of these drugs into colon cancer cells was obtained using a targeting strategy against the protein meprin A, which we demonstrate is overexpressed in human colon cancer cells and in the small intestine of ApcMin/+ mice. We propose that this delivery system could potentially be used to reduce drug-induced side effects in FAP patients, thus enabling long-term prevention of adenoma formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)694-703
Number of pages10
JournalColloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Colon cancer
  • Drug delivery
  • FAP
  • Multistage vector
  • Silymarin
  • Sulindac

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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