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1.  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.
PMCID: PMC3583224  PMID: 22238072
Prodrug Therapy; Cytotherapy; Pancreatic Cancer; Cancer Targeting
2.  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.
PMCID: PMC3222711  PMID: 21567204
B16-F10; Mouse lung melanoma; Mouse monocytes; Targeted cell delivery; Suicide therapy
3.  Attenuation of Mouse Melanoma by A/C Magnetic Field after Delivery of Bi-Magnetic Nanoparticles by Neural Progenitor Cells 
ACS nano  2010;4(12):7093-7104.
Localized magnetic hyperthermia as a treatment modality for cancer has generated renewed interest, particularly if it can be targeted to the tumor site. We examined whether tumor-tropic neural progenitor cells (NPCs) could be utilized as cell delivery vehicles for achieving preferential accumulation of core/shell iron/iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) within a mouse model of melanoma. We developed aminosiloxane-porphyrin functionalized MNPs, evaluated cell viability and loading efficiency, and transplanted neural progenitor cells loaded with this cargo into mice with melanoma. NPCs were efficiently loaded with core/shell Fe/Fe3O4 MNPs with minimal cytotoxicity; the MNPs accumulated as aggregates in the cytosol. The NPCs loaded with MNPs could travel to subcutaneous melanomas, and after A/C (alternating current) magnetic field (AMF) exposure, the targeted delivery of MNPs by the cells resulted in a measurable regression of the tumors. The tumor attenuation was significant (p<0.05) a short time (24 hours) after the last of three AMF exposures.
PMCID: PMC3011034  PMID: 21058696
nanotechnology; cell-based; targeted delivery; magnetic nanoparticles; magnetic hyperthermia; melanoma; neural progenitor cells
4.  Leukocyte transepithelial migration in lung induced by DMSA functionalized magnetic nanoparticles 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2011;5(1):29-33.
Magnetic nanoparticles surface-covered with meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (MNPs-DMSA) constitute a promising approach for tissue- and cell-targeted delivery of therapeutic drugs in the lung. However, they can also induce a transient transendothelial migration of leukocytes in the organ as a side effect after endovenous administration of MNPs-DMSA. We demonstrated that monocytes/macrophages constitute the main subpopulation of leukocytes involved in this process. Our recent research found that MNPs-DMSA upregulated the mRNA expression of E-, L- and P-selectin and macrophage-1 antigen and increased concentration of tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) in lung, in a time dependent manner. The critical relevance of the β2 integrin-dependent pathway in leukocyte transmigration elicited by MNPs-DMSA was demonstrated by use of knockout mice. Our work characterizes mechanisms of the pro-inflammatory effects of MNPs-DMSA in the lung and identifies β2 integrin-targeted interventions as promising strategies to reduce pulmonary side effects of MNPs-DMSA during biomedical applications. In addition, MNPs-DMSA could be used as modulators of lung immune response.
PMCID: PMC3038093  PMID: 20935452
magnetic nanoparticles; DMSA; nanobiotechnology; transepithelial migration; cell adhesion molecules; integrins; monocytes; lung
5.  Magnetically Responsive Biodegradable Nanoparticles Enhance Adenoviral Gene Transfer in Cultured Smooth Muscle and Endothelial Cells 
Molecular Pharmaceutics  2009;6(5):1380-1387.
