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Mouse laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (mouse LCNV) recapitulates the "wet" form of human age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) is a known inflammatory biomarker, and it increases in the choroidal neovascular tissues characteristic of this experimental model. We have designed and constructed gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) functionalized with hairpin-DNA that incorporates an antisense sequence complementary to VCAM-1 mRNA (AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs) and tested them as optical imaging probes. The 3' end of the hairpin is coupled to a near-infrared fluorophore that is quenched by the AuNP surface via Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). Hybridization of the antisense sequence to VCAM-1 mRNA displaces the fluorophore away from the AuNP surface, inducing fluorescent activity. In vitro testing showed that hAuNPs hybridize to an exogenous complementary oligonucleotide within a pH range of 4.5-7.4, and that they are stable at reduced pH. LCNV mice received tail-vein injections of AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs. Hyperspectral imaging revealed the delivery of AS-VCAM-1 hAuNPs to excised choroidal tissues. Fluorescent images of CNV lesions were obtained, presumably in response to the hybridization of AS-hAuNPs to LCNV-induced VCAM-1 mRNA. This is the first demonstration of systemic delivery of hAuNPs to ocular tissues to facilitate mRNA imaging of any target.
Cancer immunotherapies that remove checkpoint restraints on adaptive immunity are gaining clinical momentum but have not achieved widespread success in breast cancers, a tumor type considered poorly immunogenic and which harbors a decreased presence of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. Approaches that activate innate immunity in breast cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment are of increasing interest, based on their ability to induce immunogenic tumor cell death, type I IFNs, and lymphocyte-recruiting chemokines. In agreement with reports in other cancers, we observe loss, downregulation, or mutation of the innate viral nucleotide sensor retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I/) in only 1% of clinical breast cancers, suggesting potentially widespread applicability for therapeutic RIG-I agonists that activate innate immunity. This was tested using an engineered RIG-I agonist in a breast cancer cell panel representing each of three major clinical breast cancer subtypes. Treatment with RIG-I agonist resulted in upregulation and mitochondrial localization of RIG-I and activation of proinflammatory transcription factors STAT1 and NF-κB. RIG-I agonist triggered the extrinsic apoptosis pathway and pyroptosis, a highly immunogenic form of cell death in breast cancer cells. RIG-I agonist also induced expression of lymphocyte-recruiting chemokines and type I IFN, confirming that cell death and cytokine modulation occur in a tumor cell-intrinsic manner. Importantly, RIG-I activation in breast tumors increased tumor lymphocytes and decreased tumor growth and metastasis. Overall, these findings demonstrate successful therapeutic delivery of a synthetic RIG-I agonist to induce tumor cell killing and to modulate the tumor microenvironment These findings describe the first in vivo delivery of RIG-I mimetics to tumors, demonstrating a potent immunogenic and therapeutic effect in the context of otherwise poorly immunogenic breast cancers. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
IMPACT STATEMENT - Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is associated with vasospasm that is refractory to traditional vasodilators, and inhibition of vasospasm after SAH remains a large unmet clinical need. SAH causes changes in the phosphorylation state of the small heat shock proteins (HSPs), HSP20 and HSP27, in the vasospastic vessels. In this study, the levels of HSP27 and HSP20 were manipulated using nanotechnology to mimic the intracellular phenotype of SAH-induced vasospasm, and the effect of this manipulation was tested on vasomotor responses in intact tissues. This work provides insight into potential therapeutic targets for the development of more effective treatments for SAH induced vasospasm.
Serum albumin, a natural ligand carrier that is highly concentrated and long-circulating in the blood, has shown remarkable promise as a carrier for anti-cancer agents. Albumin is able to prolong the circulation half-life of otherwise rapidly cleared drugs and, importantly, promote their accumulation within tumors. The applications for using albumin as a cancer drug carrier are broad and include both traditional cancer chemotherapeutics and new classes of biologics. Strategies for leveraging albumin for drug delivery can be classified broadly into exogenous and in situ binding formulations that utilize covalent attachment, non-covalent association, or encapsulation in albumin-based nanoparticles. These methods have shown remarkable preclinical and clinical successes that are examined in this review.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Introduction - Nanoparticles are increasingly used as drug carriers for oral administration. The delivery of drug molecules is largely dependent on the interaction of nanocarriers and gastrointestinal (GI) mucus, a critical barrier that regulates drug absorption. It is therefore important to understand the effects of physical and chemical properties of nanocarriers on the interaction with GI mucus. Unfortunately, most of the nanoparticles are unable to be prepared with satisfactory structural monodispersity to comprehensively investigate the interaction. With controlled size, shape, and surface chemistry, copolymers are ideal candidates for such purpose.
Materials and methods - We synthesized a series of diblock copolymers via the atom transfer radical polymerization method and investigated the GI mucus permeability in vitro and in vivo.
Results - Our results indicated that uncharged and hydrophobic copolymers exhibited enhanced GI absorption.
Conclusion - These results provide insights into developing optimal nanocarriers for oral administration.
