bims-drudre Biomed News
on Targeted drug delivery and programmed release mechanisms
Issue of 2021‒04‒25
fifteen papers selected by
Ceren Kimna
Technical University of Munich

  1. Adv Mater. 2021 Apr 19. e2100595
      Pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal malignancies, compromises the performance of traditional therapeutic regimens in the clinic because of stromal resistance to systemic drug delivery and poor prognosis caused by tumor metastasis. Therefore, a biocompatible therapeutic paradigm that can effectively inhibit pancreatic tumor growth while simultaneously eliminating tumor metastasis is urgently needed. Herein, supramolecular nanofibrils are fabricated through coassembly of clinically approved immunomodulatory thymopentin and near-infrared indocyanine green for localized photothermal immunotherapy of pancreatic tumors. The resulting long-range ordered fibrous nanodrugs show improved photophysical capabilities for fluorescence imaging and photothermal conversion and significantly promote the proliferation and differentiation of antitumor immune cells. Hence, the integration of rapid photothermal therapy and moderate immunomodulation for inhibiting tumor growth and eliminating tumor metastasis is promising. The utilization of clinically approved molecules to construct nanodrugs administered via localized injection amplifies the complementary photothermal immunotherapeutic effects of the components, creating opportunities for clinical translation as a treatment for pancreatic cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer; peptides; photosensitizers; photothermal immunotherapy; self-assembly
  2. Nano Lett. 2021 Apr 22.
      Nanovaccines have emerged as promising agents for cancer immunotherapy. However, insufficient antitumor immunity caused by inefficient antigen/adjuvant loading and complicated preparation processes are the major obstacles that limit their clinical application. Herein, two adjuvants, monophosphatidyl A (MPLA) and CpG ODN, with antigens were designed into a nanovaccine to overcome the above obstacles. This nanovaccine was constructed with adjuvants (without additional materials) through facile self-assembly, which not only ensured a high loading efficacy and desirable safety but also facilitated clinical translation for convenient fabrication. More importantly, the selected adjuvants could achieve a notable immune response through synergistic activation of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and TLR9 signaling pathways, and the resulting nanovaccine remarkably inhibited the tumor growth and prolonged the survival of tumor-implanted mice. This nanovaccine system provides an effective strategy to construct vaccines for cancer immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  cancer immunotherapy; nanovaccine; self-assembly; synergistic immune response
  3. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Apr 20.
      The mechanical properties of nanoscale drug carriers play critical roles in regulating nano-bio interactions. For example, the superior deformability of the softer nanoparticles enables them to pass through the biofilters efficiently, facilitating their long blood circulation and better tumor penetration. However, as a novel nanocarrier system, the elimination efficiency of soft nanoparticles from cells is poorly investigated. Here, we report a facile strategy to prepare soft luminescent nanoparticles through self-assembly of amphiphilic aggregation-induced emission (AIE) fluorophores. The prepared soft AIE dots exhibit strong light emission (quantum yield, ∼27.1%) and can reveal the encapsulation and excretion process of NPs in real time. The cell results showed that soft NPs can greatly increase the transfer speed of nanomaterials into cells and accelerate their elimination from cells through the sacrifice of soft AIE dots. We also show that soft AIE dots loaded with cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG) oligodeoxynucleotides can induce strong immunostimulatory effects, producing a high level of various proinflammatory cytokines including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-R, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-12. This work demonstrates a new design strategy for synthesizing a soft nanocarrier system that can deliver drugs into cells efficiently and then be eliminated from cells quickly.
