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Tumor-homing peptides with tissue-penetrating properties increase the efficacy of targeted cancer therapy by delivering an anticancer agent to the tumor interior. LyP-1 (CGNKRTRGC) and iRGD (CRGDKGPDC) are founding members of this class of peptides. The presence of the cysteines forming the cyclizing disulfide bond complicates conjugation of these peptides with other molecules, such as drugs. Here, we report the synthesis of conjugatable disulfide-bridged peptides and their conjugation to biologically important molecules. We have synthesized the LyP-1, iRGD, and CRGDC (GACRGDCLGA) peptides with a cysteine or maleimidohexanoic acid added externally at N-terminus of the sequences. Subsequent conjugation to payloads yielded stable compounds in which the tumor-homing properties of the peptide and the biological activity of the payload were retained.
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