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Intravenous targeting of anticancer agents should improve both efficacy and therapeutic index. However, rational design of targeting constructs requires detailed definition of receptor targets and must take account of polarised tissue architecture that may restrict access to chosen receptors from the bloodstream. Bacteriophage biopanning provides a solution to this problem, identifying targeting sequences by functional selection rather than design, although reiterative panning in polarized human tumours has not previously been attempted. Here, we report an ex vivo, intra-arterial method for biopanning in freshly-resected human tumours, enabling reiterative selection of oligopeptide sequences capable of intravascular targeting to human colorectal tumours. Significant consensus was observed after two rounds of panning in tumours from different patients, and lead sequences demonstrated tumour targeting in samples from unrelated patients. This novel approach may be applicable to a wide range of settings, thus enabling iteration of consensus targeting sequences for tumour imaging and selective delivery of anticancer agents.

Original publication




Journal article


J Drug Target

Publication Date





311 - 319


Arteries, Bacteriophages, Biopsy, Colorectal Neoplasms, Humans, Ligands, Oligopeptides, Peptide Library, Sequence Analysis, Protein