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Efficient synthesis of cRGD functionalized polymers as building blocks of targeted drug delivery systems
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Synthetic peptides with cyclic arginine-glycine-aspartate motif (cRGD) play an important role in cell recognition and cell adhesion. cRGD-decorated soluble polymers and polymeric nanoparticles have been increasingly used for cell-specific delivery of antitumor drugs. While the significance of cRGD modification for tumor cell-specific targeting of polymeric carriers is well-accepted, straightforward procedures ensuring the fidelity of cRGD modification of polymeric systems are still lacking. Herein, we have reported an in-situ polymerization approach for synthesis of cRGD-end-functionalized well-defined polymers as potential building blocks of targeted drug delivery systems. A new cRGD peptide functionalized RAFT agent was synthesized as confirmed by MALDI-TOF and 1H NMR spectroscopy. The ability of this RAFT agent to control polymerizations was then tested using two different monomers oligoethyleneglycol acrylate and t-butyl methacrylate. The RAFT-controlled character of polymerizations and the living characteristic of the synthesized polymers were investigated through a series of kinetic experiments. The cytotoxicity and targeting capability of cRGD-functionalized OEGA polymers were investigated using cell lines expressing αvβ3 integrins at varying extents.