bims-drudre Biomed News
on Targeted drug delivery and programmed release mechanisms
Issue of 2021‒07‒18
thirteen papers selected by
Ceren Kimna
Technical University of Munich

  1. Adv Mater. 2021 Jul 16. e2100701
      Most orally administered drugs fail to reach the intracerebral regions because of the intestinal epithelial barrier (IEB) and the blood-brain barrier (BBB), which are located between the gut and the brain. Herein, an oral prodrug delivery system that can overcome both the IEB and the BBB noninvasively is developed for treating gliomas. The prodrug is prepared by conjugating an anticancer drug on β-glucans using a disulfide-containing linker. Following oral administration in glioma-bearing mice, the as-prepared prodrug can specifically target intestinal M cells, transpass the IEB, and be phagocytosed/hitchhiked by local macrophages (Mϕ). The Mϕ-hitchhiked prodrug is transported to the circulatory system via the lymphatic system, crossing the BBB. The tumor-overexpressed glutathione then cleaves the disulfide bond within the prodrug, releasing the active drug, improving its therapeutic efficacy. These findings reveal that the developed prodrug may serve as a gut-to-brain oral drug delivery platform for the well-targeted treatment of gliomas.
    Keywords:  blood-brain barrier; glioma; intestinal epithelial barrier; macrophage hitchhiking; prodrugs
  2. ACS Nano. 2021 Jul 15.
      Technical challenges in precision medicine and environmental remediation create an increasing demand for smart materials that can select and deliver a probe load to targets with high precision. In this context, soft nanomaterials have attracted considerable attention due to their ability to simultaneously adapt their morphology and functionality to complex ambients. Two major challenges are to precisely control this adaptability under dynamic conditions and provide predesigned functionalities that can be manipulated by external stimuli. Here, we report on the computational design of a distinctive class of soft nanocarriers, built from armored nanodroplets, able to selectively encapsulate or release a probe load under specific flow conditions. First, we describe in detail the mechanisms at play in the formation of pocket-like structures in armored nanodroplets and their stability under external flow. Then we use that knowledge to test the capacity of these pockets to yield flow-assisted encapsulation or expulsion of a probe load. Finally, the rheological properties of these nanocarriers are put into perspective with those of delivery systems employed in pharmaceutical and cosmetic technology.
    Keywords:  Pickering emulsions; dissipative particle dynamics; flow-assisted encapsulation; nanocarrier; smart materials
  3. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2021 07;8(13): 2100292
      Immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) is an attractive option in cancer therapy, but its efficacy is still less than expected due to the transient and incomplete blocking and the low responsiveness. Herein, an unprecedented programmable unlocking nano-matryoshka-CRISPR system (PUN) targeting programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and protein tyrosine phosphatase N2 (PTPN2) is fabricated for permanent and complete and highly responsive immunotherapy. While PUN is inert at normal physiological conditions, enzyme-abundant tumor microenvironment and preternatural intracellular oxidative stress sequentially trigger programmable unlocking of PUN to realize a nano-matryoshka-like release of CRISPR/Cas9. The successful nucleus localization of CRISPR/Cas9 ensures the highly efficient disruption of PD-L1 and PTPN2 to unleash cascade amplified adaptive immune response via revoking the immune checkpoint effect. PD-L1 downregulation in tumor cells not only disrupts PD-1/PD-L1 interaction to attenuate the immunosurveillance evasion but also spurs potent immune T cell responses to enhance adaptive immunity. Synchronously, inhibition of JAK/STAT pathway is relieved by deleting PTPN2, which promotes tumor susceptibility to CD8+ T cells depending on IFN-γ, thus further amplifying adaptive immune responses. Combining these advances together, PUN exhibits optimal antitumor efficiency and long-term immune memory with negligible toxicity, which provides a promising alternative to current ICB therapy.
    Keywords:  CRISPR/Cas9; cancer immunotherapy; cascade amplified; nano‐matryoshka; programmable unlocking
  4. Small. 2021 Jul 14. e2102286
      Gas therapy has emerged as a new therapeutic strategy in combating cancer owing to its high therapeutic efficacy and biosafety. However, the clinical translation of gas therapy remains challenging due to the rapid diffusion and limited tissue penetration of therapeutic gases. Herein, a self-propelled, asymmetrical Au@MnO2 nanomotor for efficient delivery of therapeutic gas to deep-seated cancer tissue for enhanced efficacy of gas therapy, is reported. The Au@MnO2 nanoparticles (NPs) catalyze endogenous H2 O2 into O2 that propels NPs into deep solid tumors, where SO2 prodrug is released from the hollow NPs owing to the degradation of MnO2 shells. Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) is conjugated onto the surface of Au via caspase-3 responsive peptide (DEVD) and the therapeutic process of gas therapy can be optically self-reported by the fluorescence of FITC that is turned on in the presence of overexpressed caspase-3 as an apoptosis indicator. Au@MnO2 nanomotors show self-reported therapeutic efficacy and high biocompatibility both in vitro and in vivo, offering important new insights to the design and development of novel nanomotors for efficient payload delivery into deep tumor tissue and in situ monitoring of the therapeutic process.
