This review is focused on the materials and methods used to fabricate closed-loop systems for type 1 diabetes therapy. Herein, we give a brief overview of current methods used for patient care and discuss two types of possible treatments and the materials used for these therapies–(i) artificial pancreases, comprised of insulin producing cells embedded in a polymeric biomaterial, and (ii) totally synthetic pancreases formulated by integrating continuous glucose monitors with controlled insulin release through degradable polymers and glucose-responsive polymer systems. Both the artificial and the completely synthetic pancreas have two major design requirements: the device must be both biocompatible and be permeable to small molecules and proteins, such as insulin. Several polymers and fabrication methods of artificial pancreases are discussed: microencapsulation, conformal coatings, and planar sheets. We also review the two components of a completely synthetic pancreas. Several types of glucose sensing systems (including materials used for electrochemical, optical, and chemical sensing platforms) are discussed, in addition to various polymer-based release systems (including ethylene-vinyl acetate, polyanhydrides, and phenylboronic acid containing hydrogels).
artificial pancreases; islet encapsulations; alginate hydrogels; glucose responsive polymers; electrochemical and optical glucose sensors
Nanoparticles are employed for delivering therapeutics into cells1,2. However, size, shape, surface chemistry and the presentation of targeting ligands on the surface of nanoparticles can affect circulation half-life and biodistribution, cell specific internalization, excretion, toxicity, and efficacy3-7. A variety of materials have been explored for delivering small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) - a therapeutic agent that suppresses the expression of targeted genes8,9. However, conventional delivery nanoparticles such as liposomes and polymeric systems are heterogeneous in size, composition and surface chemistry, and this can lead to suboptimal performance, lack of tissue specificity and potential toxicity10-12. Here, we show that self-assembled DNA tetrahedral nanoparticles with a well-defined size can deliver siRNAs into cells and silence target genes in tumours. Monodisperse nanoparticles are prepared through the self-assembly of complementary DNA strands. Because the DNA strands are easily programmable, the size of the nanoparticles and the spatial orientation and density of cancer targeting ligands (such as peptides and folate) on the nanoparticle surface can be precisely controlled. We show that at least three folate molecules per nanoparticle is required for optimal delivery of the siRNAs into cells and, gene silencing occurs only when the ligands are in the appropriate spatial orientation. In vivo, these nanoparticles showed a longer blood circulation time (t1/2 ∼ 24.2 min) than the parent siRNA (t1/2 ∼ 6 min).
Tissue engineering; Scaffold; Nerve regeneration; Young’s modulus; Regenerative medicine
One important barrier facing the delivery of short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) via synthetic nanoparticles is the rate of nanoparticle disassembly. However, our ability to optimize the release kinetics of siRNAs from nanoparticles for maximum efficacy is limited by the lack of methods to track their intracellular disassembly. Towards this end, we describe the design of two different siRNA-based fluorescent probes whose fluorescence emission changes in response to the assembly state of the nanoparticle. The first probe design involves a redox-sensitive fluorescence-quenched probe that fluoresces only when the nanoparticle is disassembled in a reductive environment. The second probe design is based on a FRET-labeled siRNA pair that fluoresces due to the proximity of the siRNA pair when the nanoparticle is intact. Both approaches have the advantage in that the delivery vehicle need not be labeled. The utility of these probes was investigated with a lipidoid nanoparticle (LNP) as proof-of-concept in both extracellular and intracellular environments. Fluorescence kinetic data from both probes were fit to a two-phase release and decay curve and subsequently quantified to give intracellular disassembly rate constants. Quantitative analysis revealed that the rate constant of siRNA release measured via the fluorescence-quenched probe was almost identical to the rate constant for nanoparticle disassembly measured via the FRET-labeled probes. Furthermore, these probes were utilized to determine subcellular localization of LNPs with the use of automated high-resolution microscopy as they undergo dissociation. Interestingly, this work shows that large amounts of siRNA remain inside vesicular compartments. Altogether, we have developed new siRNA probes that can be utilized with multiple nanocarriers for quantitative and qualitative analysis of nanoparticle dissociation that may serve as a design tool for future delivery systems.
