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1.  A self-contained enzyme activating prodrug cytotherapy for preclinical melanoma 
Molecular biology reports  2011;39(1):157-165.
Gene-directed enzyme prodrug therapy (GDEPT) has been investigated as a means of cancer treatment without affecting normal tissues. This system is based on the delivery of a suicide gene, a gene encoding an enzyme which is able to convert its substrate from non-toxic prodrug to cytotoxin. In this experiment, we have developed a targeted suicide gene therapeutic system that is completely contained within tumor-tropic cells and have tested this system for melanoma therapy in a preclinical model. First, we established double stable RAW264.7 monocyte/macrophage-like cells (Mo/Ma) containing a Tet-On® Advanced system for intracellular carboxylesterase (InCE) expression. Second, we loaded a prodrug into the delivery cells, double stable Mo/Ma. Third, we activated the enzyme system to convert the prodrug, irinotecan, to the cytotoxin, SN-38. Our double stable Mo/Ma homed to the lung melanomas after 1 day and successfully delivered the prodrug-activating enzyme/prodrug package to the tumors. We observed that our system significantly reduced tumor weights and numbers as targeted tumor therapy after activation of the InCE. Therefore, we propose that this system may be a useful targeted melanoma therapy system for pulmonary metastatic tumors with minimal side effects, particularly if it is combined with other treatments.
doi:10.1007/s11033-011-0720-7
PMCID: PMC3222711  PMID: 21567204
B16-F10; Mouse lung melanoma; Mouse monocytes; Targeted cell delivery; Suicide therapy
2.  A Cell-Delivered and –Activated SN38-Dextran Prodrug Increases Survival in a Murine Disseminated Pancreatic Cancer Model 
Enzyme activated prodrugs have been investigated and sought after as highly specific, low side effect treatments, especially for cancer therapy. Unfortunately, excellent targets for enzyme activated therapy are rare. Here we demonstrate a system based on cell delivery that can carry both a prodrug and an activating enzyme to the cancer site. Raw264.7 cells (mouse monocyte/macrophage like cells, Mo/Ma) were engineered to express intracellular rabbit carboxylesterase (InCE), which is a potent activator of the prodrug irinotecan to SN38. InCE expression was regulated by the TetOn® system, which silences the gene unless a tetracycline, such as doxycycline, is present. Concurrently, an irinotecan-like prodrug, conjugated to dextran, was synthesized that could be loaded into the cytoplasm of Mo/Ma. To test the system, a murine pancreatic cancer model was generated by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of Pan02 cells. Engineered Mo/Ma were loaded with the prodrug and were injected i.p. Two days later, doxycycline was given i.p. to activate InCE, which activated the prodrug. A survival study demonstrated that this system significantly increased survival in a murine pancreatic cancer model. Thus, for the first time, a prodrug/activating enzyme system self-contained within tumor-homing cells has been demonstrated that can prolong the life of i.p. pancreatic tumor bearing mice.
doi:10.1002/smll.201101879
PMCID: PMC3583224  PMID: 22238072
Prodrug Therapy; Cytotherapy; Pancreatic Cancer; Cancer Targeting
3.  Selective targeting of melanoma by PEG-masked protein-based multifunctional nanoparticles 
Video abstract
Video
Background
Nanoparticle-based systems are promising for the development of imaging and therapeutic agents. The main advantage of nanoparticles over traditional systems lies in the possibility of loading multiple functionalities onto a single molecule, which are useful for therapeutic and/or diagnostic purposes. These functionalities include targeting moieties which are able to recognize receptors overexpressed by specific cells and tissues. However, targeted delivery of nanoparticles requires an accurate system design. We present here a rationally designed, genetically engineered, and chemically modified protein-based nanoplatform for cell/tissue-specific targeting.
Methods
Our nanoparticle constructs were based on the heavy chain of the human protein ferritin (HFt), a highly symmetrical assembly of 24 subunits enclosing a hollow cavity. HFt-based nanoparticles were produced using both genetic engineering and chemical functionalization methods to impart several functionalities, ie, the α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone peptide as a melanoma-targeting moiety, stabilizing and HFt-masking polyethylene glycol molecules, rhodamine fluorophores, and magnetic resonance imaging agents. The constructs produced were extensively characterized by a number of physicochemical techniques, and assayed for selective melanoma-targeting in vitro and in vivo.
Results
Our HFt-based nanoparticle constructs functionalized with the α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone peptide moiety and polyethylene glycol molecules were specifically taken up by melanoma cells but not by other cancer cell types in vitro. Moreover, experiments in melanoma-bearing mice indicate that these constructs have an excellent tumor-targeting profile and a long circulation time in vivo.
