The HER2 receptor is overexpressed in approximately 20% of breast cancers and is associated with tumorigenesis, metastasis, and a poor prognosis. Trastuzumab is a first-line targeted drug used against HER2(+) breast cancers; however, at least 50% of HER2(+) tumors develop resistance to trastuzumab. To treat these patients, trastuzumab-based antibody-drug conjugates (ACDs) have been developed and are currently used in the clinic. Despite their high efficacy, the long circulation half-life and non-specific binding of cytotoxic ADCs can result in systemic toxicity. In addition, standard ADCs do not provide an image-guided mode of administration. Here, we have developed a two-component, two-step, pre-targeting drug delivery system integrated with image guidance to circumvent these issues. In this strategy, HER2 receptors are pre-labeled with a functionalized trastuzumab antibody followed by the delivery of drug-loaded nanocarriers. Both components are cross-linked by multiple bioorthogonal click reactions in situ on the surface of the target cell and internalized as nanoclusters. We have explored the efficacy of this delivery strategy in HER2(+) human breast cancer models. Our therapeutic study confirms the high therapeutic efficacy of the new delivery system, with no significant toxicity.
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