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CD44 targeted delivery of siRNA by using HA-decorated nanotechnologies for KRAS silencing in cancer treatment

Tirella, A; Kloc-Muniak, K; Good, L; Ridden, J; Ashford, M; Puri, S; Tirelli, N


A Tirella

K Kloc-Muniak

L Good

J Ridden

M Ashford

S Puri

N Tirelli


KRAS is a small GTPase that regulates cell proliferation and survival. In tumors, the KRAS gene is mutated, and leading to unregulated tumor growth. Despite the recognized importance of KRAS in cancer, attempts to develop small molecule inhibitors have proved unsuccessful. An alternative strategy is gene silencing and the use of small nucleic acid sequences (e.g. siRNA, shRNA), has been reported to successfully downregulate KRAS. In this study we developed ternary nanocomplexes to deliver an anti-KRAS siRNA to colorectal cancer cells, exploiting the interaction of hyaluronic acid (HA) with CD44 as a means to achieve selective targeting of CD44-positive cancer cells. Two different polycations, poly(hexamethylene biguanide) and chitosan, were complexed with siRNA and coated with HA. Physico-chemical properties and stability of nanoparticles were characterized, including size, surface charge, and degree of siRNA protection. We demonstrate nanoparticle internalization (flow cytometry), siRNA cytosolic release (confocal microscopy) and KRAS silencing (RT-qPCR) in CD44+/KRAS+ colorectal cancer cell line, HCT-116. Further we demonstrate that the uptake of HA-decorated nanoparticles in cancer cells is higher when co-cultured with fibroblasts.


Tirella, A., Kloc-Muniak, K., Good, L., Ridden, J., Ashford, M., Puri, S., & Tirelli, N. (2019). CD44 targeted delivery of siRNA by using HA-decorated nanotechnologies for KRAS silencing in cancer treatment. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 561, 114-123.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 18, 2019
Publication Date Feb 26, 2019
Deposit Date Mar 30, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2020
Journal International Journal of Pharmaceutics
Print ISSN 0378-5173
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 561
Pages 114-123
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