Monthly Publication Highlight - Dr. Tonglei Li

Tonglei Li

January 24, 2017 - The Purdue College of Pharmacy is pleased to honor and recognize the outstanding research and scholarship generated by our faculty each month. This month we highlight Dr. Tonglei Li, Allen Chao Professor of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy. Dr. Li’s recent publication, “Impact of surfactant treatment of paclitaxel nanocrystals on biodistribution and tumor accumulation in tumor-bearing mice”, can be read in Journal of Controlled Release (2016; 237:168-176). These studies were completed in collaboration with Dr. Kinam Park (Professor of Pharmaceutics and Showalter Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue), Dr. David Thompson (Professor of Organic Chemistry, Purdue), Purdue visiting scholar Dr. Yan Chen, and Purdue postdoctoral student Wei Gao. The work was conducted in the Heine Pharmacy building and Purdue animal facilities.

The research team has previously tested paclitaxel nanocrystals (PTX-NCs) in tumor murine models and learned that the nanocrystal formulation could achieve similar and superior anticancer efficacy to the conventional Taxol® formulation, but with significantly reduced side-effects. The nanocrystals were not coated with any surfactants and a majority of the injected dose was taken up by the liver (>40%), while a minimal amount was present in the blood circulation and quickly eliminated. The aim of this work was to treat the surface of PTX-NCs with PEG-based polymers and examine the impact by surface coating on biodistribution, pharmacokinetics, and tumor retention. Testing in tumor-bearing mice showed that PTX-NCs treated with Pluronic® F68 (PEG-PPG-PEG block polymer) significantly enhanced blood circulation of the drug and accumulation in tumor tissue. The absolute amount reaching the tumor, however, was still minimal relative to the dose.

“In this research, we examined the impact by surface chemistry of drug nanocrystals on the biodistribution and performance of the drug delivery system,” comments Dr. Li. “The results will help us develop drug nanocrystals for clinical applications.”


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