Melanocortin 1 receptor ligands and methods of use
The subject invention pertains to a modified MC1R peptide ligand comprising a peptide that is a melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) ligand and a functionality or linker, such as a click functionality, for conjugation to a surface or agent. The modified MC1R peptide ligand can be coupled, e.g., via a click reaction with a complementary click functionality attached, to a moiety to form an MC1R-targeted agent. Drugs, contrast agents, polymers, particles, micelles, surfaces of larger structures, or other moieties can be targeted to the MC1R. The subject invention also pertains to a MC1R peptide ligand-micelle complex comprising a peptide that is a melanocortin 1 receptor ligand connected via a click reaction product to a micelle. The micelle is stable in vivo and can target melanoma tumor cells by association of the peptide ligand with the MC1R or the tumor and selectively provide a detectable and/or therapeutic agent (such as an imageable contrast agent and/or anti-cancer agent) selectively to the tumor cell.