Conclusion
By masking human HFt with polyethylene glycol and targeting it with an α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone peptide, we developed an HFt-based melanoma-targeting nanoplatform for application in melanoma diagnosis and treatment. These results could be of general interest, because the same strategy can be exploited to develop ad hoc nanoplatforms for specific delivery towards any cell/tissue type for which a suitable targeting moiety is available.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S28242
PMCID: PMC3356193  PMID: 22619508
multifunctional nanoparticles; ferritin; nanoplatform; cancer-targeting; melanoma
4.  Cell-delivered magnetic nanoparticles caused hyperthermia-mediated increased survival in a murine pancreatic cancer model 
Using magnetic nanoparticles to absorb alternating magnetic field energy as a method of generating localized hyperthermia has been shown to be a potential cancer treatment. This report demonstrates a system that uses tumor homing cells to actively carry iron/iron oxide nanoparticles into tumor tissue for alternating magnetic field treatment. Paramagnetic iron/ iron oxide nanoparticles were synthesized and loaded into RAW264.7 cells (mouse monocyte/ macrophage-like cells), which have been shown to be tumor homing cells. A murine model of disseminated peritoneal pancreatic cancer was then generated by intraperitoneal injection of Pan02 cells. After tumor development, monocyte/macrophage-like cells loaded with iron/ iron oxide nanoparticles were injected intraperitoneally and allowed to migrate into the tumor. Three days after injection, mice were exposed to an alternating magnetic field for 20 minutes to cause the cell-delivered nanoparticles to generate heat. This treatment regimen was repeated three times. A survival study demonstrated that this system can significantly increase survival in a murine pancreatic cancer model, with an average post-tumor insertion life expectancy increase of 31%. This system has the potential to become a useful method for specifically and actively delivering nanoparticles for local hyperthermia treatment of cancer.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S28344
PMCID: PMC3265998  PMID: 22287840
cytotherapy; pancreatic cancer; disseminated peritoneal carcinomatosis; targeted magnetic hyperthermia; nanoparticles
5.  Polyethylene Glycol Modified, Cross-Linked Starch Coated Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Enhanced Magnetic Tumor Targeting 
Biomaterials  2010;32(8):2183-2193.
While successful magnetic tumor targeting of iron oxide nanoparticles has been achieved in a number of models, the rapid blood clearance of magnetically suitable particles by the reticuloendothelial system (RES) limits their availability for targeting. This work aimed to develop a long-circulating magnetic iron oxide nanoparticle (MNP) platform capable of sustained tumor exposure via the circulation and, thus, enhanced magnetic tumor targeting. Aminated, cross-linked starch (DN) and aminosilane (A) coated MNPs were successfully modified with 5 kDa (A5, D5) or 20 kDa (A20, D20) polyethylene glycol (PEG) chains using simple N-Hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) chemistry and characterized. Identical PEG-weight analogues between platforms (A5 & D5, A20 & D20) were similar in size (140–190 nm) and relative PEG labeling (1.5% of surface amines – A5/D5, 0.4% – A20/D20), with all PEG-MNPs possessing magnetization properties suitable for magnetic targeting. Candidate PEG-MNPs were studied in RES simulations in vitro to predict long-circulating character. D5 and D20 performed best showing sustained size stability in cell culture medium at 37°C and 7 (D20) to 10 (D5) fold less uptake in RAW264.7 macrophages when compared to previously targeted, unmodified starch MNPs (D). Observations in vitro were validated in vivo, with D5 (7.29 hr) and D20 (11.75 hr) showing much longer half-lives than D (0.12 hr). Improved plasma stability enhanced tumor MNP exposure 100 (D5) to 150 (D20) fold as measured by plasma AUC0-∞ Sustained tumor exposure over 24 hours was visually confirmed in a 9L-glioma rat model (12 mg Fe/kg) using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Findings indicate that both D5 and D20 are promising MNP platforms for enhanced magnetic tumor targeting, warranting further study in tumor models.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.11.040
PMCID: PMC3022959  PMID: 21176955
iron oxide nanoparticles; magnetic nanoparticles; magnetic targeting; polyethylene glycol (PEG); pharmacokinetics; reticuloendothelial system (RES); drug delivery; brain tumor; glioma
6.  Targeted Delivery System of Nanobiomaterials in Anticancer Therapy: From Cells to Clinics 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:814208.
Targeted delivery systems of nanobiomaterials are necessary to be developed for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Nanobiomaterials can be engineered to recognize cancer-specific receptors at the cellular levels and to deliver anticancer drugs into the diseased sites. In particular, nanobiomaterial-based nanocarriers, so-called nanoplatforms, are the design of the targeted delivery systems such as liposomes, polymeric nanoparticles/micelles, nanoconjugates, norganic materials, carbon-based nanobiomaterials, and bioinspired phage system, which are based on the nanosize of 1–100 nm in diameter. In this review, the design and the application of these nanoplatforms are discussed at the cellular levels as well as in the clinics. We believe that this review can offer recent advances in the targeted delivery systems of nanobiomaterials regarding in vitro and in vivo applications and the translation of nanobiomaterials to nanomedicine in anticancer therapy.
doi:10.1155/2014/814208
PMCID: PMC3950423  PMID: 24672796
7.  New Clathrin-Based Nanoplatforms for Magnetic Resonance Imaging 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e35821.
Background
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has high spatial resolution, but low sensitivity for visualization of molecular targets in the central nervous system (CNS). Our goal was to develop a new MRI method with the potential for non-invasive molecular brain imaging. We herein introduce new bio-nanotechnology approaches for designing CNS contrast media based on the ubiquitous clathrin cell protein.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The first approach utilizes three-legged clathrin triskelia modified to carry 81 gadolinium chelates. The second approach uses clathrin cages self-assembled from triskelia and designed to carry 432 gadolinium chelates. Clathrin triskelia and cages were characterized by size, structure, protein concentration, and chelate and gadolinium contents. Relaxivity was evaluated at 0.47 T. A series of studies were conducted to ascertain whether fluorescent-tagged clathrin nanoplatforms could cross the blood brain barriers (BBB) unaided following intranasal, intravenous, and intraperitoneal routes of administration. Clathrin nanoparticles can be constituted as triskelia (18.5 nm in size), and as cages assembled from them (55 nm). The mean chelate: clathrin heavy chain molar ratio was 27.04±4.8: 1 for triskelia, and 4.2±1.04: 1 for cages. Triskelia had ionic relaxivity of 16 mM−1s−1, and molecular relaxivity of 1,166 mM−1s−1, while cages had ionic relaxivity of 81 mM−1s−1 and molecular relaxivity of 31,512 mM−1s−1. Thus, cages exhibited 20 times higher ionic relaxivity and 8,000-fold greater molecular relaxivity than gadopentetate dimeglumine. Clathrin nanoplatforms modified with fluorescent tags were able to cross or bypass the BBB without enhancements following intravenous, intraperitoneal and intranasal administration in rats.
