bims-novged Biomed News
on Non-viral vectors for gene delivery
Issue of 2024‒01‒14
eleven papers selected by
the Merkel lab, Ludwig-Maximilians University

  1. Mol Ther. 2024 Jan 09. pii: S1525-0016(24)00005-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Five siRNA-based therapeutics have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including patisiran, givosiran, lumasiran, inclisiran and vutrisiran. Besides, siRNA delivery to the target site without toxicity is a big challenge for researchers, and naked-siRNA delivery possesses several challenges, including membrane impermeability, enzymatic degradation, mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS) entrapment, fast renal excretion, endosomal escape, and off-target effects. The siRNA therapeutics can silence any disease-specific gene, but their intracellular and extracellular barriers limit their clinical applications. For this purpose, several modifications have been employed to siRNA for better transfection efficiency. Still, there is a quest for better delivery systems for siRNA delivery to the target site. In recent years, nanoparticles have shown promising results in siRNA delivery with minimum toxicity and off-target effects. Patisiran is a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) based siRNA formulation for treating hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis that ultimately warrants the use of nanoparticles from different classes, especially lipid-based nanoparticles. These nanoparticles may belong to different categories, including lipid-based, polymer-based, and inorganic nanoparticles. This review briefly discusses the lipid, polymer, and inorganic nanoparticles and their sub-types for siRNA delivery. Finally, several clinical trials related to siRNA therapeutics are addressed, followed by the future prospect and conclusion.
  2. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj. 2024 Jan 05. pii: S0304-4165(24)00001-1. [Epub ahead of print]1868(3): 130558
      The effectiveness of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, especially those designed for COVID-19, relies heavily on sophisticated delivery systems that ensure efficient delivery of mRNA to target cells. A variety of nanoscale vaccine delivery systems (VDSs) have been explored for this purpose, including lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), liposomes, and polymeric nanoparticles made from biocompatible polymers such as poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), as well as viral vectors and lipid-polymer hybrid complexes. Among these, LNPs are particularly notable for their efficiency in encapsulating and protecting mRNA. These nanoscale VDSs can be engineered to enhance stability and facilitate uptake by cells. The choice of delivery system depends on factors like the specific mRNA vaccine, target cell types, stability requirements, and desired immune response. In this review, we shed light on recent advances in delivery mechanisms for self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) vaccines, emphasizing groundbreaking studies on nanoscale delivery systems aimed at improving the efficacy and safety of mRNA/saRNA vaccines.
    Keywords:  Nanoparticles; Self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) vaccines; Vaccine delivery systems; Viral and nonviral vectors; mRNA vaccines
  3. Macromol Rapid Commun. 2024 Jan 09. e2300649
      In the field of gene delivery, hydrophobic cationic copolymers hold great promise. They exhibit improved performance by effectively protecting genetic material from serum interactions while facilitating interactions with cellular membranes. However, managing cytotoxicity remains a significant challenge, prompting an investigation into suitable hydrophobic components. A particularly encouraging approach involves integrating nutrient components, like lipoic acid, which is known for its antioxidant properties and diverse cellular benefits such as cellular metabolism and growth. In this study, we synthesized a copolymer library comprising 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) and lipoic acid methacrylate (LAMA), combined with either n-butyl methacrylate (nBMA), ethyl methacrylate (EMA), or methyl methacrylate (MMA). This allowed us to probe the impact of lipoic acid incorporation and simultaneously explore the influence of pendant acyclic alkyl chain length. The inclusion of lipoic acid resulted in a notable boost in transfection efficiency while maintaining low cytotoxicity. Interestingly, higher levels of transfection efficiency were achieved in the presence of nBMA, EMA, or MMA. Nevertheless, a positive correlation between pendant acyclic alkyl chain length and cytotoxicity was observed. Consequently, P(DMAEMA-co-LAMA-co-MMA), emerged as a promising candidate. This is attributed to the optimal combination of low cytotoxic MMA and transfection-boosting LAMA, highlighting the crucial synergy between LAMA and MMA. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  alkyl chain; hydrophobic cationic polymers; lipoic acid
  4. Nat Nanotechnol. 2024 Jan 11.
      Lung carcinoma is one of the most common cancers and has one of the lowest survival rates in the world. Cytokines such as interleukin-12 (IL-12) have demonstrated considerable potential as robust tumour suppressors. However, their applications are limited due to off-target toxicity. Here we report on a strategy involving the inhalation of IL-12 messenger RNA, encapsulated within extracellular vesicles. Inhalation and preferential uptake by cancer cells results in targeted delivery and fewer systemic side effects. The IL-12 messenger RNA generates interferon-γ production in both innate and adaptive immune-cell populations. This activation consequently incites an intense activation state in the tumour microenvironment and augments its immunogenicity. The increased immune response results in the expansion of tumour cytotoxic immune effector cells, the formation of immune memory, improved antigen presentation and tumour-specific T cell priming. The strategy is demonstrated against primary neoplastic lesions and provides profound protection against subsequent tumour rechallenge. This shows the potential for locally delivered cytokine-based immunotherapies to address orthotopic and metastatic lung tumours.
