Cancer therapies often have narrow therapeutic indexes and involve potentially suboptimal combinations due to the dissimilar physical properties of drug molecules. Nanomedicine platforms could address these challenges, but it remains unclear whether synergistic free-drug ratios translate to nanocarriers and whether nanocarriers with multiple drugs outperform mixtures of single-drug nanocarriers at the same dose. Here we report a bottlebrush prodrug (BPD) platform designed to answer these questions in the context of multiple myeloma therapy. We show that proteasome inhibitor (bortezomib)-based BPD monotherapy slows tumour progression in vivo and that mixtures of bortezomib, pomalidomide and dexamethasone BPDs exhibit in vitro synergistic, additive or antagonistic patterns distinct from their corresponding free-drug counterparts. BPDs carrying a statistical mixture of three drugs in a synergistic ratio outperform the free-drug combination at the same ratio as well as a mixture of single-drug BPDs in the same ratio. Our results address unanswered questions in the field of nanomedicine, offering design principles for combination nanomedicines and strategies for improving current front-line monotherapies and combination therapies for multiple myeloma.
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We thank the NIH-NCI (1R01CA220468-01 (J.A.J., P.P.G.) and R01CA205954 (I.M.G.)), the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the National Science Foundation (Graduate Research Fellowship (H.V.-T.N.)) for supporting this research. This work was further supported in part by the Koch Institute Core Grant P30-CA14051 from the NCI. A.D. acknowledges support from the International Myeloma Foundation, the Fondation Française pour la Recherche contre le Myélome et les Gammapathies (FFRMG) and Inserm Cancer. A.D., J.A.J. and I.M.G. acknowledge support from the Stand Up to Cancer Dream Team Multiple Myeloma grant. P.P.G. acknowledges the generous support of the Charles W. and Jennifer C. Johnson Clinical Investigator Fund as well as the Kathryn Fox Samway Foundation.
A.D., H.V.-T.N., Y.J., I.M.G., P.P.G. and J.A.J. are named inventors on a patent application (US patent application no. 16/825,269) jointly filed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute on the Btz macromolecular PIs described in this work. H.V.-T.N., Y.J. and J.A.J. are co-founders and shareholders of Window Therapeutics, which seeks to translate this technology to clinical cancer therapies. The other authors declare no competing interests.
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Detappe, A., Nguyen, H.VT., Jiang, Y. et al. Molecular bottlebrush prodrugs as mono- and triplex combination therapies for multiple myeloma. Nat. Nanotechnol. 18, 184–192 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-022-01310-1
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