Replication-defective adenoviral (Ad) vectors have shown promise as a tool for gene delivery-based therapeutic applications. Their clinical use is however limited by therapeutically suboptimal transduction levels in cell types expressing low levels of Coxsackie-Ad receptor (CAR), the primary receptor responsible for the cell entry of the virus, and by systemic adverse reactions. Targeted delivery achievable with Ad complexed with biodegradable magnetically responsive nanoparticles (MNP) may therefore be instrumental for improving both the safety and efficiency of these vectors. Our hypothesis was that magnetically driven delivery of Ad affinity-bound to biodegradable MNP can substantially increase transgene expression in CAR deficient vascular cells in culture. Fluorescently labeled MNP were formulated from polylactide with inclusion of iron oxide and surface-modified with the D1 domain of CAR as an affinity linker. MNP cellular uptake and GFP reporter transgene expression were assayed fluorimetrically in cultured endothelial and smooth muscle cells using λex/λem of 540 nm/575 nm and 485 nm/535 nm, respectively. Stable vector-specific association of Ad with MNP resulted in formation of MNP–Ad complexes displaying rapid cell binding kinetics following a brief exposure to a high gradient magnetic field with resultant gene transfer levels significantly increased compared to free vector or nonmagnetic control treatment. Multiple regression analysis suggested a mechanism of MNP–Ad mediated transduction distinct from that of free Ad, and confirmed the major contribution of the complexes to the gene transfer under magnetic conditions. The magnetically enhanced transduction was achieved without compromising the cell viability or growth kinetics. The enhancement of adenoviral gene delivery by affinity complexation with biodegradable MNP represents a promising approach with a potential to extend the applicability of the viral gene therapeutic strategies.
PMCID: PMC3349935  PMID: 19496618
Magnetic nanoparticle; adenoviral gene delivery; particle–virus hybrid system; affinity complexation; magnetically enhanced gene transfer
6.  Design and fabrication of magnetic nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery and imaging 
Advanced drug delivery reviews  2009;62(3):284-304.
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) represent a class of non-invasive imaging agents that have been developed for magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. These MNPs have traditionally been used for disease imaging via passive targeting, but recent advances have opened the door to cellular-specific targeting, drug delivery, and multi-modal imaging by these nanoparticles. As more elaborate MNPs are envisioned, adherence to proper design criteria (e.g. size, coating, molecular functionalization) becomes even more essential. This review summarizes the design parameters that affect MNP performance in vivo, including the physicochemical properties and nanoparticle surface modifications, such as MNP coating and targeting ligand functionalizations that can enhance MNP management of biological barriers. A careful review of the chemistries used to modify the surfaces of MNPs is also given, with attention paid to optimizing the activity of bound ligands while maintaining favorable physicochemical properties.
PMCID: PMC2827645  PMID: 19909778
Magnetic nanoparticle; Molecular targeting; MRI; Contrast agents; Gene therapy; Drug release; Bioconjugation; Biological barriers; Blood Brain Barrier; Surface modification; Physicochemical properties
7.  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.
PMCID: PMC2957199  PMID: 20981332
8.  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.
PMCID: PMC3950423  PMID: 24672796
9.  Magnetic nanoparticles: an emerging technology for malignant brain tumor imaging and therapy 
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) represent a promising nanomaterial for the targeted therapy and imaging of malignant brain tumors. Conjugation of peptides or antibodies to the surface of MNPs allows direct targeting of the tumor cell surface and potential disruption of active signaling pathways present in tumor cells. Delivery of nanoparticles to malignant brain tumors represents a formidable challenge due to the presence of the blood–brain barrier and infiltrating cancer cells in the normal brain. Newer strategies permit better delivery of MNPs systemically and by direct convection-enhanced delivery to the brain. Completion of a human clinical trial involving direct injection of MNPs into recurrent malignant brain tumors for thermotherapy has established their feasibility, safety and efficacy in patients. Future translational studies are in progress to understand the promising impact of MNPs in the treatment of malignant brain tumors.
PMCID: PMC3461264  PMID: 22390560
convection-enhanced delivery; EGFR; GBM; glioblastoma; iron oxide nanoparticles; magnetic nanoparticles; malignant brain tumors; MRI; thermotherapy
10.  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.
PMCID: PMC2891983  PMID: 19708690
Polymeric micelles; magnetic resonance imaging; theranostic nanomedicine; doxorubicin; αvβ6 integrin; superparamagnetic iron oxide; lung cancer therapy
11.  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.