  5. J Virol. 2024 Jan 09. e0162323
      IMPORTANCE: mRNA vaccine technology has proven to be a viable approach for effectively triggering immune responses that protect against or limit viral infections and disease. In our study, we synthesized a codon optimized human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) envelope (Env) mRNA that can be delivered in a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) vaccine approach. The HTLV-1 Env mRNA-LNP produced protective immune responses against viral challenge in a preclinical rabbit model. HTLV-1 is primarily transmitted through direct cell-to-cell contact, and the protection offered by mRNA vaccines in our rabbit model could have significant implications for optimizing the development of other viral vaccine candidates. This is particularly important in addressing the challenge of enhancing protection against infections that rely on cell-to-cell transmission.
    Keywords:  HTLV-1; envelope; mRNA; rabbit; retrovirus; vaccine
  6. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2024 Jan 08. 25(1): 13
      Cytotoxicity, speedy degradation, and limited cellular absorption are the foremost features influencing the successful delivery of RNAs. Chitosan (Cs) is a polymer that offers an advantage due to its bio-compatibility and biodegradable nature, making it an ideal polycationic vector for delivering siRNA. In this study, chitosan has been modified with arginine in order to increase its encapsulation of siRNA and improve cellular absorption. It was discovered that arginine and guanidino moieties could transport through membranes of cells and play an important part in membrane permeability. FTIR and 13C NMR were used to characterize the complex. These chitosan-arginine (CsAr) siRNA complexes are further encapsulated in anionic DPPC/cholesterol liposomes to combine the effects of liposome-chitosan-arginine complexes called lipopolyplexes (LCAr). Formed LCAr were investigated for their lipid/CsAr-siRNA ratios, size, zeta-potential, heparin, and serum RNase stability by agarose gel retardation, and cell uptake efficiency compared to their "parent" polyplexes. Results revealed complete lipidation of CsAr-siRNA polyplexes at lipid mass ratio 10 resulting in lipopolyplexes in the 120 to 230nm range. Polyplex entrapped ~70% of siRNA, whereas lipidation increases siRNA encapsulation to ~95%. Developed LCAr showed ~4 times less hemolytic potential as compared to the parent polyplexes at the highest siRNA dose. The CsAr-siRNA and its lipid-coated form showed enhanced cellular association as compared to the marketed Lipofectamine 2000 proving its effectiveness in siRNA delivery. CsAr-liposome conjugation is simple and safe, and serves as a robust carrier for gene transport in physiological situations without compromising transfection efficacy.
    Keywords:  arginine; chitosan; lipopolyplexes; retinal cells; siRNA
  7. Anal Chem. 2024 Jan 08.
      Lipid nanoparticle-encapsulated mRNA (LNP-mRNA) holds great promise as a novel modality for treating a broad range of diseases. The ability to quantify mRNA accurately in therapeutic products helps to ensure consistency and safety. Here, we consider a central aspect of accuracy, measurement traceability, which establishes trueness in quantity. In this study, LNP-mRNA is measured in situ using a novel liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) approach with traceable quantification. Previous works established that oligonucleotide quantification is possible through the accounting of an oligomer's fundamental nucleobases, with traceability established through common nucleobase calibrators. This sample preparation does not require mRNA extraction, detergents, or enzymes and can be achieved through direct acid hydrolysis of an LNP-mRNA product prior to an isotope dilution strategy. This results in an accurate quantitative analysis of mRNA, independent of time or place. Acid hydrolysis LC-MS is demonstrated to be amenable to measuring mRNA as both an active substance or a formulated mRNA drug product.
  8. Virus Res. 2024 Jan 09. pii: S0168-1702(24)00007-8. [Epub ahead of print] 199314
      The CRISPR/Cas system, identified as a type of bacterial adaptive immune system, have attracted significant attention due to its remarkable ability to precisely detect and eliminate foreign genetic material and nucleic acids. Expanding upon these inherent capabilities, recent investigations have unveiled the potential of reprogrammed CRISPR/Cas 9, 12, and 13 systems for treating viral infections associated with human diseases, specifically targeting DNA and RNA viruses, respectively. Of particular interest is the RNA virus responsible for the recent global outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which presents a substantial public health risk, coupled with limited efficacy of current prophylactic and therapeutic techniques. In this regard, the utilization of CRISPR/Cas technology offers a promising gene editing approach to overcome the limitations of conventional methods in managing viral infections. This comprehensive review provides an overview of the latest CRISPR/Cas-based therapeutic and vaccine strategies employed to combat human viral infections. Additionally, we discuss significant challenges and offer insights into the future prospects of this cutting-edge gene editing technology.
