CAS-Croucher Joint Labs

The CAS-Croucher Funding Scheme for Joint Laboratories is the outcome of an agreement between The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Croucher Foundati...

Cell-targeted therapeutics in osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a common and deadly cancer among children around the world. This project aims to study and develop a triptolide-aptamer conjugate as a potential anti-cancer agent for osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma treatment has been a major public health issue as patients often and still respond poorly to currently available chemotherapeutics. With the recent discovery of triptolide as a natural product highly sensitive to osteosarcoma by Professor Guo, research has been focussed on increasing its target specificity and reducing its hepatotoxicity. One approach is to apply this drug in conjugation with aptamers, single-stranded oligonucleotides that can bind targets with high affinity and selectivity and hence, widely used in the selective delivery of therapeutic agents. Professor Lu has found that an aptamer, LC6, targets osteosarcoma but neither hepatocytes nor peripheral blood cells. This provides a very promising approach to achieve specific targeting of osteosarcoma cells while reducing hepatotoxicity.

Guo and Lu have been working together on developing the LC6-triptolide conjugate, from defining its structure to controlling its release at its target site. They are currently working on a biological screening program using a xenograft osteosarcoma mouse model to test the in vivo tissue distribution, cell selectivity, anti-tumour activity and hepatotoxicity of the LC6-triptolide conjugate. Their joint laboratory aims to make a novel LC6-triptolide conjugate with high sensitivity and efficiency to inhibit osteosarcoma, as well as establish an innovative approach to develop targeted therapeutics by modifying natural products with aptamers for safe administration in patients.


A Joint Laboratory in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.