Conclusions/Significance
Use of clathrin triskelia and cages as carriers of CNS contrast media represents a new approach. This new biocompatible protein-based nanotechnology demonstrated suitable physicochemical properties to warrant further in vivo imaging and drug delivery studies. Significantly, both nanotransporters crossed and/or bypassed the BBB without enhancers. Thus, clathrin nanoplatforms could be an appealing alternative to existing CNS bio-nanotechnologies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035821
PMCID: PMC3341379  PMID: 22563470
8.  Imaging and modification of the tumor vascular barrier for improvement in magnetic nanoparticle uptake and hyperthermia treatment efficacy 
Proceedings of SPIE  2013;8584:858403.
The predicted success of nanoparticle based cancer therapy is due in part to the presence of the inherent leakiness of the tumor vascular barrier, the so called enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect. Although the EPR effect is present in varying degrees in many tumors, it has not resulted in the consistent level of nanoparticle-tumor uptake enhancement that was initially predicted. Magnetic/iron oxide nanoparticles (mNPs) have many positive qualities, including their inert/nontoxic nature, the ability to be produced in various sizes, the ability to be activated by a deeply penetrating and nontoxic magnetic field resulting in cell-specific cytotoxic heating, and the ability to be successfully coated with a wide variety of functional coatings. However, at this time, the delivery of adequate numbers of nanoparticles to the tumor site via systemic administration remains challenging. Ionizing radiation, cisplatinum chemotherapy, external static magnetic fields and vascular disrupting agents are being used to modify the tumor environment/vasculature barrier to improve mNP uptake in tumors and subsequently tumor treatment. Preliminary studies suggest use of these modalities, individually, can result in mNP uptake improvements in the 3–10 fold range. Ongoing studies show promise of even greater tumor uptake enhancement when these methods are combined. The level and location of mNP/Fe in blood and normal/tumor tissue is assessed via histopathological methods (confocal, light and electron microscopy, histochemical iron staining, fluorescent labeling, TEM) and ICP-MS. In order to accurately plan and assess mNP-based therapies in clinical patients, a noninvasive and quantitative imaging technique for the assessment of mNP uptake and biodistribution will be necessary. To address this issue, we examined the use of computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and Sweep Imaging With Fourier Transformation (SWIFT), an MRI technique which provides a positive iron contrast enhancement and a reduced signal to noise ratio, for effective observation and quantification of Fe/mNP concentrations in the clinical setting.
doi:10.1117/12.2008689
PMCID: PMC4182929  PMID: 25285190
Magnetic nanoparticle; Imaging; Tumor vascular modification; EPR effect
9.  Trackable and Targeted Phage as Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Agent for Cancer Imaging 
Theranostics  2011;1:371-380.
The recent advancement of nanotechnology has provided unprecedented opportunities for the development of nanoparticle enabled technologies for detecting and treating cancer. Here, we reported the construction of a PET trackable organic nanoplatform based on phage particle for targeted tumor imaging. Method: The integrin αvβ3 targeted phage nanoparticle was constructed by expressing RGD peptides on its surface. The target binding affinity of this engineered phage particle was evaluated in vitro. A bifunctional chelator (BFC) 1,4,7,10-tetraazadodecane-N,N',N",N"'-tetraacetic acid (DOTA) or 4-((8-amino-3,6,10,13,16,19-hexaazabicyclo [6.6.6] icosane-1-ylamino) methyl) benzoic acid (AmBaSar) was then conjugated to the phage surface for 64Cu2+ chelation. After 64Cu radiolabeling, microPET imaging was performed in U87MG tumor model and the receptor specificity was confirmed by blocking experiments. Results: The phage-RGD demonstrated target specificity based on ELISA experiment. According to the TEM images, the morphology of the phage was unchanged after the modification with BFCs. The labeling yield was 25 ± 4% for 64Cu-DOTA-phage-RGD and 46 ± 5% for 64Cu-AmBaSar-phage-RGD, respectively. At 1 h time point, 64Cu-DOTA-phage-RGD and 64Cu-AmBaSar-phage-RGD have comparable tumor uptake (~ 8%ID/g). However, 64Cu-AmBaSar-phage-RGD showed significantly higher tumor uptake (13.2 ± 1.5 %ID/g, P<0.05) at late time points compared with 64Cu-DOTA-phage-RGD (10 ± 1.2 %ID/g). 64Cu-AmBaSar-phage-RGD also demonstrated significantly lower liver uptake, which could be attributed to the stability difference between these chelators. There is no significant difference between two tracers regarding the uptake in kidney and muscle at all time points tested. In order to confirm the receptor specificity, blocking experiment was performed. In the RGD blocking experiment, the cold RGD peptide was injected 2 min before the administration of 64Cu-AmBaSar-phage-RGD. Tumor uptake was partially blocked at 1 h time point. Phage-RGD particle was also used as the competitive ligand. In this case, the tumor uptake was significantly reduced and the value was kept at low level consistently. Conclusion: In this report, we constructed a PET trackable nanoplatform based on phage particle and demonstrated the imaging capability of these targeted agents. We also demonstrated that the choice of chelator could have significant impact on imaging results of nano-agents. The method established in this research may be applicable to other receptor/ligand systems for theranostic agent construction, which could have an immediate and profound impact on the field of imaging/therapy and lay the foundation for the construction of next generation cancer specific theranostic agents.