    Keywords:  CpG; aggregation-induced emission; immunostimulation; nanomechanics; nano−bio interactions
  4. Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 23. 12(1): 2425
      Anti-programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibodies are currently used in the clinic to interupt the PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint, which reverses T cell dysfunction/exhaustion and shows success in treating cancer. Here, we report a histone demethylase inhibitor, 5-carboxy-8-hydroxyquinoline (IOX1), which inhibits tumour histone demethylase Jumonji domain-containing 1A (JMJD1A) and thus downregulates its downstream β-catenin and subsequent PD-L1, providing an antibody-independent paradigm interrupting the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint. Synergistically, IOX1 inhibits cancer cells' P-glycoproteins (P-gp) through the JMJD1A/β-catenin/P-gp pathway and greatly enhances doxorubicin (DOX)-induced immune-stimulatory immunogenic cell death. As a result, the IOX1 and DOX combination greatly promotes T cell infiltration and activity and significantly reduces tumour immunosuppressive factors. Their liposomal combination reduces the growth of various murine tumours, including subcutaneous, orthotopic, and lung metastasis tumours, and offers a long-term immunological memory function against tumour rechallenging. This work provides a small molecule-based potent cancer chemo-immunotherapy.
  5. Adv Healthc Mater. 2021 Apr 18. e2100333
      Cationic therapeutic peptides have received widespread attention due to their excellent antibacterial and antitumor properties. However, most of these peptides have undesirable delivery efficiency and high hemolytic toxicity due to the positively charged α-helix structure containing many lysine and arginine, which may restrict its in vivo applications. Herein, a conformationally transformed therapeutic peptide Pep-HCO3 modified with bicarbonates on guanidine groups is designed. Such a design allows Pep-HCO3 ((nap-RAGLQFPVGRLLRRLLRRLLR) nHCO3 ) to self-assemble into nanoparticles (NP-Pep) due to disrupting helix folding and the formation of intermolecular hydrogen bonding between bicarbonates and guanidine groups. When pH is from 7.4 to 6.5 at the tumor sites, guanidine bicarbonate can be hydrolyzed to form CO2 and guanidine groups, resulting in the disassembling of the NP-Pep into monomers α-Pep with a positively charged α-helix structure. In vivo, NP-Pep not only inhibits the tumor growth of xenografted mice with a twofold enhanced inhibition rate compared with α-Pep treatment group, but also significantly reduces the hemolytic toxicity by responding to the pH of tumor microenvironment. Therefore, the strategy of conformational transition-triggered disassembly of nanoparticles allows efficient delivery of cationic therapeutic peptides and lowering the hemolytic toxicity, which may provide an avenue for developing high-performance cationic peptide in vivo applications.
    Keywords:  conformational transition; peptides; self-assembly; therapy; tumor microenvironment responsiveness
  6. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Apr 21.
      Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) of M2 phenotype have mediated the immunosuppression in a tumor microenvironment, facilitating the escape of tumor cells from immunosurveillance. Reprograming the immunosuppressive M2 TAMs to immunostimulatory M1 phenotype can activate the antitumor immune responses for cancer immunotherapy. Herein, hollow iron oxide (Fe3O4) nanoparticles (NPs) were employed to reprogram M2 TAMs toward M1 TAMs, aiming to release proinflammatory cytokines and recruit T cells to kill tumor cells. After loaded with l-arginine (l-Arg) and sealed with poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), hollow Fe3O4 NPs were fabricated into LPFe3O4 NPs, which could release l-Arg based on pH-responsive PAA and produce nitric oxide (NO) with the help of nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) overexpressed by M1 TAMs, as a result of additional tumor elimination for gas therapy. In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that LPFe3O4 NPs could effectively reprogram M2 to M1 macrophages, activating T cells, releasing TNF-α, and producing high levels of NO, leading to synergistic tumor therapy.