12.  Magnetic Nanoparticles in MR Imaging and Drug Delivery 
Advanced drug delivery reviews  2008;60(11):1252-1265.
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) possess unique magnetic properties and the ability to function at the cellular and molecular level of biological interactions making them an attractive platform as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and as carriers for drug delivery. Recent advances in nanotechnology have improved the ability to specifically tailor the features and properties of MNPs for these biomedical applications. To better address specific clinical needs, MNPs with higher magnetic moments, non-fouling surfaces, and increased functionalities are now being developed for applications in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of malignant tumors, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disease. Through the incorporation of highly specific targeting agents and other functional ligands, such as fluorophores and permeation enhancers, the applicability and efficacy of these MNPs have greatly increased. This review provides a background on applications of MNPs as MR imaging contrast agents and as carriers for drug delivery and an overview of the recent developments in this area of research.
PMCID: PMC2702670  PMID: 18558452
Magnetic nanoparticle; MRI; Contrast agent; Drug delivery; Targeting; DNA; siRNA; Peptide; Ligand; Cancer; Biodistribution
13.  Low-Density Lipoprotein Nanoparticles as Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agents1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2006;8(6):488-498.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) are a naturally occurring endogenous nanoplatform in mammalian systems. These nanoparticles (22 nm) specifically transport cholesterol to cells expressing the LDL receptor (LDLR). Several tumors overexpress LDLRs presumably to provide cholesterol to sustain a high rate of membrane synthesis. Amphiphilic gadolinium (Gd)-diethylenetria-minepentaacetic acid chelates have been incorporated into the LDL to produce a novel LDLR-targeted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent. The number of Gd chelates per LDL particle ranged between 150 and 496 Gd(III). In vitro studies demonstrated that Gd-labeled LDL retained a similar diameter and surface charge as the native LDL particle. In addition, Gd-labeled LDL retained selective cellular binding and uptake through LDLR-mediated endocytosis. Finally, Gd-labeled LDLs exhibited significant contrast enhancement 24 hours after administration in nude mice with human hepatoblastoma G2 xenografts. Thus, Gd-labeled LDL demonstrates potential use as a targeted MRI contrast agent for in vivo tumor detection.
PMCID: PMC1601463  PMID: 16820095
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL); Low-density lipoprotein receptor; Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); Nanoparticle; Human hepatoblastoma G2 (HepG2)
14.  Curcumin-loaded magnetic nanoparticles for breast cancer therapeutics and imaging applications 
The next generation magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) with theranostic applications have attracted significant attention and will greatly improve nanomedicine in cancer therapeutics. Such novel MNP formulations must have ultra-low particle size, high inherent magnetic properties, effective imaging, drug targeting, and drug delivery properties. To achieve these characteristic properties, a curcumin-loaded MNP (MNP-CUR) formulation was developed.
MNPs were prepared by chemical precipitation method and loaded with curcumin (CUR) using diffusion method. The physicochemical properties of MNP-CUR were characterized using dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, and spectroscopy. The internalization of MNP-CUR was achieved after 6 hours incubation with MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. The anticancer potential was evaluated by a tetrazolium-based dye and colony formation assays. Further, to prove MNP-CUR results in superior therapeutic effects over CUR, the mitochondrial membrane potential integrity and reactive oxygen species generation were determined. Magnetic resonance imaging capability and magnetic targeting property were also evaluated.
MNP-CUR exhibited individual particle grain size of ~9 nm and hydrodynamic average aggregative particle size of ~123 nm. Internalized MNP-CUR showed a preferential uptake in MDA-MB-231 cells in a concentration-dependent manner and demonstrated accumulation throughout the cell, which indicates that particles are not attached on the cell surface but internalized through endocytosis. MNP-CUR displayed strong anticancer properties compared to free CUR. MNP-CUR also amplified loss of potential integrity and generation of reactive oxygen species upon treatment compared to free CUR. Furthermore, MNP-CUR exhibited superior magnetic resonance imaging characteristics and significantly increased the targeting capability of CUR.