PMCID: PMC3248641  PMID: 22211143
phage particle; positron emission tomography; integrin αvβ3; RGD; Cu-64.
10.  Magnetic nanoparticles for theragnostics 
Advanced drug delivery reviews  2009;61(6):467-477.
Engineered magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) represent a cutting-edge tool in medicine because they can be simultaneously functionalized and guided by a magnetic field. Use of MNPs has advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), guided drug and gene delivery, magnetic hyperthermia cancer therapy, tissue engineering, cell tracking and bioseparation. Integrative therapeutic and diagnostic (i.e., theragnostic) applications have emerged with MNP use, such as MRI-guided cell replacement therapy or MRI-based imaging of cancer-specific gene delivery. However, mounting evidence suggests that certain properties of nanoparticles (e.g., enhanced reactive area, ability to cross cell and tissue barriers, resistance to biodegradation) amplify their cytotoxic potential relative to molecular or bulk counterparts. Oxidative stress, a 3-tier paradigm of nanotoxicity, manifests in activation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) (tier I), followed by a pro-inflammatory response (tier II) and DNA damage leading to cellular apoptosis and mutagenesis (tier III). In vivo administered MNPs are quickly challenged by macrophages of the reticuloendothelial system (RES), resulting in not only neutralization of potential MNP toxicity but also reduced circulation time necessary for MNP efficacy. We discuss the role of MNP size, composition and surface chemistry in their intracellular uptake, biodistribution, macrophage recognition and cytotoxicity, and review current studies on MNP toxicity, caveats of nanotoxicity assessments and engineering strategies to optimize MNPs for biomedical use.
doi:10.1016/j.addr.2009.03.007
PMCID: PMC2700776  PMID: 19389434
magnetic nanoparticles; iron oxide; nanotoxicity; oxidative stress; macrophages; ROS; surface chemistry; DMSA
11.  Peptide-Conjugated Polymeric Micellar Nanoparticles for Dual SPECT and Optical Imaging of EphB4 Receptors in Prostate Cancer Xenografts 
Biomaterials  2011;32(25):5872-5879.
EphB4, a member of the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases, is overexpressed in numerous tumors. In this study, we developed a new class of multimodal nanoplatform for dual single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and near-infrared fluorescence imaging of EphB4. EphB4-binding peptide TNYL-FSPNGPIARAW (TNYL-RAW) was conjugated to polyethylene glycol-coated, core-crosslinked polymeric micelles (CCPM) dually labeled with near-infrared fluorescence fluorophores (Cy7) and a radioisotope (indium 111). In vitro, TNYL-RAW-CCPM selectively bound to EphB4-positive PC-3M prostate cancer cells, but not to EphB4-negative A549 lung cancer cells. In vivo, PC-3M tumors were clearly visualized by both SPECT and near-infrared fluorescence tomography after intravenous administration of 111In-labeled TNYL-RAW-CCPM. In contrast, there was little signal in A549 tumors of mice injected with 111In-labeled TNYL-RAW-CCPM or in PC-3M tumors of mice injected with 111In-labeled CCPM. The high accumulation of 111In-labeled TNYL-RAW-CCPM in PC-3M tumor could be significantly reduced after co-injection with an excess amount of TNYL-RAW peptide. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that fluorescence signal from the nanoparticles correlated with their radioactivity count, and co-localized with the EphB4 expressing region. 111In-labeled TNYL-RAW-CCPM allowed visualization of cancer cells overexpressing EphB4 by both nuclear and optical techniques. The complementary information acquired with multiple imaging techniques should be advantageous in early detection of cancer.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.04.070
PMCID: PMC3110559  PMID: 21612822
Micelle; Nanoparticle; Fluorescence; Molecular Imaging
12.  Design and Synthesis of Multifunctional Gold Nanoparticles Bearing Tumor-Associated Glycopeptide Antigens as Potential Cancer Vaccines 
Bioconjugate chemistry  2012;23(8):1513-1523.
The development of vaccines against specific types of cancers will offer new modalities for therapeutic intervention. Here we describe the synthesis of a novel vaccine construction prepared from spherical gold nanoparticles of 3–5 nm core diameters. The particles were coated with both the tumor-associated glycopeptides antigens containing the cell-surface mucin MUC4 with Thomsen Friedenreich (TF) antigen attached at different sites and a 28-residue peptide from the complement derived protein C3d to act as a B-cell activating “molecular adjuvant”. The synthesis entailed solid phase glycopeptide synthesis, design of appropriate linkers and attachment chemistry of the various molecules to the particles. Attachment to the gold surface was mediated by a novel thiol-containing 33 atom linker which was further modified to be included as a third “spacer” component in the synthesis of several three-component vaccine platforms. Groups of mice were vaccinated either with one of the nanoplatform constructs or with control particles without antigen coating. Evaluation of sera from the immunized animals in enzyme immunoassays (EIA) against each glycopeptide antigen showed a small but statistically significant immune response with production of both IgM and IgG isotypes. Vaccines with one carbohydrate antigen (B, C and E) gave more robust responses than the one with two contiguous disaccharides (D), and vaccine E with a TF antigen attached to threonine at the 10th position of the peptide was selected for IgG over IgM suggesting isotype switching. The data suggested that this platform may be a viable delivery system for tumor-associated glycopeptide antigens.
doi:10.1021/bc200606s
PMCID: PMC3431211  PMID: 22812418
gold nanoparticle; tumor-associated carbohydrate antigen; glycopeptides; vaccine
13.  Polymalic Acid–Based Nanobiopolymer Provides Efficient Systemic Breast Cancer Treatment by Inhibiting both HER2/neu Receptor Synthesis and Activity 
Cancer research  2011;71(4):1454-1464.