Herein, excipients are investigated to ameliorate the deleterious effects of lyophilization on peptide-polymer nano-polyplex (NP) morphology, cellular uptake, and bioactivity. The NPs are a previously-described platform technology for intracellular peptide delivery and are formulated from a cationic therapeutic peptide and the anionic, pH-responsive, endosomolytic polymer poly(propylacrylic acid) (PPAA). These NPs are effective when formulated and immediately used for delivery into cells and tissue, but they are not amenable to reconstitution following storage as a lyophilized powder due to aggregation. To develop a lyophilized NP format that facilitates longer-term storage and ease of use, MAPKAP kinase 2 inhibitory peptide-based NPs (MK2i-NPs) were prepared in the presence of a range of concentrations of the excipients sucrose, trehalose, and lactosucrose prior to lyophilization and storage. All excipients improved particle morphology post-lyophilization and significantly improved MK2i-NP uptake in human coronary artery smooth muscle cells relative to lyophilized NPs without excipient. In particular, MK2i-NPs lyophilized with 300 mM lactosucrose as an excipient demonstrated a 5.23 fold increase in cellular uptake (p < 0.001), a 2.52 fold increase in endosomal disruption (p < 0.05), and a 2.39 fold increase in ex vivo bioactivity (p < 0.01) compared to MK2i-NPs lyophilized without excipients. In sum, these data suggest that addition of excipients, particularly lactosucrose, maintains and even improves the uptake and therapeutic efficacy of peptide-polymer NPs post-lyophilization relative to freshly-made formulations. Thus, the use of excipients as lyoprotectants is a promising approach for the long-term storage of biotherapeutic NPs and poises this NP platform for clinical translation.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Antigen multimerization on a nanoparticle can result in improved neutralizing antibody responses. A platform that has been successfully used for displaying antigens from a number of different viruses is ferritin, a self-assembling protein nanoparticle that allows the attachment of multiple copies (24 monomers or 8 trimers) of a single antigen. Here, we design two-component ferritin variants that allow the attachment of two different antigens on a single particle in a defined ratio and geometric pattern. The two-component ferritin was specifically designed for trimeric antigens, accepting four trimers per particle for each antigen, and was tested with antigens derived from HIV-1 envelope (Env) and influenza hemagglutinin (HA). Particle formation and the presence of native-like antigen conformation were confirmed through negative-stain electron microscopy and antibody-antigen binding analysis. Immunizations in guinea pigs with two-component ferritin particles, displaying diverse Env, HA, or both antigens, elicited neutralizing antibody responses against the respective viruses. The results provide proof-of-principle for the self-assembly of a two-component nanoparticle as a general technology for multimeric presentation of trimeric antigens.
Small-molecule inhibitors of the mTORC2 kinase (torkinibs) have shown efficacy in early clinical trials. However, the torkinibs under study also inhibit the other mTOR-containing complex mTORC1. While mTORC1/mTORC2 combined inhibition may be beneficial in cancer cells, recent reports describe compensatory cell survival upon mTORC1 inhibition due to loss of negative feedback on PI3K, increased autophagy, and increased macropinocytosis. Genetic models suggest that selective mTORC2 inhibition would be effective in breast cancers, but the lack of selective small-molecule inhibitors of mTORC2 have precluded testing of this hypothesis to date. Here we report the engineering of a nanoparticle-based RNAi therapeutic that can effectively silence the mTORC2 obligate cofactor Rictor. Nanoparticle-based Rictor ablation in HER2-amplified breast tumors was achieved following intratumoral and intravenous delivery, decreasing Akt phosphorylation and increasing tumor cell killing. Selective mTORC2 inhibition , combined with the HER2 inhibitor lapatinib, decreased the growth of HER2-amplified breast cancers to a greater extent than either agent alone, suggesting that mTORC2 promotes lapatinib resistance, but is overcome by mTORC2 inhibition. Importantly, selective mTORC2 inhibition was effective in a triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) model, decreasing Akt phosphorylation and tumor growth, consistent with our findings that RICTOR mRNA correlates with worse outcome in patients with basal-like TNBC. Together, our results offer preclinical validation of a novel RNAi delivery platform for therapeutic gene ablation in breast cancer, and they show that mTORC2-selective targeting is feasible and efficacious in this disease setting. This study describes a nanomedicine to effectively inhibit the growth regulatory kinase mTORC2 in a preclinical model of breast cancer, targeting an important pathogenic enzyme in that setting that has been undruggable to date. .
©2018 American Association for Cancer Research.
Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) were functionalized for rapid binding of Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii), a Gram-negative bacterium. AuNPs were functionalized with colistin (Col), a polycationic antibiotic, using a two-step self-assembly process, in which heterobifunctional polyethylene glycol (PEG) was used as a linker. Colistin was successfully conjugated to the AuNPs (Col-PEG-AuNP), as validated by dynamic light scattering (DLS) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (H1 NMR). High angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy (HAADF-STEM) images, acquired simultaneously with X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) data, confirmed binding of Col-PEG-AuNPs to the cell envelope of A. baumannii. Results generated from a binding assay indicated that Col-PEG-AuNP complexation with A. baumannii occurred rapidly and reached half-maximum saturation in approximately 7 minutes, on average, for all A. baumannii strains evaluated. Quantitative measurement of the kinetics of Col-PEG-AuNP binding to A. baumannii is essential to inform the design of colistin-functionalized magnetic nanoparticles for magnetic separation of nanoparticle-bound A. baumannii.