MNP-CUR exhibits potent anticancer activity along with imaging and magnetic targeting capabilities. This approach can be extended to preclinical and clinical use and may have importance in cancer treatment and cancer imaging in the future. Further, if these nanoparticles can functionalize with antibody/ligands, they will serve as novel platforms for multiple biomedical applications.
PMCID: PMC3356199  PMID: 22619526
magnetic nanoparticles; drug delivery systems; magnetic resonance imaging; nanomedicine; cancer therapeutics; biomedical applications
15.  Nanoparticle-based theranostic agents 
Advanced drug delivery reviews  2010;62(11):1064-1079.
Theranostic nanomedicine is emerging as a promising therapeutic paradigm. It takes advantage of the high capacity of nanoplatforms to ferry cargo and loads onto them both imaging and therapeutic functions. The resulting nanosystems, capable of diagnosis, drug delivery and monitoring of therapeutic response, are expected to play a significant role in the dawning era of personalized medicine, and much research effort has been devoted toward that goal. A convenience in constructing such function-integrated agents is that many nanoplatforms are already, themselves, imaging agents. Their well developed surface chemistry makes it easy to load them with pharmaceutics and promote them to be theranostic nanosystems. Iron oxide nanoparticles, quantum dots, carbon nanotubes, gold nanoparticles and silica nanoparticles, have been previously well investigated in the imaging setting and are candidate nanoplatforms for building up nanoparticle-based theranostics. In the current article, we will outline the progress along this line, organized by the category of the core materials. We will focus on construction strategies and will discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with this emerging technology.
PMCID: PMC2988080  PMID: 20691229
Theranostics; drug delivery; gene delivery; nanomedicine; molecular imaging; iron oxide nanoparticles; quantum dots; gold nanoparticles; carbon nanotubes; silica nanoparticles
In this study, we report the fabrication of engineered iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) functionalized with anti-human epidermal growth factor receptor type 2 (HER2) antibody to target the tumor antigen HER2. The Fc-directed conjugation of antibodies to the MNPs aids their efficient immunospecific targeting through free Fab portions. The directional specificity of conjugation was verified on a macrophage cell line. Immunofluorescence studies on macrophages treated with functionalized MNPs and free anti-HER2 antibody revealed that the antibody molecules bind to the MNPs predominantly through their Fc portion. Different cell lines with different HER2 expression levels were used to test the specificity of our functionalized nanoprobe for molecular targeting applications. The results of cell line targeting demonstrate that these engineered MNPs are able to differentiate between cell lines with different levels of HER2 expression.
PMCID: PMC3105601  PMID: 21643439
Nanoprobe; molecular imaging; cancer
17.  Biodistribution studies of protein cage nanoparticles demonstrate broad tissue distribution and rapid clearance in vivo 
Protein cage nanoparticles have the potential to serve as multifunctional cell targeted, imaging and therapeutic platforms for broad applications in medicine. However, before they find applications in medicine, their biocompatibility in vivo needs to be demonstrated. We provide here baseline biodistribution information of two different spherical protein cage nanoplatforms, the 28 nm viral Cowpea chlorotic mottle virus (CCMV) and the 12 nm heat shock protein (Hsp) cage. In naïve and immunized mice both nanoplatforms show similar broad distribution and movement throughout most tissues and organs, rapid excretion, the absence of long term persistence within mice tissue and organs, and no overt toxicity after a single injection. These results suggest that protein cage based nanoparticles may serve as safe, biocompatible, nanoplatforms for applications in medicine.
