We report the synthesis, characterization and biological profile of new bis-triazoled cyclopolylactides (c-PLA, c-PLA-FA, c-PLA-Rhod) obtained by an optimized combination of ROP and click chemistry reactions. Cyclo-PLA having a number average molecular weight of 6000 g mol−1 and a polydispersity index of 1.52 was synthetized by click ring-closure of well-defined α,ω-heterodifunctional linear precursors, followed by quaternarization of N3-triazole nodes, and subsequent CuAAC with azido-folate and azido-rhodamine yielding jellyfish-shaped c-PLA-FA and c-PLA-Rhod. Salinomycin (Sal) was loaded into jellyfish-shaped c-PLA-FA and c-PLA-Rhod nanoparticles (NPs) by nanoprecipitation, with a good encapsulation efficiency (79% and 84%, respectively) and loading content (7.1% and 7.6%, respectively). The biological studies focused on their antiproliferative effects on osteosarcoma bulk MG63 and cancer stem cells (CSCs). The cycloPLA-based NPs, with a size ranging between 125 and 385 nm, killed CSCs and MG63, with a higher efficacy on CSCs; they (unloaded or Sal-loaded) evoked on CSCs a cellular response similar to the payload, with a higher effect than the free Sal. Internalization studies indicated a fast cellular uptake (within 2 h) and sarcospheres remained fluorescent till 72 h. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study reporting anti-CSCs properties of cycloPLA with jellyfish architecture and we believe could contribute to the development of effective strategies for osteosarcoma targeting.
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