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Understanding the genetic architecture of host proteins interacting with SARS-CoV-2 or mediating the maladaptive host response to COVID-19 can help to identify new or repurpose existing drugs targeting those proteins. We present a genetic discovery study of 179 such host proteins among 10,708 individuals using an aptamer-based technique. We identify 220 host DNA sequence variants acting in cis (MAF 0.01-49.9%) and explaining 0.3-70.9% of the variance of 97 of these proteins, including 45 with no previously known protein quantitative trait loci (pQTL) and 38 encoding current drug targets. Systematic characterization of pQTLs across the phenome identified protein-drug-disease links and evidence that putative viral interaction partners such as MARK3 affect immune response. Our results accelerate the evaluation and prioritization of new drug development programmes and repurposing of trials to prevent, treat or reduce adverse outcomes. Rapid sharing and detailed interrogation of results is facilitated through an interactive webserver ( https://omicscience.org/apps/covidpgwas/ ).
Background - Helper T cell activity is dysregulated in a number of diseases including those associated with rheumatic autoimmunity. Treatment options are limited and usually consist of systemic immune suppression, resulting in undesirable consequences from compromised immunity. Hedgehog (Hh) signaling has been implicated in the activation of T cells and the formation of the immune synapse, but remains understudied in the context of autoimmunity. Modulation of Hh signaling has the potential to enable controlled immunosuppression but a potential therapy has not yet been developed to leverage this opportunity.
Methods - In this work, we developed biodegradable nanoparticles to enable targeted delivery of eggmanone (Egm), a specific Hh inhibitor, to CD4 T cell subsets. We utilized two FDA-approved polymers, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) and polyethylene glycol, to generate hydrolytically degradable nanoparticles. Furthermore, we employed maleimide-thiol mediated conjugation chemistry to decorate nanoparticles with anti-CD4 F(ab') antibody fragments to enable targeted delivery of Egm.
Results - Our novel delivery system achieved a highly specific association with the majority of CD4 T cells present among a complex cell population. Additionally, we have demonstrated antigen-specific inhibition of CD4 T cell responses mediated by nanoparticle-formulated Egm.
Conclusion - This work is the first characterization of Egm's immunomodulatory potential. Importantly, this study also suggests the potential benefit of a biodegradable delivery vehicle that is rationally designed for preferential interaction with a specific immune cell subtype for targeted modulation of Hh signaling.
© 2020 Haycook et al.
Combination therapies consisting of multiple short therapeutic RNAs, such as small interfering RNA (siRNA) and microRNA (miRNA), have enormous potential in cancer treatment as they can precisely silence a specific set of oncogenes and target multiple disease-related pathways. However, clinical use of siRNA/miRNA combinations is limited by the availability of safe and efficient systemic delivery systems with sufficient tumor penetrating and endosomal escaping capabilities. This study reports on the development of multifunctional tumor-penetrating mesoporous silica nanoparticles (iMSNs) for simultaneous delivery of siRNA (siPlk1) and miRNA (miR-200c), using encapsulation of a photosensitizer indocyanine green (ICG) to facilitate endosomal escape and surface conjugation of the iRGD peptide to enable deep tumor penetration. Increased cell uptake of the nanoparticles was observed in both 3D tumor spheroids in vitro and in orthotopic MDA-MB-231 breast tumors in vivo. Using a galectin-8 recruitment assay, we showed that reactive oxygen species generated by ICG upon light irradiation functioned as an endosomolytic stimulus that caused release of the siRNA/miRNA combination from endosomes. Co-delivery of the therapeutic RNAs displayed combined cell killing activity in cancer cells. Systemic intravenous treatment of metastatic breast cancer with the iMSNs loaded with siPlk1 and miR-200c resulted in a significant suppression of the primary tumor growth and in marked reduction of metastasis upon short light irradiation of the primary tumor. This work demonstrates that siRNA-miRNA combination assisted by the photodynamic effect and tumor penetrating delivery system may provide a promising approach for metastatic cancer treatment.