    Keywords:  COVID-19; CRISPR/Cas; Treatment; Vaccine; Viruses
  9. Pharm Nanotechnol. 2024 Jan 05.
      The emergence of lipid-based nanoparticulate systems has significantly reshaped the landscape of drug delivery. This review encapsulates the advancements, challenges, and potential of lipid-based nanoparticulate drug delivery in modern therapeutics. Lipid-based nanoparticles, including liposomes, lipid nanoparticles, and solid lipid nanoparticles, harness the biocompatibility and biodegradability of lipids to encapsulate and deliver a diverse range of therapeutic agents. This platform offers solutions to various drug delivery challenges, such as enhancing drug solubility and bioavailability, achieving controlled and sustained release, targeted delivery, and co-delivery of multiple agents. These nanoparticles have demonstrated potential in overcoming biological barriers, including the blood-brain barrier, mucosal barriers, and cellular barriers, enabling the delivery of drugs to previously inaccessible sites. Biocompatibility and reduced toxicity are intrinsic attributes of lipid-based nanoparticles, minimizing immune responses and systemic toxicity while promoting personalized medicine possibilities. However, challenges in formulation, stability, and regulatory approval underscore the need for ongoing research and innovation in this field.
    Keywords:  Application; Liposome; Nanoparticles; Nanotechnology; Technique; lipid nanoparticles
  10. Int J Pharm. 2024 Jan 06. pii: S0378-5173(24)00032-2. [Epub ahead of print] 123798
      Successful oral delivery of liposomes requires formulations designed to withstand harsh gastrointestinal conditions, e.g., by converting to solid-state followed by loading into gastro-resistant delivery devices. The hypothesis was that the use of dextran-trehalose mixtures for spray drying would improve the rehydration kinetics of dried liposomes. The objectives were to determine the protective capacity of trehalose-dextran dehydration precursors and to increase the concentration of liposomes in the dry formulation volume. The study successfully demonstrated that 8.5% dextran combined with 76.5% trehalose protected CAF®04 liposomes during drying, with the liposome content maintained at 15% of the dry powder. Accordingly, the rehydration kinetics were slightly improved in formulations containing up to 8.5% dextran in the dry powder volume. Additionally, a 2.4-fold increase in lipid concentration (3mM vs 7.245 mM) was achieved for spray dried CAF®04 liposomes. Ultimately, this study demonstrates the significance of trehalose as a primary carrier during spray drying of CAF®04 liposomes and highlights the advantage of incorporating small amounts of dextran to tune rehydration kinetics of spray-dried liposomes.
    Keywords:  Dextran; Liposomes; Rehydration kinetics; Solid solubility; Spray drying; Trehalose
  11. J Control Release. 2024 Jan 10. pii: S0168-3659(24)00020-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Polyethylene glycol (PEG) conjugation (PEGylation) is a well-established strategy to improve the pharmacokinetic and biocompatibility properties of a wide variety of nanomedicines and therapeutic peptides and proteins. This broad use makes PEG an attractive 'allround' candidate marker for the biodistribution of such PEGylated compounds. This paper presents the development of a novel strategy for PEG quantification in biological matrices. The methodology is based on sample hydrolysis which both decomposes the sample matrix and degrades PEGylated analytes to specific molecular fragments more suitable for detection by LC-MS/MS. Method versatility was demonstrated by applying it to a wide variety of PEGylated compounds, including polymeric poly(ethylbutyl cyanoacrylate) (PEBCA) nanoparticles, lipidic nanoparticles (Doxil®, LipImage 815™ and lipid nanoparticles for nucleic acid delivery) and the antibody Cimzia®. Method applicability was assessed by analyzing plasma and tissue samples from a comprehensive drug biodistribution study in rats, of both PEBCA and LipImage 815™ nanoparticles. The results demonstrated the method's utility for biodistribution studies on PEG. Importantly, by using the method described herein in tandem with quantification of nanoparticle payloads, we showed that this approach can provide detailed understanding of various critical aspects of the in vivo behavior of PEGylated nanomedicines, such as drug release and particle stability. Together, the presented results demonstrate the novel method as a robust, versatile and generic approach for biodistribution analysis of PEGylated therapeutics.
    Keywords:  Biodistribution; Drug release; Mass spectrometry; Nanomedicine; PEG; PEGylation; Polyethylene glycol; Stability