    Keywords:  iron oxide; macrophage; nanoparticles; reprograming; tumor microenvironment
  7. Nano Lett. 2021 Apr 23.
      Chemo-immunotherapy combination effect remains to be a great challenge due to the poor tumor penetration of therapeutic agents that resulted from condensed extracellular matrix (ECM), T cell-related immune escape, and thus the potential recurrence. Herein, a helix self-assembly camptothecin (CPT) prodrug with simultaneous physical and physiological tumor penetration was constructed to realize effective chemo-immunotherapy. Specifically, CPT was modified with arginine to self-assemble into nanofibers to physically improve tumor penetration. Two plasmids, pshPD-L1 and pSpam1 for expressing small hairpin RNA PD-L1 and hyaluronidase, respectively, were loaded to down-regulate tumor surface PD-L1 expression for converting anergic state of T cells into the tumor-reactive T cells and produce hyaluronidase to physiologically degrade ECM for further enhanced tumor penetration. Moreover, the degraded ECM could also increase immune cells' infiltration into tumor sites, which may exert a synergistic antitumor immunity combined with immune checkpoint inhibition. Such a nanomedicine could cause significant inhibition of primary, distant tumors, and effective prevention of tumor recurrence.
    Keywords:  Camptothecin prodrug; chemo-immunotherapy; gene therapy; nanofiber
  8. Sci Adv. 2021 Apr;pii: eabe0143. [Epub ahead of print]7(17):
      Vascular-targeted drug carriers must localize to the wall (i.e., marginate) and adhere to a diseased endothelium to achieve clinical utility. The particle size has been reported as a critical physical property prescribing particle margination in vitro and in vivo blood flows. Different transport process steps yield conflicting requirements-microparticles are optimal for margination, but nanoparticles are better for intracellular or tissue delivery. Here, we evaluate deformable hydrogel microparticles as carriers for transporting nanoparticles to a diseased vascular wall. Depending on microparticle modulus, nanoparticle-loaded poly(ethylene glycol)-based hydrogel microparticles delivered significantly more 50-nm nanoparticles to the vessel wall than freely injected nanoparticles alone, resulting in >3000% delivery increase. This work demonstrates the benefit of optimizing microparticles' efficient margination to enhance nanocarriers' transport to the vascular wall.
  9. Acta Biomater. 2021 Apr 17. pii: S1742-7061(21)00261-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      The sublingual mucosa is an appealing route for drug administration. However, in the context of increased use of therapeutic proteins, development of protein delivery systems that will protect the protein bioactivity is needed. As proteins are fragile and complex molecules, current sublingual formulations of proteins are in liquid dosage. Yet, protein dilution and short residence time at the sublingual mucosa are the main barriers for the control of the dose that is delivered. In this work, a simple delivery scaffold based on the assembly of two polysaccharides, chitosan and hyaluronic acid, is presented. The natural polymers were assembled by the Layer-by-Layer methodology to produce a mucoadhesive and oro-dispersible freestanding membrane, shown to be innocuous for epithelial human cells. The functionalization of the membrane with proteins led to the production of a bioactive patch with efficient loading and release of proteins, and suitable mechanical properties for manipulation. Sublingual administration of the patch in mouse evidenced the absence of inflammation and an extended time of contact between the model protein ovalbumin and the mucosa compared to liquid formulation. The delivery of fluorescent ovalbumin in mouse sublingual mucosa demonstrated the penetration of the protein in the epithelium 10 minutes after the patch administration. Moreover, a migration assay with a chemokine incorporated into the patch showed no decrease in bioactivity of the loaded protein after enzymatic release. This study therefore provides a promising strategy to develop a sublingual protein delivery system. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Although the oral route is largely used for drug delivery, it has limitations for the delivery of proteins that can be degraded by pH or gastric enzymes. The sublingual route therefore appears as an interesting approach for protein administration. In this work, a simple delivery scaffold is presented based on the assembly of two polysaccharides by the Layer-by-Layer methodology to produce a mucoadhesive patch. The produced patch allowed efficient loading and release of proteins, as well as protection of their bioactivity. An extended time of contact between the protein and the mucosa compared to liquid formulation was highlighted in mouse model. This study provides a promising strategy to develop a sublingual protein delivery system.