Biodegradable nanopolymers are believed to offer great potential in cancer therapy. Here, we report the characterization of a novel, targeted, nanobiopolymeric conjugate based on biodegradable, nontoxic, and nonimmunogenic PMLA [poly(β-l-malic acid)]. The PMLA nanoplatform was synthesized for repetitive systemic treatments of HER2/neu-positive human breast tumors in a xenogeneic mouse model. Various moieties were covalently attached to PMLA, including a combination of morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (AON) directed against HER2/neu mRNA, to block new HER2/neu receptor synthesis; anti-HER2/neu antibody trastuzumab (Herceptin), to target breast cancer cells and inhibit receptor activity simultaneously; and transferrin receptor antibody, to target the tumor vasculature and mediate delivery of the nanobiopolymer through the host endothelial system. The results of the study showed that the lead drug tested significantly inhibited the growth of HER2/neu-positive breast cancer cells in vitro and in vivo by enhanced apoptosis and inhibition of HER2/neu receptor signaling with suppression of Akt phosphorylation. In vivo imaging analysis and confocal microscopy demonstrated selective accumulation of the nanodrug in tumor cells via an active delivery mechanism. Systemic treatment of human breast tumor-bearing nude mice resulted in more than 90% inhibition of tumor growth and tumor regression, as compared with partial (50%) tumor growth inhibition in mice treated with trastuzumab or AON, either free or attached to PMLA. Our findings offer a preclinical proof of concept for use of the PMLA nanoplatform for combination cancer therapy.
doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-3093
PMCID: PMC3428373  PMID: 21303974
14.  Chemoattractant Signaling between Tumor Cells and Macrophages Regulates Cancer Cell Migration, Metastasis and Neovascularization 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6713.
Tumor-associated macrophages are known to influence cancer progression by modulation of immune function, angiogenesis, and cell metastasis, however, little is known about the chemokine signaling networks that regulate this process. Utilizing CT26 colon cancer cells and RAW 264.7 macrophages as a model cellular system, we demonstrate that treatment of CT26 cells with RAW 264.7 conditioned medium induces cell migration, invasion and metastasis. Inflammatory gene microarray analysis indicated CT26-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages upregulate SDF-1α and VEGF, and that these cytokines contribute to CT26 migration in vitro. RAW 264.7 macrophages also showed a robust chemotactic response towards CT26-derived chemokines. In particular, microarray analysis and functional testing revealed CSF-1 as the major chemoattractant for RAW 264.7 macrophages. Interestingly, in the chick CAM model of cancer progression, RAW 264.7 macrophages localized specifically to the tumor periphery where they were found to increase CT26 tumor growth, microvascular density, vascular disruption, and lung metastasis, suggesting these cells home to actively invading areas of the tumor, but not the hypoxic core of the tumor mass. In support of these findings, hypoxic conditions down regulated CSF-1 production in several tumor cell lines and decreased RAW 264.7 macrophage migration in vitro. Together our findings suggest a model where normoxic tumor cells release CSF-1 to recruit macrophages to the tumor periphery where they secrete motility and angiogenic factors that facilitate tumor cell invasion and metastasis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006713
PMCID: PMC2725301  PMID: 19696929
15.  Multifunctional magnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles combined with chemotherapy and hyperthermia to overcome multidrug resistance 
Background
Multidrug resistance in cancer is a major obstacle for clinical therapeutics, and is the reason for 90% of treatment failures. This study investigated the efficiency of novel multifunctional Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles (Fe3O4-MNP) combined with chemotherapy and hyperthermia for overcoming multidrug resistance in an in vivo model of leukemia.
Methods
Nude mice with tumor xenografts were randomly divided into a control group, and the treatment groups were allocated to receive daunorubicin, 5-bromotetrandrine (5-BrTet) and daunorubicin, Fe3O4-MNP, and Fe3O4-MNP coloaded with daunorubicin and 5-bromotetrandrine (Fe3O4-MNP-DNR-5-BrTet), with hyperthermia in an alternating magnetic field. We investigated tumor volume and pathology, as well as P-glycoprotein, Bcl-2, Bax, and caspase-3 protein expression to elucidate the effect of multimodal treatment on overcoming multidrug resistance.
Results
Fe3O4-MNP played a role in increasing tumor temperature during hyperthermia. Tumors became significantly smaller, and apoptosis of cells was observed in both the Fe3O4-MNP and Fe3O4-MNP-DNR-5-BrTet groups, especially in the Fe3O4-MNP-DNR-5-BrTet group, while tumor volumes in the other groups had increased after treatment for 12 days. Furthermore, Fe3O4-MNP-DNR-5-BrTet with hyperthermia noticeably decreased P-glycoprotein and Bcl-2 expression, and markedly increased Bax and caspase-3 expression.
Conclusion
Fe3O4-MNP-DNR-5-BrTet with hyperthermia may be a potential approach for reversal of multidrug resistance in the treatment of leukemia.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S29357
PMCID: PMC3356215  PMID: 22619560
magnetic nanoparticles; daunorubicin; 5-bromotetrandrine; multidrug resistance; hyperthermia
16.  Amine-modified hyaluronic acid-functionalized porous silicon nanoparticles for targeting breast cancer tumors 
Nanoscale  2014;6(17):10377-10387.