Despite substantial efforts to understand the interactions between nanoparticles and cells, the cellular processes that determine the efficiency of intracellular drug delivery remain largely unclear. Here we examined cellular uptake of siRNA delivered in lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) using cellular trafficking probes in combination with automated high-throughput confocal microscopy as well as defined perturbations of cellular pathways paired with systems biology approaches to uncover protein-protein and protein-small molecule interactions. We show that multiple cell signaling effectors are required for initial cellular entry of LNPs through macropinocytosis, including proton pumps, mTOR, and cathepsins. SiRNA delivery is substantially reduced as ≅70% of the internalized siRNA undergoes exocytosis through egress of LNPs from late endosomes/lysosomes. Niemann Pick type C1 (NPC1) is shown to be an important regulator of the major recycling pathways of LNP-delivered siRNAs. NPC1-deficient cells show enhanced cellular retention of LNPs inside late endosomes/lysosomes and increased gene silencing of the target gene. Our data suggests that siRNA delivery efficiency might be improved by designing delivery vehicles that can escape the recycling pathways.
The ability to straightforwardly deliver engineered nanoparticles into the cell cytosol with high viability will vastly expand the range of biological applications. Nanoparticles could potentially be used as delivery vehicles or as fluorescent sensors to probe the cell. In particular, quantum dots (QDs) may be used to illuminate cytosolic proteins for long-term microscopy studies. Whereas recent advances have been successful in specifically labeling proteins with QDs on the cell membrane, cytosolic delivery of QDs into live cells has remained challenging. In this report, we demonstrate high throughput delivery of QDs into live cell cytoplasm using an uncomplicated microfluidic device while maintaining cell viabilities of 80–90%. We verify that the nanoparticle surface interacts with the cytosolic environment and that the QDs remain non-aggregated so that single QDs can be observed.
QD; cytosolic delivery; microfluidic device; single QD tracking
This review covers reservoir-based drug delivery systems that incorporate microtechnology, with an emphasis on oral, dermal, and implantable systems. Key features of each technology are highlighted such as working principles, fabrication methods, dimensional constraints, and performance criteria. Reservoir-based systems include a subset of microfabricated drug delivery systems and provide unique advantages. Reservoirs, whether external to the body or implanted, provide a well-controlled environment for a drug formulation, allowing increased drug stability and prolonged delivery times. Reservoir systems have the flexibility to accommodate various delivery schemes, including zero order, pulsatile, and on demand dosing, as opposed to a standard sustained release profile. Furthermore, the development of reservoir-based systems for targeted delivery for difficult to treat applications (e.g., ocular) has resulted in potential platforms for patient therapy.
Controlled Release; Implant; MEMS; Microneedle; Micropump; Ocular; On Demand; Pulsatile
We develop biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles to facilitate non-viral gene transfer to human embryonic stem cells (hESC). Small (~200 nm) and positively charged (~10 mV) particles are formed by the self-assembly of cationic, hydrolytically-degradable, poly(beta-amino esters) and plasmid DNA. Varying the end-group of the polymer can tune the biophysical properties of the resulting nanoparticles and their gene delivery efficacy. An OCT4 driven GFP hES cell line was created to allow rapid identification of nanoparticles that facilitate gene transfer while maintaining an hESC undifferentiated state. Using this cell system, we synthesized nanoparticles that have gene delivery efficacy up to four times higher than the leading commercially available transfection agent, Lipofectamine 2000. Importantly, these materials have minimal toxicity and do not adversely affect hES colony morphology or cause non-specific differentiation.
Gene Delivery; Nanoparticle; Stem Cell; Transfection; Polymer
Low-frequency ultrasound has been studied extensively due to its ability to enhance skin permeability. In spite of this effort, improvements in enhancing the efficacy of transdermal ultrasound treatments have been limited. Currently, when greater skin permeability is desired at a given frequency, one is limited to increasing the intensity or the duration of the ultrasound treatment, which carries the risk of thermal side effects. Therefore, the ability to increase skin permeability without increasing ultrasound intensity or treatment time would represent a significant and desirable outcome. Here, we hypothesize that the simultaneous application of two distinct ultrasound frequencies, in the range of 20 kHz to 3 MHz, can enhance the efficacy of ultrasound exposure. Aluminum foil pitting experiments showed a significant increase in cavitational activity when two frequencies were applied instead of just one low frequency. Additionally, in vitro tests with porcine skin indicated that the permeability and resulting formation of localized transport regions are greatly enhanced when two frequencies (low and high) are used simultaneously. These results were corroborated with glucose (180 Da) and inulin (5000 Da) transdermal flux experiments, which showed greater permeant delivery both into and through the dual-frequency pre-treated skin.