    Keywords:  Freestanding membrane; Layer-by-layer; Polysaccharide; Protein delivery; Sublingual mucosa
  10. Oncol Lett. 2021 Jun;21(6): 438
      Pancreatic cancer is a highly malignant type of cancer and its treatment remains a major challenge. The novel recombinant protein TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-Mu3 has been shown to exert stronger tumor inhibitory effects in colon cancer in vitro and in vivo compared with TRAIL. The present study investigated the antitumor effects of TRAIL-Mu3 on pancreatic cancer cells, and the possible mechanisms were further examined. Compared with TRAIL, TRAIL-Mu3 exhibited significantly higher cytotoxic effects on pancreatic cancer cell lines. The inhibitory effect of TRAIL-Mu3 on the viability of PANC-1 cells was shown to be a caspase-dependent process. The affinity of TRAIL-Mu3 to PANC-1 cell membranes was significantly enhanced compared with TRAIL. In addition, TRAIL-Mu3 upregulated death receptor (DR) expression in PANC-1 cells and promoted the redistribution of DR5 in lipid rafts. Western blotting results demonstrated that TRAIL-Mu3 activated the caspase cascade in a faster and more efficient manner compared with TRAIL in PANC-1 cells. Therefore, TRAIL-Mu3 enhanced the antitumor effects in pancreatic cancer cells by strengthening the apoptotic signaling pathway. The present study indicated the potential of TRAIL-Mu3 for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
    Keywords:  TRAIL-Mu3; apoptosis; death receptor; pancreatic cancer; tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)
  11. Adv Mater. 2021 Apr 19. e2100398
      An ideal nanotheranostic agent should be able to achieve efficient tumor accumulation, retention, and fast elimination after its theranostic functions exhausts. However, there is an irreconcilable contradiction on optimum sizes for effective tumor retention and fast elimination. Herein, a programmed size-changeable nanotheranostic agent based on polyprodrug-modified iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) and aggregation-induced emission photosensitizer is developed for enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided chemo/photodynamic combination therapy. The nano-sized theranostic agents with an initial diameter of about 90 nm can accumulate in tumor tissue through passive targeting. In the acidic tumor microenvironment, large aggregates of IONPs are formed, realizing enhanced tumor retention and MR signal enhancement. Under the guidance of MRI, light irradiation is applied to the tumor site for triggering the generation of reactive oxygen species and drug release. Moreover, after chemo/photodynamic combination therapy, the large-sized aggregates are re-dispersed into small-sized IONPs for fast elimination, reducing the risk of toxicity caused by long-term retention. Therefore, this study provides a promising size-changeable strategy for the development of nanotheranostic agents.
    Keywords:  fast elimination; magnetic resonance imaging; nanotheranostics; photodynamic therapy; polyprodrugs
  12. Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 23. 12(1): 2419
      Chronic inflammation can drive tumor development. Here, we have identified microRNA-146a (miR-146a) as a major negative regulator of colonic inflammation and associated tumorigenesis by modulating IL-17 responses. MiR-146a-deficient mice are susceptible to both colitis-associated and sporadic colorectal cancer (CRC), presenting with enhanced tumorigenic IL-17 signaling. Within myeloid cells, miR-146a targets RIPK2, a NOD2 signaling intermediate, to limit myeloid cell-derived IL-17-inducing cytokines and restrict colonic IL-17. Accordingly, myeloid-specific miR-146a deletion promotes CRC. Moreover, within intestinal epithelial cells (IECs), miR-146a targets TRAF6, an IL-17R signaling intermediate, to restrict IEC responsiveness to IL-17. MiR-146a within IECs further suppresses CRC by targeting PTGES2, a PGE2 synthesis enzyme. IEC-specific miR-146a deletion therefore promotes CRC. Importantly, preclinical administration of miR-146a mimic, or small molecule inhibition of the miR-146a targets, TRAF6 and RIPK2, ameliorates colonic inflammation and CRC. MiR-146a overexpression or miR-146a target inhibition represent therapeutic approaches that limit pathways converging on tumorigenic IL-17 signaling in CRC.
