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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.
Breast cancer patients are at high risk for bone metastasis. Metastatic bone disease is a major clinical problem that leads to a reduction in mobility, increased risk of pathologic fracture, severe bone pain, and other skeletal-related events. The transcription factor Gli2 drives expression of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), which activates osteoclast-mediated bone destruction, and previous studies showed that Gli2 genetic repression in bone-metastatic tumor cells significantly reduces tumor-induced bone destruction. Small molecule inhibitors of Gli2 have been identified; however, the lipophilicity and poor pharmacokinetic profile of these compounds have precluded their success . In this study, we designed a bone-targeted nanoparticle (BTNP) comprising an amphiphilic diblock copolymer of poly[(propylene sulfide)--(alendronate acrylamide--,-dimethylacrylamide)] [PPS--P(Aln--DMA)] to encapsulate and preferentially deliver a small molecule Gli2 inhibitor, GANT58, to bone-associated tumors. The mol % of the bisphosphonate Aln in the hydrophilic polymer block was varied in order to optimize BTNP targeting to tumor-associated bone by a combination of nonspecific tumor accumulation (presumably through the enhanced permeation and retention effect) and active bone binding. Although 100% functionalization with Aln created BTNPs with strong bone binding, these BTNPs had highly negative zeta-potential, resulting in shorter circulation time, greater liver uptake, and less distribution to metastatic tumors in bone. However, 10 mol % of Aln in the hydrophilic block generated a formulation with a favorable balance of systemic pharmacokinetics and bone binding, providing the highest bone/liver biodistribution ratio among formulations tested. In an intracardiac tumor cell injection model of breast cancer bone metastasis, treatment with the lead candidate GANT58-BTNP formulation decreased tumor-associated bone lesion area 3-fold and increased bone volume fraction in the tibiae of the mice 2.5-fold. Aln conferred bone targeting to the GANT58-BTNPs, which increased GANT58 concentration in the tumor-associated bone relative to untargeted NPs, and also provided benefit through the direct antiresorptive therapeutic function of Aln. The dual benefit of the Aln in the BTNPs was supported by the observations that drug-free Aln-containing BTNPs improved bone volume fraction in bone-tumor-bearing mice, while GANT58-BTNPs created better therapeutic outcomes than both unloaded BTNPs and GANT58-loaded untargeted NPs. These findings suggest GANT58-BTNPs have potential to potently inhibit tumor-driven osteoclast activation and resultant bone destruction in patients with bone-associated tumor metastases.
The overexpression of immunomarker programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and engagement of PD-1 to its ligand, PD-L1, are involved in the functional impairment of cluster of differentiation 8 (CD8) T cells, contributing to cancer progression. However, heterogeneities in PD-L1 expression and variabilities in biopsy-based assays render current approaches inaccurate in predicting PD-L1 status. Therefore, PD-L1 screening alone is not predictive of patient response to treatment, which motivates us to simultaneously detect multiple immunomarkers engaged in immune modulation. Here, we have developed multimodal probes, immunoactive gold nanostars (IGNs), that accurately detect PD-L1 tumor cells and CD8 T cells simultaneously , surpassing the limitations of current immunoimaging techniques. IGNs integrate the whole-body imaging of positron emission tomography with high sensitivity and multiplexing of Raman spectroscopy, enabling the dynamic tracking of both immunomarkers. IGNs also monitor response to immunotherapies in mice treated with combinatorial PD-L1 and CD137 agonists and distinguish responders from those nonresponsive to treatment. Our results showed a multifunctional nanoscale probe with capabilities that cannot be achieved with either modality alone, allowing multiplexed immunologic tumor profiling critical for predicting early response to immunotherapies.
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.
Solid tumors frequently metastasize to bone and induce bone destruction leading to severe pain, fractures, and other skeletal-related events (SREs). Osteoclast inhibitors such as bisphosphonates delay SREs but do not prevent skeletal complications or improve overall survival. Because bisphosphonates can cause adverse side effects and are contraindicated for some patients, we sought an alternative therapy to reduce tumor-associated bone destruction. Our previous studies identified the transcription factor Gli2 as a key regulator of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), which is produced by bone metastatic tumor cells to promote osteoclast-mediated bone destruction. In this study, we tested the treatment effect of a Gli antagonist GANT58, which inhibits Gli2 nuclear translocation and PTHrP expression in tumor cells. In initial testing, GANT58 did not have efficacy in vivo due to its low water solubility and poor bioavailability. We therefore developed a micellar nanoparticle (NP) to encapsulate and colloidally stabilize GANT58, providing a fully aqueous, intravenously injectable formulation based on the polymer poly(propylene sulfide)-b-poly[(oligoethylene glycol) methyl ether acrylate] (PPS-b-POEGA). POEGA forms the hydrophilic NP surface while PPS forms the hydrophobic NP core that sequesters GANT58. In response to reactive oxygen species (ROS), PPS becomes hydrophilic and degrades to enable drug release. In an intratibial model of breast cancer bone metastasis, treatment with GANT58-NPs decreased bone lesion area by 49% (p<.01) and lesion number by 38% (p<.05) and resulted in a 2.5-fold increase in trabecular bone volume (p<.001). Similar results were observed in intracardiac and intratibial models of breast and lung cancer bone metastasis, respectively. Importantly, GANT58-NPs reduced tumor cell proliferation but did not alter mesenchymal stem cell proliferation or osteoblast mineralization in vitro, nor was there evidence of cytotoxicity after repeated in vivo treatment. Thus, inhibition of Gli2 using GANT58-NPs is a potential therapy to reduce bone destruction that should be considered for further testing and development toward clinical translation.
