Engineering Novel Targeted Nanoparticle Formulations to Increase the Therapeutic Efficacy of Conventional Chemotherapeutics Against Multiple Myeloma

Doctoral Dissertation


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological malignancy which results from the uncontrolled clonal expansion of plasma cells within the body. Despite recent medical advances, this disease remains largely incurable, with a median survival of ~7 years, owing to the development of drug resistance. This dissertation will explore new advances in nanotechnology that will combine the cytotoxic effects of small molecule chemotherapeutics with the tumor targeting capabilities of nanoparticles to create novel nanoparticle formulations that exhibit enhanced therapeutic indices in the treatment of MM. First, doxorubicin was surfaced conjugated onto micellar nanoparticles via an acid labile hydrazone bond to increase the drug accumulation at the tumor. The cell surface receptor Very Late Antigen-4 (VLA-4; α4β1) is expressed on cancers of hematopoietic origin and plays a vital role in the cell adhesion mediated drug resistance (CAM-DR) in MM. Therefore, VLA-4 antagonist peptides were conjugated onto the nanoparticles via a multifaceted procedure to actively target MM cells and simultaneously inhibit CAM-DR. The micellar doxorubicin nanoparticles were able to overcome CAM-DR and demonstrated improved therapeutic index relative to free doxorubicin. In addition to doxorubicin, other classes of therapeutic agents, such as proteasome inhibitors, can be incorporated in nanoparticles for improved therapeutic outcomes. Utilizing boronic acid chemistry, bortezomib prodrugs were synthesized using a reversible boronic ester bond and then incorporated into liposomes. The different boronic ester bonds that could be potentially used in the synthesis of bortezomib prodrugs were screened based on stability using isobutylboronic acid. The liposomal bortezomib nanoparticles demonstrated significant proteasome inhibition and cytotoxicity in MM cells in vitro, and dramatically reduced the non-specific toxicities associated with free bortezomib while maintaining significant tumor growth inhibition in vivo. Carfilzomib, another proteasome inhibitor, was embedded into the lipid bilayer of liposomes to improve its therapeutic efficacy. VLA-4 antagonist peptides were also incorporated to facilitate MM cell targeting and uptake. The liposomal carfilzomib nanoparticles demonstrated improved therapeutic index and synergy with doxorubicin compared to free carfilzomib. These nanoparticle formulations can significantly improve the efficacy of the respective therapeutic agents and have an immense potential to positively impact the treatment of MM providing for improved patient outcomes.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04092014-161654

Author Jonathan Darryl Ashley
Advisor Joan Brennecke
Contributor Basar Bilgicer, Committee Member
Contributor Joan Brennecke, Committee Chair
Contributor Edward Maginn, Committee Member
Contributor Paul Bohn, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Chemical Engineering
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2014-03-28

Submission Date 2014-04-09
  • United States of America

  • Multiple Myeloma

  • Drug Delivery

  • Nanoparticles

  • Very Late Antigen-4

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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