  13. Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 22. 12(1): 2390
      The mitochondrion is an important sub-cellular organelle responsible for the cellular energetic source and processes. Owing to its unique sensitivity to heat and reactive oxygen species, the mitochondrion is an appropriate target for photothermal and photodynamic treatment for cancer. However, targeted delivery of therapeutics to mitochondria remains a great challenge due to their location in the sub-cellular compartment and complexity of the intracellular environment. Herein, we report a class of the mitochondrion-targeted liposomal delivery platform consisting of a guanidinium-based dendritic peptide moiety mimicking mitochondrion protein transmembrane signaling to exert mitochondrion-targeted delivery with pH sensitive and charge-reversible functions to enhance tumor accumulation and cell penetration. Compared to the current triphenylphosphonium (TPP)-based mitochondrion targeting system, this dendritic lipopeptide (DLP) liposomal delivery platform exhibits about 3.7-fold higher mitochondrion-targeted delivery efficacy. Complete tumor eradication is demonstrated in mice bearing 4T1 mammary tumors after combined photothermal and photodynamic therapies delivered by the reported DLP platform.
  14. Sci Adv. 2021 Apr;pii: eabc1323. [Epub ahead of print]7(17):
      Existing three-dimensional (3D) culture techniques are limited by trade-offs between throughput, capacity for high-resolution imaging in living state, and geometric control. Here, we introduce a modular microscale hanging drop culture where simple design elements allow high replicates for drug screening, direct on-chip real-time or high-resolution confocal microscopy, and geometric control in 3D. Thousands of spheroids can be formed on our microchip in a single step and without any selective pressure from specific matrices. Microchip cultures from human LN229 glioblastoma and patient-derived mouse xenograft cells retained genomic alterations of originating tumors based on mate pair sequencing. We measured response to drugs over time with real-time microscopy on-chip. Last, by engineering droplets to form predetermined geometric shapes, we were able to manipulate the geometry of cultured cell masses. These outcomes can enable broad applications in advancing personalized medicine for cancer and drug discovery, tissue engineering, and stem cell research.
  15. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Apr 13. pii: e2018627118. [Epub ahead of print]118(15):
      Complement protein C3dg, a key linkage between innate and adaptive immunity, is capable of stimulating both humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, leading to considerable interest in its use as a molecular adjuvant. However, the potential of C3dg as an adjuvant is limited without ways of controllably assembling multiple copies of it into vaccine platforms. Here, we report a strategy to assemble C3dg into supramolecular nanofibers with excellent compositional control, using β-tail fusion tags. These assemblies were investigated as therapeutic active immunotherapies, which may offer advantages over existing biologics, particularly toward chronic inflammatory diseases. Supramolecular assemblies based on the Q11 peptide system containing β-tail-tagged C3dg, B cell epitopes from TNF, and the universal T cell epitope PADRE raised strong antibody responses against both TNF and C3dg, and prophylactic immunization with these materials significantly improved protection in a lethal TNF-mediated inflammation model. Additionally, in a murine model of psoriasis induced by imiquimod, the C3dg-adjuvanted nanofiber vaccine performed as well as anti-TNF monoclonal antibodies. Nanofibers containing only β-tail-C3dg and lacking the TNF B cell epitope also showed improvements in both models, suggesting that supramolecular C3dg, by itself, played an important therapeutic role. We observed that immunization with β-tail-C3dg caused the expansion of an autoreactive C3dg-specific T cell population, which may act to dampen the immune response, preventing excessive inflammation. These findings indicate that molecular assemblies displaying C3dg warrant further development as active immunotherapies.
    Keywords:  active immunotherapy; immune engineering; immunoengineering; self-assembly; vaccine