Active targeting of nanoparticles to receptor-overexpressing cancer cells has great potential for enhancing the cellular uptake of nanoparticles and for reducing fast clearance of the nanoparticles from the body. Herein, we present a preparation method of a porous silicon (PSi)-based nanodelivery system for breast cancer targeting, by covalently conjugating a synthesized amide-modified hyaluronic acid (HA+) derived polymer on the surface of undecylenic acid-modified thermally hydrocarbonized PSi (UnTHCPSi) nanoparticles. The resulting UnTHCPSi–HA+ nanoparticles showed relatively small size, reduced polydispersibility, high biocompatibility, improved colloidal and human plasma stability, as well as enhanced cellular interactions and internalization. Moreover, we demonstrated that the enhanced cellular association of UnTHCPSi–HA+ relies on the capability of the conjugated HA+ to bind and consequently target CD44 receptors expressed on the surface of breast cancer cells, thus making the HA+-functionalized UnTHCPSi nanoparticles a suitable and promising nanoplatform for the targeting of CD44-overexpressing breast tumors and for drug delivery.
doi:10.1039/c4nr02187h
PMCID: PMC4234906  PMID: 25074521
17.  Systemic Delivery of Gemcitabine Triphosphate via LCP Nanoparticles for NSCLC and Pancreatic Cancer Therapy 
Biomaterials  2013;34(13):3447-3458.
Nucleoside analogues are a significant class of anticancer agent. As prodrugs, they terminate the DNA synthesis upon transforming to their active triphosphate metabolites. We have encapsulated a biologically activate nucleotide analogue (i.e. gemcitabine triphosphate (GTP)), instead of the nucleoside (i.e. gemcitabine) derivative, into a novel Lipid/Calcium/Phosphate nanoparticle (LCP) platform. The therapeutic efficacy of LCP-formulated GTP was evaluated in a panel of human non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and human pancreatic cancer models after systemic administrations. GTP-loaded LCPs induced cell death and arrested the cell cycle in the S phase. In vivo efficacy studies showed that intravenously injected GTP-loaded LCPs triggered effective apoptosis of tumor cells, significant reduction of tumor cell proliferation and cell cycle progression, leading to dramatic inhibition of tumor growth, with little in vivo toxicity. Broadly speaking, the current study offers preclinical proof-of-principle that many active nucleotide or phosphorylated nucleoside analogues could be encapsulated in the LCP nanoplatform and delivered systemically for a wide variety of therapeutic applications.
doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.01.063
PMCID: PMC3600638  PMID: 23380359
LCP nanoparticle; gemcitabine triphosphate; apoptosis; proliferation; cell cycle progression
18.  Nanoplatforms for constructing new approaches to cancer treatment, imaging, and drug delivery: What should be the policy? 
NeuroImage  2010;54(Suppl 1):S106-S124.
Nanotechnology is the design and assembly of submicroscopic devices called nanoparticles, which are 1–100 nm in diameter. Nanomedicine is the application of nanotechnology for the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Disease-specific receptors on the surface of cells provide useful targets for nanoparticles. Because nanoparticles can be engineered from components that (1) recognize disease at the cellular level, (2) are visible on imaging studies, and (3) deliver therapeutic compounds, nanotechnology is well suited for the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of diseases. Nanotechnology will enable earlier detection and treatment of diseases that are best treated in their initial stages, such as cancer. Advances in nanotechnology will also spur the discovery of new methods for delivery of therapeutic compounds, including genes and proteins, to diseased tissue. A myriad of nanostructured drugs with effective site-targeting can be developed by combining a diverse selection of targeting, diagnostic, and therapeutic components. Incorporating immune target specificity with nanostructures introduces a new type of treatment modality, nano-immunochemotherapy, for patients with cancer. In this review, we will discuss the development and potential applications of nanoscale platforms in medical diagnosis and treatment. To impact the care of patients with neurological diseases, advances in nanotechnology will require accelerated translation to the fields of brain mapping, CNS imaging, and nanoneurosurgery. Advances in nanoplatform, nano-imaging, and nano-drug delivery will drive the future development of nanomedicine, personalized medicine, and targeted therapy. We believe that the formation of a science, technology, medicine law–healthcare policy (STML) hub/center, which encourages collaboration among universities, medical centers, US government, industry, patient advocacy groups, charitable foundations, and philanthropists, could significantly facilitate such advancements and contribute to the translation of nanotechnology across medical disciplines.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.01.105
PMCID: PMC3524337  PMID: 20149882
Nanoplatforms; Nanotechnology; Image-guided therapy; Nanomedicine; Nanoneurosurgery; Nanostructures; Contrast agents; Nanoparticles; Nanotechnology policy; Nano-radiology; Nano-neuroscience; Nano-neurology
19.  MRI-Visible Micellar Nanomedicine for Targeted Drug Delivery to Lung Cancer Cells 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2010;7(1):32-40.
Polymeric micelles are emerging as a highly integrated nanoplatform for cancer targeting, drug delivery and tumor imaging applications. In this study, we describe a multifunctional micelle (MFM) system that is encoded with a lung cancer-targeting peptide (LCP), and encapsulated with superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO) and doxorubicin (Doxo) for MR imaging and therapeutic delivery, respectively. The LCP-encoded MFM showed significantly increased αvβ6-dependent cell targeting in H2009 lung cancer cells over a scrambled peptide (SP)-encoded MFM control as well as in an αvβ6-negative H460 cell control. 3H-Labeled MFM nanoparticles were used to quantify the time- and dose-dependent cell uptake of MFM nanoparticles with different peptide encoding (LCP vs SP) and surface densities (20% and 40%) in H2009 cells. LCP functionalization of the micelle surface increased uptake of the MFM by more than 3-fold compared to the SP control. These results were confirmed by confocal laser scanning microscopy, which further demonstrated the successful Doxo release from MFM and accumulation in the nucleus. SPIO clustering inside the micelle core resulted in high T2 relaxivity (>400 Fe mM−1 s−1) of the resulting MFM nanoparticles. T2-weighted MRI images showed clear contrast differences between H2009 cells incubated with LCP-encoded MFM over the SP-encoded MFM control. An ATP activity assay showed increased cytotoxicity of LCP-encoded MFM over SP-encoded MFM in H2009 cells (IC50 values were 28.3 ± 6.4 nM and 73.6 ± 6.3 nM, respectively; p < 0.005). The integrated diagnostic and therapeutic design of MFM nanomedicine potentially allows for image-guided, target-specific treatment of lung cancer.
