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Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent forms of cancer afflicting men in the United States. In recent years, advances in the field of nanotechnology have allowed for new and innovative ways to treat various types of cancer and various other diseases. Our research focuses on the treatment of the LNCaP line prostate cancer utilizing iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) loaded with soluble TNF-a and lactonic sophorolipids (LSLs). TNF-a is a cytokine responsible for apoptosis initiation, while LSLs are naturally-glycolipids shown to alleviate inflammation and improve immune response in certain diseases. We hypothesized that this combination may possess a synergistic effect, displaying greater therapeutic effects than either compound alone. We synthesized polyacrylic acid (PAA)-coated IONPs to serve as a vehicle for these compounds for target-specific delivery. The surface carboxylate groups of the PAA coating can be chemically modified, allowing for binding of ligands to target cell-specific surface receptors or antigens. We conjugated our IONPs with glutamic acid with the aim of targeting the over-expressed glutamate receptors on the surface of the LNCaP cells. This combination therapy showed significant LNCaP cell death within 48 hours of incubation, while healthy cells were unaffected. The therapeutic effects were determined using cytotoxicity, MitoSOX, apoptosis, and migration assays. The results of the combined therapy suggest that these compounds may be a viable alternative to chemotherapeutic drugs in prostate cancer treatment.



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