Published by Elsevier B.V.
Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the deadliest diseases, causing ∼2 million deaths annually worldwide. bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the only TB vaccine in common use, is effective against disseminated and meningeal TB in young children but is not effective against adult pulmonary TB. T helper 1 (Th1) cells producing interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and Th17 cells producing interleukin-17 (IL-17) play key roles in host protection against TB, whereas Th2 cells producing IL-4 and regulatory T cells (Tregs) facilitate TB disease progression by inhibiting protective Th1 and Th17 responses. Furthermore, the longevity of vaccine efficacy critically depends on the magnitude of long-lasting central memory T (T) cell responses. Hence, immunomodulators that promote T responses of the Th1 and Th17 cell lineages may improve BCG vaccine efficacy. Here, we show that curcumin nanoparticles enhance various antigen-presenting cell (APC) functions, including autophagy, costimulatory activity, and the production of inflammatory cytokines and other mediators. We further show that curcumin nanoparticles enhance the capacity of BCG to induce T cells of the Th1 and Th17 lineages, which augments host protection against TB infection. Thus, curcumin nanoparticles hold promise for enhancing the efficacy of TB vaccines.
Copyright © 2019 Ahmad et al.
PURPOSE - To assess whether BIO 300, a synthetic genistein nanosuspension, improves the therapeutic index in prostate cancer treatment by preventing radiation-induced erectile dysfunction (ED) without reducing tumor radiosensitivity.
METHODS AND MATERIALS - Male Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to 25 Gy of 220-kV prostate-confined x-rays. Animals were randomized to receive sham radiation therapy (RT), RT alone, RT with daily BIO 300 at 2 experimental dosing regimens, or RT with daily genistein. Erectile response was evaluated over time. Penile shaft tissue was harvested for histologic analyses. Murine xenograft studies using prostate cancer cell lines determined the effects of BIO 300 dosing on RT efficacy.
RESULTS - Prostate-confined RT significantly decreased apomorphine-induced erectile response (P < .05 vs sham RT). Erection frequency in animals receiving prophylactic treatment with BIO 300 starting 3 days before RT was similar to sham controls after RT. Treatment with synthetic genistein did not mitigate loss in erectile frequency. At week 14, post-RT treatment with BIO 300 resulted in significantly higher quality of erectile function compared with both the RT arm and the RT arm receiving genistein starting 3 days before irradiation (P < .05). In hormone-sensitive and insensitive prostate tumor-bearing mice, BIO 300 administration did not negatively affect radiation-induced tumor growth delay.
CONCLUSIONS - BIO 300 prevents radiation-induced ED, measured by erection frequency, erectile function, and erection quality, when administered 3 days before RT and continued daily for up to 14 weeks. Data also suggest that BIO 300 administered starting 2 hours after RT mitigates radiation-induced ED. Data provide strong nonclinical evidence to support clinical translation of BIO 300 for mitigation of ED while maintaining treatment response to RT.
Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Inc.
Exomeres are a recently discovered type of extracellular nanoparticle with no known biological function. Herein, we describe a simple ultracentrifugation-based method for separation of exomeres from exosomes. Exomeres are enriched in Argonaute 1-3 and amyloid precursor protein. We identify distinct functions of exomeres mediated by two of their cargo, the β-galactoside α2,6-sialyltransferase 1 (ST6Gal-I) that α2,6- sialylates N-glycans, and the EGFR ligand, amphiregulin (AREG). Functional ST6Gal-I in exomeres can be transferred to cells, resulting in hypersialylation of recipient cell-surface proteins including β1-integrin. AREG-containing exomeres elicit prolonged EGFR and downstream signaling in recipient cells, modulate EGFR trafficking in normal intestinal organoids, and dramatically enhance the growth of colonic tumor organoids. This study provides a simplified method of exomere isolation and demonstrates that exomeres contain and can transfer functional cargo. These findings underscore the heterogeneity of nanoparticles and should accelerate advances in determining the composition and biological functions of exomeres.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Conventional radiation therapy of brain tumors often produces cognitive deficits, particularly in children. We investigated the potential efficacy of merging Orthovoltage X-ray Minibeams (OXM). It segments the beam into an array of parallel, thin (~0.3 mm), planar beams, called minibeams, which are known from synchrotron x-ray experiments to spare tissues. Furthermore, the slight divergence of the OXM array make the individual minibeams gradually broaden, thus merging with their neighbors at a given tissue depth to produce a solid beam. In this way the proximal tissues, including the cerebral cortex, can be spared. Here we present experimental results with radiochromic films to characterize the method's dosimetry. Furthermore, we present our Monte Carlo simulation results for physical absorbed dose, and a first-order biologic model to predict tissue tolerance. In particular, a 220-kVp orthovoltage beam provides a 5-fold sharper lateral penumbra than a 6-MV x-ray beam. The method can be implemented in arc-scan, which may include volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT). Finally, OXM's low beam energy makes it ideal for tumor-dose enhancement with contrast agents such as iodine or gold nanoparticles, and its low cost, portability, and small room-shielding requirements make it ideal for use in the low-and-middle-income countries.