    Keywords:  gas therapy; nanomotors; prodrugs; responsive release; self-reporting
  5. Adv Mater. 2021 Jul 11. e2102322
      Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a promising alternative approach for effective cancer treatment that is associated with an antitumor immune response. However, immunosuppression of the tumor microenvironment limits the immune response induced by PDT. Stimulation and proliferation of T cells is a critical step for generating immune responses and depends on the efficient presentation of tumor antigens and co-stimulatory molecules by antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Here, biomimetic aggregation-induced emission (AIE) photosensitizers with antigen-presenting and hitchhiking abilities (DC@AIEdots) are developed by coating dendritic cell (DC) membranes on the nanoaggregates of the AIEgens. Notably, the inner AIE molecules can selectively accumulate in lipid droplets of tumor cells, and the outer cell membrane can facilitate the hitchhiking of DC@AIEdots onto the endogenous T cells and enhance the tumor delivery efficiency by about 1.6 times. Furthermore, DC@AIEdots can stimulate the in vivo proliferation and activation of T cells and trigger the immune system. The potential applications of therapeutic agents targeting lipid droplets for immunotherapy are indicated and a new hitchhiking approach for drug delivery is provided. Lastly, the study presents a photoactive and artificial antigen-presenting platform for effective T cell stimulation and cancer photodynamic immunotherapy.
    Keywords:  aggregation-induced emission; antigen presenting functions; lipid droplets; photodynamic immunotherapy; photosensitizers
  6. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2021 Jul 13.
      For atherosclerosis (AS) management, a therapeutic drug intervention is the most widely used strategy. However, there are some problems such as low location specificity, high intake, and side effects. Nanomedicine can prolong the half-life of drug solubilization, reduce toxic and side effects, and improve the distribution of drug objects. Herein, to overcome the challenges, an erythrocyte-based "plug and play" nanoplatform was developed by incorporating the vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) targeting and the acid stimulus responsibility. After the function moieties conjugated with DSPE-PEG, the targeting peptide and the acid-sensitive prodrug were conveniently integrated into red blood cells' surface for enhancing target AS drug delivery and controlling local drug release. As a proof of principle, a plug and play nanoplatform with targeted drug delivery and acid-control drug release is demonstrated, achieving a marked therapeutic effect for AS.
    Keywords:  atherosclerosis; erythrocyte; plug and play; prodrug; target drug delivery
  7. Nat Commun. 2021 07 14. 12(1): 4299
      Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is clinically adopted to destruct solid tumors, but is often incapable of completely ablating large tumors and those with multiple metastatic sites. Here we develop a CaCO3-assisted double emulsion method to encapsulate lipoxidase and hemin with poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) to enhance RFA. We show the HLCaP nanoreactors (NRs) with pH-dependent catalytic capacity can continuously produce cytotoxic lipid radicals via the lipid peroxidation chain reaction using cancer cell debris as the fuel. Upon being fixed inside the residual tumors post RFA, HLCaP NRs exhibit a suppression effect on residual tumors in mice and rabbits by triggering ferroptosis. Moreover, treatment with HLCaP NRs post RFA can prime antitumor immunity to effectively suppress the growth of both residual and metastatic tumors, also in combination with immune checkpoint blockade. This work highlights that tumor-debris-fueled nanoreactors can benefit RFA by inhibiting tumor recurrence and preventing tumor metastasis.
  8. Nat Commun. 2021 07 09. 12(1): 4219
      Streptococcus pyogenes (Spy) Cas9 has potential as a component of gene therapeutics for incurable diseases. One of its limitations is its large size, which impedes its formulation and delivery in therapeutic applications. Smaller Cas9s are an alternative, but lack robust activity or specificity and frequently recognize longer PAMs. Here, we investigated four uncharacterized, smaller Cas9s and found three employing a "GG" dinucleotide PAM similar to SpyCas9. Protein engineering generated synthetic RNA-guided nucleases (sRGNs) with editing efficiencies and specificities exceeding even SpyCas9 in vitro and in human cell lines on disease-relevant targets. sRGN mRNA lipid nanoparticles displayed manufacturing advantages and high in vivo editing efficiency in the mouse liver. Finally, sRGNs, but not SpyCas9, could be packaged into all-in-one AAV particles with a gRNA and effected robust in vivo editing of non-human primate (NHP) retina photoreceptors. Human gene therapy efforts are expected to benefit from these improved alternatives to existing CRISPR nucleases.