Cavitation; Permeability; Skin; Diffusion; Transdermal Drug Delivery; Ultrasound
In January 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began a nationwide investigation of severe adverse reactions that were first detected in a single hemodialysis facility. Preliminary findings suggested that heparin was a possible cause of the reactions.
Information on clinical manifestations and on exposure was collected for patients who had signs and symptoms that were consistent with an allergic-type reaction after November 1, 2007. Twenty-one dialysis facilities that reported reactions and 23 facilities that reported no reactions were included in a case–control study to identify facility-level risk factors. Unopened heparin vials from facilities that reported reactions were tested for contaminants.
A total of 152 adverse reactions associated with heparin were identified in 113 patients from 13 states from November 19, 2007, through January 31, 2008. The use of heparin manufactured by Baxter Healthcare was the factor most strongly associated with reactions (present in 100.0% of case facilities vs. 4.3% of control facilities, P<0.001). Vials of heparin manufactured by Baxter from facilities that reported reactions contained a contaminant identified as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS). Adverse reactions to the OSCS-contaminated heparin were often characterized by hypotension, nausea, and shortness of breath occurring within 30 minutes after administration. Of 130 reactions for which information on the heparin lot was available, 128 (98.5%) occurred in a facility that had OSCS-contaminated heparin on the premises. Of 54 reactions for which the lot number of administered heparin was known, 52 (96.3%) occurred after the administration of OSCS-contaminated heparin.
Heparin contaminated with OSCS was epidemiologically linked to adverse reactions in this nationwide outbreak. The reported clinical features of many of the cases further support the conclusion that contamination of heparin with OSCS was the cause of the outbreak.
Bacterial attachment and subsequent biofilm formation pose key challenges to the optimal performance of medical devices. In this study, we determined the attachment of selected bacterial species to hundreds of polymeric materials in a high-throughput microarray format. Using this method, we identified a group of structurally related materials comprising ester and cyclic hydrocarbon moieties that substantially reduced the attachment of pathogenic bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli). Coating silicone with these ‘hit’ materials achieved up to a 30-fold (96.7%) reduction in the surface area covered by bacteria compared with a commercial silver hydrogel coating in vitro, and the same material coatings were effective at reducing bacterial attachment in vivo in a mouse implant infection model. These polymers represent a class of materials that reduce the attachment of bacteria that could not have been predicted to have this property from the current understanding of bacteria-surface interactions.
Cell-biomaterial interactions can be controlled by modifying the surface chemistry or nanotopography of the material, to induce cell proliferation and differentiation if desired. Here we combine both approaches in forming silk nanofibers (SNFs) containing gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and subsequently chemically modifying the fibers. Silk fibroin mixed with gold seed nanoparticles was electrospun to form SNFs doped with gold seed nanoparticles (SNFseed). Following gold reduction, there was a two-fold increase in particle diameter confirmed by the appearance of a strong absorption peak at 525 nm. AuNPs were dispersed throughout the AuNP-doped silk nanofibers (SNFsAu). The Young’s modulus of the SNFsAu was almost 70% higher than that of SNFs. SNFsAu were modified with the arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) peptide. Human mesenchymal stem cells that were cultured on RGD-modified SNFAu had a more than two-fold larger cell area compared to the cells cultured on bare SNFs; SNFAu also increase cell size. We suggest that this approach can be used to alter the cell-material interface in tissue engineering and other applications.
silk; nanofibers; gold nanoparticles; cellular adhesion; tissue engineering; mesenchymal stem cells
3D microfluidic networks are fabricated in a gelatin hydrogel using sacrificial melt-spun microfibers made from a material with pH-dependent solubility. The fibers, after being embedded within the gel, can be removed by changing the gel pH to induce dissolution. This process is performed in an entirely aqueous environment, avoiding extreme temperatures, low pressures, and toxic organic solvents.
vascular; hydrogel; gelatin; shellac; microfiber
Designing materials to control biology is an intense focus of biomaterials and regenerative medicine research. Discovering and designing materials with appropriate biological compatibility or active control of cells and tissues is being increasingly undertaken using high throughput synthesis and assessment methods. We report a relatively simple but powerful machine-learning method of generating models that link microscopic or molecular properties of polymers or other materials to their biological effects. We illustrate the potential of these methods by developing the first robust, predictive, quantitative, and purely computational models of adhesion of human embryonic stem cell embryoid bodies (hEB) to the surfaces of a 496-member polymer micro array library.