doi:10.1021/mp9001393
PMCID: PMC2891983  PMID: 19708690
Polymeric micelles; magnetic resonance imaging; theranostic nanomedicine; doxorubicin; αvβ6 integrin; superparamagnetic iron oxide; lung cancer therapy
20.  Dilemmas in the reliable estimation of the in-vitro cell viability in magnetic nanoparticle engineering: which tests and what protocols? 
Magnetic nanoparticles [MNPs] made from iron oxides have many applications in biomedicine. Full understanding of the interactions between MNPs and mammalian cells is a critical issue for their applications. In this study, MNPs were coated with poly(ethylenimine) [MNP-PEI] and poly(ethylene glycol) [MNP-PEI-PEG] to provide a subtle difference in their surface charge and their cytotoxicity which were analysed by three standard cell viability assays: 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium [MTS], CellTiter-Blue and CellTiter-Glo (Promega, Southampton, UK) in SH-SY5Y and RAW 264.7 cells The data were validated by traditional trypan blue exclusion. In comparison to trypan blue manual counting, the MTS and Titer-Blue assays appeared to have consistently overestimated the viability. The Titer-Glo also experienced a small overestimation. We hypothesise that interactions were occurring between the assay systems and the nanoparticles, resulting in incorrect cell viability evaluation. To further understand the cytotoxic effect of the nanoparticles on these cells, reactive oxygen species production, lipid peroxidation and cell membrane integrity were investigated. After pegylation, the MNP-PEI-PEG possessed a lower positive surface charge and exhibited much improved biocompatibility compared to MNP-PEI, as demonstrated not only by a higher cell viability, but also by a markedly reduced oxidative stress and cell membrane damage. These findings highlight the importance of assay selection and of dissection of different cellular responses in in-vitro characterisation of nanostructures.
doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-77
PMCID: PMC3275459  PMID: 22247975
magnetic nanoparticle; cellular interaction; cytotoxicity; cell viability assay; zeta potential.
21.  Comparison of microwave and magnetic nanoparticle hyperthermia radiosensitization in murine breast tumors 
Proceedings of SPIE  2011;7901:10.1117/12.876515.
Hyperthermia has been shown to be an effective radiosensitizer. Its utility as a clinical modality has been limited by a minimally selective tumor sensitivity and the inability to be delivered in a tumor-specific manner. Recent in vivo studies (rodent and human) have shown that cancer cell-specific cytotoxicity can be effectively and safely delivered via iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (mNP) and an appropriately matched noninvasive alternating magnetic field (AMF). To explore the tumor radiosensitization potential of mNP hyperthermia we used a syngeneic mouse breast cancer model, dextran-coated 110 nm hydrodynamic diameter mNP and a 169 kHz / 450 Oe (35.8 kA/m) AMF. Intradermally implanted (flank) tumors (150 ± 40 mm3) were treated by injection of 0.04 ml mNP (7.5 mg Fe) / cm3 into the tumor and an AMF (35.8 kA/m and 169 kHz) exposure necessary to achieve a CEM (cumulative equivalent minute) thermal dose of 60 (CEM 60). Tumors were treated with mNP hyperthermia (CEM 60), radiation alone (15 Gy, single dose) and in combination. Compared to the radiation and heat alone treatments, the combined treatment resulted in a greater than two-fold increase in tumor regrowth tripling time (tumor treatment efficacy). None of the treatments resulted in significant normal tissue toxicity or morbidity. Studies were also conducted to compare the radiosensitization effect of mNP hyperthermia with that of microwave-induced hyperthermia. The effects of incubation of nanoparticles within tumors (to allow nanoparticles to be endocytosed) before application of AMF and radiation were determined. This preliminary information suggests cancer cell specific hyperthermia (i.e. antibody-directed or anatomically-directed mNP) is capable of providing significantly greater radiosensitization / therapeutic ratio enhancement than other forms of hyperthermia delivery.
doi:10.1117/12.876515
PMCID: PMC3877316  PMID: 24392200
Hyperthermia; radiation; nanoparticle; microwave; AMF; radiosensitization; intracellular hyperthermia
22.  Enhanced cellular uptake of aminosilane-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles in mammalian cell lines 
Purpose
To compare the cellular uptake efficiency and cytotoxicity of aminosilane (SiO2-NH2)-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO@SiO2-NH2) nanoparticles with three other types of SPIO nanoparticles coated with SiO2 (SPIO@SiO2), dextran (SPIO@dextran), or bare SPIO in mammalian cell lines.
Materials and methods
Four types of monodispersed SPIO nanoparticles with a SPIO core size of 7 nm and an overall size in a range of 7–15 nm were synthesized. The mammalian cell lines of MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, HT-29, RAW264.7, L929, HepG2, PC-3, U-87 MG, and mouse mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were incubated with four types of SPIO nanoparticles for 24 hours in the serum-free culture medium Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium (DMEM) with 4.5 μg/mL iron concentration. The cellular uptake efficiencies of SPIO nanoparticles were compared by Prussian blue staining and intracellular iron quantification. In vitro magnetic resonance imaging of MSC pellets after SPIO labeling was performed at 3 T. The effect of each SPIO nanoparticle on the cell viability of RAW 264.7 (mouse monocyte/macrophage) cells was also evaluated.