PMCID: PMC2676807  PMID: 18203438
protein cage nanoparticles; Cowpea chlorotic mottle virus; heat shock protein; biodistribution
18.  In vitro evaluation of novel polymer-coated magnetic nanoparticles for controlled drug delivery 
Previously uncharacterized poly(N-isopropylacrylamide-acrylamide-allylamine)-coated magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) were synthesized using silane-coated MNPs as a template for radical polymerization of N-isopropylacrylamide, acrylamide, and allylamine. Properties of these nanoparticles such as size, biocompatibility, drug loading efficiency, and drug release kinetics were evaluated in vitro for targeted and controlled drug delivery. Spherical core-shell nanoparticles with a diameter of 100 nm showed significantly lower systemic toxicity than did bare MNPs, as well as doxorubicin encapsulation efficiency of 72%, and significantly higher doxorubicin release at 41°C compared with 37°C, demonstrating their temperature sensitivity. Released drugs were also active in destroying prostate cancer cells (JHU31). Furthermore, the nanoparticle uptake by JHU31 cells was dependent on dose and incubation time, reaching saturation at 500 μg/mL and 4 hours, respectively. In addition, magnetic resonance imaging capabilities of the particles were observed using agarose platforms containing cells incubated with nanoparticles. Future work includes investigation of targeting capability and effectiveness of these nanoparticles in vivo using animal models.
PMCID: PMC2924461  PMID: 20172050
Magnetic nanoparticles; Temperature-responsive polymers; Prostate cancer; Doxorubicin
19.  Theranostic Nanoparticles with Controlled Release of Gemcitabine for Targeted Therapy and MRI of Pancreatic Cancer 
ACS nano  2013;7(3):2078-2089.
The tumor stroma in human cancers significantly limits the delivery of therapeutic agents into cancer cells. To develop an effective therapeutic approach overcoming the physical barrier of the stroma, we engineered urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR)-targeted magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs) carrying gemcitabine (Gem) as a chemotherapy drug for targeted delivery into uPAR-expressing tumor and stromal cells. The uPAR-targeted nanoparticle construct, ATF-IONP-Gem, was prepared by conjugating IONPs with the amino-terminal fragment (ATF) peptide of the receptor-binding domain of uPA, a natural ligand of uPAR, and Gem via a lysosomally cleavable tetrapeptide linker. These theranostic nanoparticles enable intracellular release of Gem following receptor-mediated endocytosis of ATF-IONP-Gem into tumor cells, and also allow in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of tumors. Our results demonstrated the pH- and lysosomal enzyme-dependent release of gemcitabine, preventing the drug from enzymatic degradation. Systemic administrations of ATF-IONP-Gem significantly inhibited the growth of orthotopic human pancreatic cancer xenografts in nude mice. With MRI contrast enhancement by IONPs, we detected the presence of IONPs in the residual tumor lesions following the treatment, suggesting the possibility of monitoring drug delivery and assessing drug resistant tumors by MRI. The theranostic ATF-IONP-Gem nanoparticle has great potential for the development of targeted therapeutic and imaging approaches that are capable of overcoming the tumor stromal barrier, thus enhancing the therapeutic effect of nanoparticle drugs on pancreatic cancers.
PMCID: PMC3609912  PMID: 23402593
targeted cancer therapy; theranostic nanoparticle; uPAR; pancreatic cancer; gemcitabine; controlled drug release; magnetic resonance imaging; drug delivery
20.  Magnetic brain tumor targeting and biodistribution of long-circulating PEG-modified, cross-linked starch coated iron oxide nanoparticles 
Biomaterials  2011;32(26):6291-6301.
Magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MNPs) have been studied to circumvent the limitations of status-quo brain tumor therapy and can be targeted by applying an external magnetic field to lesions. To address the pharmacokinetic challenges of MNPs that can limit targeting efficiency, we recently reported a long-circulating polyethylene glycol modified, cross-linked starch MNP (PEG-MNP) suitable for magnetic targeting. Using a rat model, this work explores the biodistribution patterns of PEG-MNPs in organs of elimination (liver, spleen, lung, and kidney) and shows proof-of-concept that enhanced magnetic brain tumor targeting can be achieved due to improvements in the circulation lifetime of MNPs. Reductions in liver (~12 fold) and spleen (~2.5 fold) concentrations at 1 hr compared to parent starch MNPs (D) confirm plasma pharmacokinetics observed previously. While liver concentrations of PEG-MNPs remained considerably lower than those observed for D at 1 hr throughout their plasma clearance, spleen values continue to increase through and are markedly higher at 12 and 60 hr – a trend also observed with histology. Limited to no uptake of PEG-MNPs was visualized in lung or kidney throughout the 60 hr course evaluated. Enhanced, selective magnetic brain tumor targeting (t = 1 hr, 12 mg Fe/kg) of PEG-MNPs was confirmed in 9L glioma tumors, with upto 1.0% injected dose/g tissue accumulation achieved – a 15-fold improvement over targeted D (0.07% injected dose/g tissue). MRI and histological analyses visually confirmed enhanced PEG-MNP delivery to tumors and also suggest limited passive contribution to tissue retention of nanoparticles. Nonetheless, our results are exciting and justify both further development of PEG-MNP as a drug delivery platform and concurrent optimization of the magnetic brain tumor targeting strategy utilized.
PMCID: PMC3130121  PMID: 21684593
iron oxide nanoparticles; magnetic nanoparticles; magnetic targeting; polyethylene glycol (PEG); pharmacokinetics; reticuloendothelial system (RES); drug delivery; brain tumor; glioma
21.  In Vivo Screening of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Using AC Susceptibility of Anti-Alpha Fetoprotein-Activated Magnetic Nanoparticles 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e46756.
With antibody-mediated magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) applied in cancer examinations, patients must pay at least twice for MNP reagents in immunomagnetic reduction (IMR) of in vitro screening and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of in vivo tests. This is because the high maintenance costs and complex analysis of MRI have limited the possibility of in vivo screening. Therefore, this study proposes novel methods for in vivo screening of tumors by examining the AC susceptibility of bound MNPs using scanning superconducting-quantum-interference-device (SQUID) biosusceptometry (SSB), thereby demonstrating high portability and improved economy. The favorable agreement between in vivo tests using SSB and MRI demonstrated the feasibility of in vivo screening using SSB for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) targeted by anti-alpha fetoprotein (AFP)-mediated MNPs. The magnetic labeling was also proved by in vitro tests using SSB and biopsy assays. Therefore, patients receiving bioprobe-mediated MNPs only once can undergo in vivo screening using SSB in the future.
PMCID: PMC3466293  PMID: 23056437
22.  Magnetic core-shell nanoparticles for drug delivery by nebulization 
Aerosolized therapeutics hold great potential for effective treatment of various diseases including lung cancer. In this context, there is an urgent need to develop novel nanocarriers suitable for drug delivery by nebulization. To address this need, we synthesized and characterized a biocompatible drug delivery vehicle following surface coating of Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) with a polymer poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA). The polymeric shell of these engineered nanoparticles was loaded with a potential anti-cancer drug quercetin and their suitability for targeting lung cancer cells via nebulization was evaluated.
Average particle size of the developed MNPs and PLGA-MNPs as measured by electron microscopy was 9.6 and 53.2 nm, whereas their hydrodynamic swelling as determined using dynamic light scattering was 54.3 nm and 293.4 nm respectively. Utilizing a series of standardized biological tests incorporating a cell-based automated image acquisition and analysis procedure in combination with real-time impedance sensing, we confirmed that the developed MNP-based nanocarrier system was biocompatible, as no cytotoxicity was observed when up to 100 μg/ml PLGA-MNP was applied to the cultured human lung epithelial cells. Moreover, the PLGA-MNP preparation was well-tolerated in vivo in mice when applied intranasally as measured by glutathione and IL-6 secretion assays after 1, 4, or 7 days post-treatment. To imitate aerosol formation for drug delivery to the lungs, we applied quercitin loaded PLGA-MNPs to the human lung carcinoma cell line A549 following a single round of nebulization. The drug-loaded PLGA-MNPs significantly reduced the number of viable A549 cells, which was comparable when applied either by nebulization or by direct pipetting.