Bacteria have shown a remarkable ability to overcome drug therapy if there is a failure to achieve sustained bactericidal concentration or if there is a reduction in activity in situ. The latter can be caused by localized acidity, a phenomenon that can occur as a result of the combined actions of bacterial metabolism and the host immune response. Nanoparticles (NP) have shown promise in treating bacterial infections, but a significant challenge has been to develop antibacterial NPs that may be suitable for systemic administration. Herein we develop drug-encapsulated, pH-responsive, surface charge-switching poly(D, L-lactic-co-glycolic acid)-b-poly(L-histidine)-b-poly(ethylene glycol) (PLGA-PLH-PEG) nanoparticles for treating bacterial infections. These NP drug carriers are designed to shield nontarget interactions at pH 7.4 but bind avidly to bacteria in acidity, delivering drugs and mitigating in part the loss of drug activity with declining pH. The mechanism involves pH-sensitive NP surface charge-switching, which is achieved by selective protonation of the imidazole groups of PLH at low pH. NP binding studies demonstrate pH-sensitive NP binding to bacteria with a 3.5±0.2 to 5.8±0.1 fold increase in binding to bacteria at pH 6.0 compared to 7.4. Further, PLGA-PLH-PEG-encapsulated vancomycin demonstrates reduced loss of efficacy at low pH, with an increase in minimum inhibitory concentration of 1.3-fold as compared to 2.0-fold and 2.3-fold for free- and PLGA-PEG-encapsulated vancomycin, respectively. The PLGA-PLH-PEG NPs described herein are a first step towards developing systemically administered drug carriers that can target and potentially treat Gram-positive, Gram-negative, or polymicrobial infections associated with acidity.
nanoparticles; S. aureus; pH-sensitive; vancomycin; cystic fibrosis
There is an urgent need to determine whether oversulfated chondroitin sulfate (OSCS), a compound contaminating heparin supplies worldwide, is the cause of the severe anaphylactoid reactions that have occurred after intravenous heparin administration in the United States and Germany.
Heparin procured from the Food and Drug Administration, consisting of suspect lots of heparin associated with the clinical events as well as control lots of heparin, were screened in a blinded fashion both for the presence of OSCS and for any biologic activity that could potentially link the contaminant to the observed clinical adverse events. In vitro assays for the activation of the contact system and the complement cascade were performed. In addition, the ability of OSCS to recapitulate key clinical manifestations in vivo was tested in swine.
The OSCS found in contaminated lots of unfractionated heparin, as well as a synthetically generated OSCS reference standard, directly activated the kinin–kallikrein pathway in human plasma, which can lead to the generation of bradykinin, a potent vasoactive mediator. In addition, OSCS induced generation of C3a and C5a, potent anaphylatoxins derived from complement proteins. Activation of these two pathways was unexpectedly linked and dependent on fluid-phase activation of factor XII. Screening of plasma samples from various species indicated that swine and humans are sensitive to the effects of OSCS in a similar manner. OSCS-containing heparin and synthetically derived OSCS induced hypotension associated with kallikrein activation when administered by intravenous infusion in swine.
Our results provide a scientific rationale for a potential biologic link between the presence of OSCS in suspect lots of heparin and the observed clinical adverse events. An assay to assess the amidolytic activity of kallikrein can supplement analytic tests to protect the heparin supply chain by screening for OSCS and other highly sulfated polysaccharide contaminants of heparin that can activate the contact system.