  9. Nat Commun. 2021 07 14. 12(1): 4310
      Patients with primary and bone metastatic breast cancer have significantly reduced survival and life quality. Due to the poor drug delivery efficiency of anti-metastasis therapy and the limited response rate of immunotherapy for breast cancer, effective treatment remains a formidable challenge. In this work, engineered macrophages (Oxa(IV)@ZnPc@M) carrying nanomedicine containing oxaliplatin prodrug and photosensitizer are designed as near-infrared (NIR) light-activated drug vectors, aiming to achieve enhanced chemo/photo/immunotherapy of primary and bone metastatic tumors. Oxa(IV)@ZnPc@M exhibits an anti-tumor M1 phenotype polarization and can efficiently home to primary and bone metastatic tumors. Additionally, therapeutics inside Oxa(IV)@ZnPc@M undergo NIR triggered release, which can kill primary tumors via combined chemo-photodynamic therapy and induce immunogenic cell death simultaneously. Oxa(IV)@ZnPc@M combined with anti-PD-L1 can eliminate primary and bone metastatic tumors, activate tumor-specific antitumor immune response, and improve overall survival with limited systemic toxicity. Therefore, this all-in-one macrophage provides a treatment platform for effective therapy of primary and bone metastatic tumors.
  10. Nat Mater. 2021 Jul 15.
      Therapeutic outcomes in oncology may be aided by precision diagnostics that offer early detection, localization and the opportunity to monitor response to therapy. Here, we report a multimodal nanosensor engineered to target tumours through acidosis, respond to proteases in the microenvironment to release urinary reporters and (optionally) carry positron emission tomography probes to enable localization of primary and metastatic cancers in mouse models of colorectal cancer. We present a paradigm wherein this multimodal sensor can be employed longitudinally to assess burden of disease non-invasively, including tumour progression and response to chemotherapy. Specifically, we showed that acidosis-mediated tumour insertion enhanced on-target release of matrix metalloproteinase-responsive reporters in urine. Subsequent on-demand loading of the radiotracer 64Cu allowed pH-dependent tumour visualization, enabling enriched microenvironmental characterization when compared with the conventional metabolic tracer 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose. Through tailored target specificities, this modular platform has the capacity to be engineered as a pan-cancer test that may guide treatment decisions for numerous tumour types.
  11. Nano Lett. 2021 Jul 12.
      A minimal synthetic cell should contain a substrate for information storage and have the capability to divide. Notable efforts were made to assemble functional synthetic cells from the bottom up, however often lacking the capability to reproduce. Here, we develop a mechanism to fully control reversible cargo loading and division of DNA-containing giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) with light. We make use of the photosensitizer Chlorin e6 (Ce6) which self-assembles into lipid bilayers and leads to local lipid peroxidation upon illumination. On the time scale of minutes, illumination induces the formation of transient pores, which we exploit for cargo encapsulation or controlled release. In combination with osmosis, complete division of two daughter GUVs can be triggered within seconds of illumination due to a spontaneous curvature increase. We ultimately demonstrate the division of a selected DNA-containing GUV with full spatiotemporal control-proving the relevance of the division mechanism for bottom-up synthetic biology.
    Keywords:  Chlorin e6 (Ce6); Giant unilamellar lipid vesicle (GUV); cargo loading; lipid peroxidation; synthetic cell division
  12. Adv Mater. 2021 Jul 12. e2100176
      With all the advances in tissue engineering for construction of fully functional skin tissue, complete regeneration of chronic wounds is still challenging. Since immune reaction to the tissue damage is critical in regulating both the quality and duration of chronic wound healing cascade, strategies to modulate the immune system are of importance. Generally, in response to an injury, macrophages switch from pro-inflammatory to an anti-inflammatory phenotype. Therefore, controlling macrophages' polarization has become an appealing approach in regenerative medicine. Recently, hydrogels-based constructs, incorporated with various cellular and molecular signals, have been developed and utilized to adjust immune cell functions in various stages of wound healing. Here, the current state of knowledge on immune cell functions during skin tissue regeneration is first discussed. Recent advanced technologies used to design immunomodulatory hydrogels for controlling macrophages' polarization are then summarized. Rational design of hydrogels for providing controlled immune stimulation via hydrogel chemistry and surface modification, as well as incorporation of cell and molecules, are also dicussed. In addition, the effects of hydrogels' properties on immunogenic features and the wound healing process are summarized. Finally, future directions and upcoming research strategies to control immune responses during chronic wound healing are highlighted.
    Keywords:  biomaterials; chronic wounds; hydrogels; immune cell reprogramming; immunomodulatory therapeutics; tissue engineering
  13. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2021 07;8(13): 2100328
      Stimuli-responsive designs with exogenous stimuli enable remote and reversible control of DNA nanostructures, which break many limitations of static nanostructures and inspired development of dynamic DNA nanotechnology. Moreover, the introduction of various types of organic molecules, polymers, chemical bonds, and chemical reactions with stimuli-responsive properties development has greatly expand the application scope of dynamic DNA nanotechnology. Here, DNA assembly-based stimuli-responsive systems are reviewed, with the focus on response units and mechanisms that depend on different exogenous stimuli (DNA strand, pH, light, temperature, electricity, metal ions, etc.), and their applications in fields of nanofabrication (DNA architectures, hybrid architectures, nanomachines, and constitutional dynamic networks) and biomedical research (biosensing, bioimaging, therapeutics, and theranostics) are discussed. Finally, the opportunities and challenges for DNA assembly-based stimuli-responsive systems are overviewed and discussed.
    Keywords:  biomedical applications; dynamic DNA nanotechnology; nanofabrication; stimuli‐responsive systems