Peptides and biologics provide unique opportunities to modulate intracellular targets not druggable by conventional small molecules. Most peptides and biologics are fused with cationic uptake moieties or formulated into nanoparticles to facilitate delivery, but these systems typically lack potency due to low uptake and/or entrapment and degradation in endolysosomal compartments. Because most delivery reagents comprise cationic lipids or polymers, there is a lack of reagents specifically optimized to deliver cationic cargo. Herein, we demonstrate the utility of the cytocompatible polymer poly(propylacrylic acid) (PPAA) to potentiate intracellular delivery of cationic biomacromolecules and nano-formulations. This approach demonstrates superior efficacy over all marketed peptide delivery reagents and enhances delivery of nucleic acids and gene editing ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) formulated with both commercially-available and our own custom-synthesized cationic polymer delivery reagents. These results demonstrate the broad potential of PPAA to serve as a platform reagent for the intracellular delivery of cationic cargo.
Metformin hydrochloride (Met) is the first-line drug to treat type 2 diabetes and has shown high efficiency in reducing Alzheimer's disease in recent studies. Herein, a borneol W/O/W composite submicron emulsion containing Met (B-Met-W/O/W SE) was prepared, expecting longer in-vivo circulation time, better bioavailability and brain targeting of Met drug. In the optimized formulation, the mean droplets size, polydispersity index and encapsulation efficiency of the composite were 386.5 nm, 0.219 and 87.26%, respectively. FTIR analysis confirmed that Met interacted with carriers in B-Met-W/O/W SE. Compared with Met free drug, in-vitro release of Met in B-Met-W/O/W SE delivery system was much slower. In pharmacokinetic studies in rats, the AUC, MRT and t of the B-Met-W/O/W SE system were respectively 1.27, 2.49 and 4.02-fold higher than Met free drug system. The drug-targeting index of B-Met-W/O/W SE system to the brain tissue was also higher than that of Met free drug system and Met-W/O/W SE system. These results indicated that B-Met-W/O/W SE drug delivery system is a promising candidate in treating clinical Alzheimer's disease.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Endolysosome entrapment is one of the key barriers to the therapeutic use of biologic drugs that act intracellularly. The screening of prospective nanoscale endosome-disrupting delivery technologies is currently limited by methods that are indirect and cumbersome. Here, we statistically validate Galectin 8 (Gal8) intracellular tracking as a superior approach that is direct, quantitative, and predictive of therapeutic cargo intracellular bioactivity through in vitro high-throughput screening and in vivo validation. Gal8 is a cytosolically dispersed protein that, when endosomes are disrupted, redistributes by binding to glycosylation moieties selectively located on the inner face of endosomal membranes. The quantitative redistribution of a Gal8 fluorescent fusion protein from the cytosol into endosomes is demonstrated as a real-time, live-cell assessment of endosomal integrity that does not require labeling or modification of either the carrier or the biologic drug and that allows quantitative distinction between closely related, endosome-disruptive drug carriers. Through screening two families of siRNA polymeric carrier compositions at varying dosages, we show that Gal8 endosomal recruitment correlates strongly ( r = 0.95 and p < 10) with intracellular siRNA bioactivity. Through this screen, we gathered insights into how composition and molecular weight affect endosome disruption activity of poly[(ethylene glycol)- b-[(2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate)- co-(butyl methacrylate)]] [PEG-(DMAEMA- co-BMA)] siRNA delivery systems. Additional studies showed that Gal8 recruitment predicts intracellular bioactivity better than current standard methods such as Lysotracker colocalization ( r = 0.35, not significant), pH-dependent hemolysis (not significant), or cellular uptake ( r = 0.73 and p < 10). Importantly, the Gal8 recruitment method is also amenable to fully objective high-throughput screening using automated image acquisition and quantitative image analysis, with a robust estimated Z' of 0.6 (whereas assays with Z' > 0 have high-throughput screening utility). Finally, we also provide measurements of in vivo endosomal disruption based on Gal8 visualization ( p < 0.03) of a nanocarrier formulation confirmed to produce significant cytosolic delivery and bioactivity of siRNA within tumors ( p < 0.02). In sum, this report establishes the utility of Gal8 subcellular tracking for the rapid optimization and high-throughput screening of the endosome disruption potency of intracellular delivery technologies.
