Targeting Tumor-Associated Macrophages by MMP2-Sensitive Apoptotic Body-Mimicking Nanoparticles. Academic Article uri icon


  • Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), a major player in the tumor microenvironment, were recently recognized as a potential therapeutic target. To date, very few anticancer drugs or drug-delivery systems were designed to target the TAMs. Inspired by the "eat me" signal, phosphatidylserine (PS), mediated phagocytic clearance of apoptotic bodies, in this study, the matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2)-sensitive PS-modified nanoparticles were developed. In the design, the PS is externalized to the nanoparticles' surface only when the nanoparticles reach the MMP2-overexpressing tumor site, allowing for the TAM-specific phagocytosis. The nanoparticles' excellent macrophage/TAM selectivity was observed in various biological models, including various cell lines, coculture cells, coculture cell spheroids, zebrafish, and tumor-bearing mice. The nanoparticles' TAM specificity remarkably enhanced the TAM depletion capability of the loaded model drug, dasatinib, resulting in the improved anticancer activity. The MMP2-sensitive apoptotic body-mimicking nanoparticles might be a promising delivery tool for TAM-centered cancer diagnoses and treatments.

published proceedings

  • ACS Appl Mater Interfaces

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, Y., Wang, J., Zhang, J., Marbach, S., Xu, W., & Zhu, L.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Yin||Wang, Jiao||Zhang, Jian||Marbach, Sandra||Xu, Wei||Zhu, Lin

publication date

  • November 2020