Article ID: c19-00376
Anti-cancer chemotherapy with good efficacy and fewer side effects is highly desirable. A drug delivery system comprising a cancer-targeting module and a cytotoxic agent connected with a cleavable linker is promising for reducing side effects. The development of a cleavable linker satisfying the requirements of both stability and cleavability, however, is difficult, especially when a carbonate moiety is used for conjugating the linker to a hydroxy group in a drug of interest. We herein report a new stable linker comprising carbamate and ester spacers, which can be introduced on a hydroxy group of a drug. This linker is more stable in aqueous neutral buffer than a corresponding carbonate-type linker, and releases a payload anti-cancer drug, SN-38, through a two-step sequence upon cathepsin B treatment. This linker may have potential use in other drug delivery systems to lower side effects by selectively transporting cytotoxic drugs to tumor cells.