Platelets can be considered as the "guardian of hemostasis" where their main function is to maintain vascular integrity. In pathological conditions, the hemostatic role of platelets may be hijacked to stimulate disease progression. In 1865, Armand Trousseau was a pioneer in establishing the platelet-cancer metastasis relationship, which he eventually termed as Trousseau's Syndrome to describe the deregulation of the hemostasis-associated pathways induced by cancer progression (Varki, Blood. 110(6):1723-9, 2007). Since these early studies, there has been an increase in experimental evidence not only to elucidate the role of platelets in cancer metastasis but also to create novel cancer therapies by targeting the platelet's impact in metastasis. In this chapter, we discuss the contribution of platelets in facilitating tumor cell transit from the primary tumor to distant metastatic sites as well as novel cancer therapies based on platelet interactions.
At least 26% of recent battlefield injuries are to the craniomaxillofacial (CMF) region. Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein 2 (rhBMP-2) is used to treat CMF open fractures, but several complications have been associated with its use. This study tested the efficacy and safety of a lower (30% recommended) dose of rhBMP-2 to treat mandibular fractures. rhBMP-2 delivered via a polyurethane (PUR) and hydroxyapatite/β-tricalcium phosphate (Mastergraft®) scaffold was evaluated in a 2 cm segmental mandibular defect in minipigs. Bone regeneration was analyzed at 4, 8, and 12 weeks postsurgery using clinical computed tomography (CT) and rhBMP-2, and inflammatory marker concentrations were analyzed in serum and surgery-site drain effluent. CT scans revealed that pigs treated with PUR-Mastergraft® + rhBMP-2 had complete bone bridging, while the negative control group showed incomplete bone-bridging (n = 6). Volumetric analysis of regenerated bone showed that the PUR-Mastergraft® + rhBMP-2 treatment generated significantly more bone than control by 4 weeks, a trend that continued through 12 weeks. Variations in inflammatory analytes were detected in drain effluent samples and saliva but not in serum, suggesting a localized healing response. Importantly, the rhBMP-2 group did not exhibit an excessive increase in inflammatory analytes compared to control. Treatment with low-dose rhBMP-2 increases bone regeneration capacity in pigs with mandibular continuity defects and restores bone quality. Negative complications from rhBMP-2, such as excessive inflammatory analyte levels, were not observed. Together, these results suggest that treatment with low-dose rhBMP-2 is efficacious and may improve safety when treating CMF open fractures. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater 107B: 1491-1503, 2019.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Macrophages are cells of the innate immune system that are resident in all tissues, including metabolic organs such as the liver and adipose tissue (AT). Because of their phenotypic flexibility, they play beneficial roles in tissue homeostasis, but they also contribute to the progression of metabolic disease. Thus, they are ideal therapeutic targets for diseases such as insulin resistance (IR), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and atherosclerosis. Recently, discoveries in the area of drug delivery have facilitated phenotype-specific targeting of macrophages. In this review we discuss advances in potential therapeutics for metabolic diseases via macrophage-specific delivery. We highlight micro- and nanoparticles, liposomes, and oligopeptide complexes, and how they can be used to alter macrophage phenotype for a more metabolically favorable tissue environment.
Published by Elsevier Ltd.
BACKGROUND - The management of peripheral nerve injuries remains a large challenge for plastic surgeons. With the inability to fuse axonal endings, results after microsurgical nerve repair have been inconsistent. Our current nerve repair strategies rely upon the slow and lengthy process of axonal regeneration (~1 mm/d). Polyethylene glycol (PEG) has been investigated as a potential axonal fusion agent; however, the percentage of axonal fusion has been inconsistent. The purpose of this study was to identify a PEG delivery device to standardize outcomes after attempted axonal fusion with PEG.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We used a rat sciatic nerve injury model in which we completely transected and repaired the left sciatic nerve to evaluate the efficacy of PEG fusion over a span of 12 weeks. In addition, we evaluated the effectiveness of a delivery device's ability to optimize results after PEG fusion.
RESULTS - We found that PEG rapidly (within minutes) restores axonal continuity as assessed by electrophysiology, fluorescent retrograde tracer, and diffusion tensor imaging. Immunohistochemical analysis shows that motor axon counts are significantly increased at 1 week, 4 weeks, and 12 weeks postoperatively in PEG-treated animals. Furthermore, PEG restored behavioral functions up to 50% compared with animals that received the criterion standard epineurial repair (control animals).
CONCLUSIONS - The ability of PEG to rapidly restore nerve function after neurotmesis could have vast implications on the clinical management of traumatic injuries to peripheral nerves.