Results
Transmission electron microscopy demonstrated surface coating with SiO2-NH2, SiO2, and dextran prevented SPIO nanoparticle aggregation in DMEM culture medium. MCF-7, MDA-MB-231, and HT-29 cells failed to show notable iron uptake. For all the remaining six cell lines, Prussian blue staining and intracellular iron quantification demonstrated that SPIO@ SiO2-NH2 nanoparticles had the highest cellular uptake efficiency. SPIO@SiO2-NH2, bare SPIO, and SPIO@dextran nanoparticles did not affect RAW 264.7 cell viability up to 200 μg Fe/mL, while SPIO@SiO2 reduced RAW 264.7 cell viability from 10 to 200 μg Fe/mL in a dose-dependent manner.
Conclusion
Cellular uptake efficiency of SPIO nanoparticles depends on both the cell type and SPIO surface characteristics. Aminosilane surface coating enhanced the cellular uptake efficiency without inducing cytotoxicity in a number of cell lines.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S28316
PMCID: PMC3289449  PMID: 22393292
magnetic nanoparticles; SPIO; iron oxide; surface coating; cellular uptake
23.  Anti-HER2 antibody and ScFvEGFR-conjugated antifouling magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for targeting and magnetic resonance imaging of breast cancer 
Antifouling magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) coated with block copolymer poly(ethylene oxide)-block-poly(γ-methacryloxypropyltrimethoxysilane) (PEO-b-PγMPS) were investigated for improving cell targeting by reducing nonspecific uptake. Conjugation of a HER2 antibody, Herceptin®, or a single chain fragment (ScFv) of antibody against epidermal growth factor receptor (ScFvEGFR) to PEO-b-PγMPS-coated IONPs resulted in HER2-targeted or EGFR-targeted IONPs (anti-HER2-IONPs or ScFvEGFR-IONPs). The anti-HER2-IONPs bound specifically to SK-BR-3, a HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cell line, but not to MDA-MB-231, a HER2-underexpressing cell line. On the other hand, the ScFvEGFR-IONPs showed strong reactivity with MDA-MB-231, an EGFR-positive human breast cancer cell line, but not with MDA-MB-453, an EGFR-negative human breast cancer cell line. Transmission electron microscopy revealed internalization of the receptor-targeted nanoparticles by the targeted cancer cells. In addition, both antibody-conjugated and non-antibody-conjugated IONPs showed reduced nonspecific uptake by RAW264.7 mouse macrophages in vitro. The developed IONPs showed a long blood circulation time (serum half-life 11.6 hours) in mice and low accumulation in both the liver and spleen. At 24 hours after systemic administration of ScFvEGFR-IONPs into mice bearing EGFR-positive breast cancer 4T1 mouse mammary tumors, magnetic resonance imaging revealed signal reduction in the tumor as a result of the accumulation of the targeted IONPs.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S49069
PMCID: PMC3794963  PMID: 24124366
magnetic nanoparticles; active targeting; antifouling; breast cancer; magnetic resonance imaging
24.  Superparamagnetic Bifunctional Bisphosphonates Nanoparticles: A Potential MRI Contrast Agent for Osteoporosis Therapy and Diagnostic 
Journal of Osteoporosis  2010;2010:747852.
A bone targeting nanosystem is reported here which combined magnetic contrast agent for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and a therapeutic agent (bisphosphonates) into one drug delivery system. This new targeting nanoplatform consists of superparamagnetic γFe2O3 nanoparticles conjugated to 1,5-dihydroxy-1,5,5-tris-phosphono-pentyl-phosphonic acid (di-HMBPs) molecules with a bisphosphonate function at the outer of the nanoparticle surface for bone targeting. The as-synthesized nanoparticles were evaluated as a specific MRI contrast agent by adsorption study onto hydroxyapatite and MRI measurment. The strong adsorption of the bisphosphonates nanoparticles to hydroxyapatite and their use as MRI T2∗ contrast agent were demonstrated. Cellular tests performed on human osteosarcoma cells (MG63) show that γFe2O3@di-HMBP hybrid nanomaterial has no citoxity effect in cell viability and may act as a diagnostic and therapeutic system.
doi:10.4061/2010/747852
PMCID: PMC2957199  PMID: 20981332
25.  PEGylation of cationic, shell-crosslinked-knedel-like nanoparticles modulates inflammation and enhances cellular uptake in the lung 
The airway provides a direct route for administration of nanoparticles bearing therapeutic or diagnostic payloads to the lung, however optimization of nanoplatforms for intracellular delivery remains challenging. Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) surface modification improves systemic performance but less is known about PEGylated nanoparticles administered to the airway. To test this, we generated a library of cationic, shell crosslinked knedel-like nanoparticles (cSCKs), including PEG (1.5 kDa PEG; 2, 5, 10 molecules/polymer arm) on the outer shell. Delivery of PEGylated cSCK to the mouse airway showed significantly less inflammation in a PEG dose-dependent manner. PEGylation also enhanced the entry of cSCKs in lung alveolar epithelial cells and improved surfactant penetration. The PEGylation effect could be explained by the altered mechanism of endocytosis. While non-PEGylated cSCKs used the clathrin-dependent route for endocytosis, entry of PEGylated cSCK was clathrin-independent. Thus, nanoparticle surface modification with PEG represents an advantageous design for lung delivery.
doi:10.1016/j.nano.2013.02.006
PMCID: PMC3724762  PMID: 23453959
airway; macrophage; surfactant; alveolar epithelial cells; Poly(ethylene glycol)

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