We have developed a magnetic core-shell nanoparticle-based nanocarrier system and evaluated the feasibility of its drug delivery capability via aerosol administration. This study has implications for targeted delivery of therapeutics and poorly soluble medicinal compounds via inhalation route.
PMCID: PMC3563500  PMID: 23343139
Nanomedicine; Magnetite nanoparticles; Quercetin; Drug delivery; Nebulization
23.  A combined theoretical and in vitro modeling approach for predicting the magnetic capture and retention of magnetic nanoparticles in vivo 
Magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) continue to draw considerable attention as potential diagnostic and therapeutic tools in the fight against cancer. Although many interacting forces present themselves during magnetic targeting of MNP to tumors, most theoretical considerations of this process ignore all except for the magnetic and drag forces. Our validation of a simple in vitro model against in vivo data, and subsequent reproduction of the in vitro results with a theoretical model indicated that these two forces do indeed dominate the magnetic capture of MNP. However, because nanoparticles can be subject to aggregation, and large MNP experience an increased magnetic force, the effects of surface forces on MNP stability cannot be ignored. We accounted for the aggregating surface forces simply by measuring the size of MNP retained from flow by magnetic fields, and utilized this size in the mathematical model. This presumably accounted for all particle-particle interactions, including those between magnetic dipoles. Thus, our “corrected” mathematical model provided a reasonable estimate of not only fractional MNP retention, but also predicted the regions of accumulation in a simulated capillary. Furthermore, the model was also utilized to calculate the effects of MNP size and spatial location, relative to the magnet, on targeting of MNPs to tumors. This combination of an in vitro model with a theoretical model could potentially assist with parametric evaluations of magnetic targeting, and enable rapid enhancement and optimization of magnetic targeting methodologies.
PMCID: PMC3111968  PMID: 21295085
magnetic targeting; iron oxide nanoparticle; brain tumor; drug delivery; theoretical modeling
24.  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.
PMCID: PMC3265998  PMID: 22287840
cytotherapy; pancreatic cancer; disseminated peritoneal carcinomatosis; targeted magnetic hyperthermia; nanoparticles
25.  Optical Imaging and Magnetic Field Targeting of Magnetic Nanoparticles in Tumors 
ACS nano  2010;4(9):5217-5224.
To address efficacy issues of cancer diagnosis and chemotherapy, we have developed a magnetic nanoparticle (MNP) formulation with combined drug delivery and imaging properties that can potentially be used in image-guided drug therapy. Our MNP consists of an iron-oxide magnetic core coated with oleic acid (OA) and stabilized with an amphiphilic block copolymer. Previously, we reported that our MNP formulation can provide prolonged contrast for tumor magnetic resonance imaging and can be loaded with hydrophobic anticancer agents for sustained drug delivery. In this study, we developed MNPs with optical imaging properties using new near-infrared dyes to quantitatively determine their long-term biodistribution and tumor localization with and without an external magnetic field in mice with xenograft breast tumors. MNPs localized slowly in the tumor, reaching a peak 48 h post injection before slowly declining over the next 11 days. One-hour exposure of the tumor to a magnetic field further enhanced MNP localization to tumors. Our MNPs can be developed with combined drug delivery and multimodal imaging properties to improve cancer diagnosis, provide sustained treatment, and monitor therapeutic effects in tumors over time.
PMCID: PMC2947615  PMID: 20731413
Tumor targeting; Biodistribution; Drug delivery systems; Fluorophores; Theranostic agent

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