Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Biomedical Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Gorenstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Steven Norris, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, M.D.

Committee Member

Takemi Tanaka, Ph.D.


Bone marrow is a target organ site involved in multiple diseases including myeloproliferative disorders and hematologic malignancies and metastases from breast and prostate. Most of these diseases are characterized with poor quality of life, and the treatment options are only palliative due to lack of delivery mechanisms for systemically injected drugs which results in dose limitation to protect the healthy hematopoietic cells. Therefore, there is a critical need to develop effective therapeutic strategies that allow for selective delivery of therapeutic payload to the bone marrow. Nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems provide the opportunity to deliver drugs to the target tissue while decreasing exposure to normal tissues. E-selectin is constitutively expressed on the bone marrow vasculature, but almost absent in normal vessels, and therefore, E-selectin targeted drug delivery presents an ideal strategy for the delivery of therapeutic nanoparticles to the bone marrow.

The objective of this study was to develop a novel bone marrow targeted multistage vector (MSV) via E-selectin for delivery of therapeutics and imaging agents. To achieve this goal, Firstly, an E-selectin thioaptamer (ESTA) ligand was identified through a two-step screening from a combinatorial thioaptamer library. Next, ESTA-conjugated MSV (ESTA-MSV) were developed and evaluated for their stability and binding to E-selectin expressing endothelial cells. Different types of nanoparticles including liposomes, quantum dots, and iron oxide nanoparticles were loaded into the porous structure of ESTA-MSV. In vivo targeting experiments demonstrated 8-fold higher accumulation of ESTA-MSV in the mouse bone marrow as compared to non-targeted MSV Furthermore, intravenous injection of liposomes loaded ESTA-MSV resulted in a significantly higher accumulation of liposome in the bone marrow space as compared to injection of non-targeted MSV or liposomes alone. Overall this study provides first evidence that E-selectin targeted multistage vector preferentially targets to bone marrow vasculature and delivers larger amounts of nanoparticles. This delivery strategy holds potential for the selective delivery of large amounts of therapeutic payload to the vascular niches in the bone marrow for the treatment of bone marrow associated diseases.


Bone marrow, Nanoparticles, porous silicon, multistage, drug delivery