The assembly, stability and timely disassembly of short interfering RNA (siRNA) nanocomplexes all have the potential to affect the efficiency of siRNA delivery and gene silencing. As such, the design of new probes that can measure these properties without significantly perturbing the nanocomplexes or their environment may facilitate the study and further development of new siRNA nanocomplexes. Herein, we study Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET)-labeled siRNA probes that can track the assembly, stability and disassembly of siRNA nanocomplexes in different environments. The probe is composed of two identical siRNAs, each labeled with a fluorophore. Upon nanocomplex formation, the siRNA-bound fluorophores become locally aggregated within the nanocomplex and undergo FRET. A key advantage of this technique is that the delivery vehicle (DV) need not be labeled, thus enabling the characterization of a large variety of nanocarriers, some of which maybe difficult or even impossible to label. We demonstrate proof-of-concept by measuring the assembly of various DVs with siRNAs and show good agreement with gel electrophoresis experiments. As a consequence of not having to label the DV, we are able to determine nanocomplex biophysical parameters such as the extracellular apparent dissociation constants (KD) and intracellular disassembly half-life for several in-house and proprietary commercial DV’s. Furthermore, the lack of DV modification allows for a true direct comparison between DVs as well as correlation between their biophysical properties and gene silencing.
siRNA; FRET; Nanocomplex; Fluorescent Probe; polycation; lipid; lipidoid
Surface modification is one of the most important techniques in modern science and engineering. The facile introduction of a wide variety of desired properties onto virtually any material surface is an ultimate goal in surface chemistry. To achieve this goal, the incorporation of structurally diverse molecules onto any material surface is an essential capability for ideal surface modification. Here, we present a general strategy of surface modification, in which many diverse surfaces can be functionalized by immobilizing a wide variety of molecules. This strategy functionalizes surfaces by a one-step immersion of substrates in a one-pot mixture of a molecule and a catecholamine surface modification agent. This one-step procedure for surface modification represents a standard protocol to control interfacial properties.
Surface modification; Bio-inspired coating; ATRP; Mineralization; Polydopamine
Lipid-polymer hybrid (LPH) nanoparticles can deliver a wide range of therapeutic compounds in a controlled manner. LPH nanoparticle syntheses using microfluidics improve the mixing process, but are restricted by a low throughput. In this study we present a pattern-tunable microvortex platform that allows mass production and size control of LPH nanoparticles with superior reproducibility and homogeneity. We demonstrate that by varying flow rates (i.e. Reynolds number (30∼150)) we can control the nanoparticle size (30∼170nm) with high productivity (∼3g/hour) and low polydispersity (∼0.1). Our approach may contribute to efficient development and optimization of a wide range of multicomponent nanoparticles for medical imaging and drug delivery.
nanoparticle; microvortex; synthesis; control; polymer; microfluidics
Dynamic cell-microenvironment interactions regulate many biological events and play a critical role in tissue regeneration. Cell homing to targeted tissues requires well balanced interactions between cells and adhesion molecules on blood vessel walls. However, many stem cells lack affinity with adhesion molecules. It is challenging and clinically important to engineer these stem cells to modulate their dynamic interactions with blood vessels. In this study, a new chemical strategy was developed to engineer cell-microenvironment interactions. This method allowed the conjugation of peptides onto stem cell membranes without affecting cell viability, proliferation or multipotency. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) engineered in this manner showed controlled firm adhesion and rolling on E-selectin under physiological shear stresses. For the first time, these biomechanical responses were achieved by tuning the binding kinetics of the peptide-selectin interaction. Rolling of engineered MSCs on E-selectin is mediated by a Ca2+ independent interaction, a mechanism that differs from the Ca2+ dependent physiological process. This further illustrates the ability of this approach to manipulate cell-microenvironment interactions, in particular for the application of delivering cells to targeted tissues. It also provides a new platform to engineer cells with multiple functionalities.
Cell therapy holds promise as a method for the treatment of ischemic disease. However, one significant challenge to the efficacy of cell therapy is poor cell survival in vivo. Here we describe a non-viral, gene therapy approach to improve the survival and engraftment of cells transplanted into ischemic tissue. We have developed biodegradable poly(β-amino esters) (PBAE) nanoparticles as vehicles to genetically modify human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF transfection using these nanoparticles significantly enhanced VEGF expression in HUVECs, compared with a commercially-available transfection reagent. Transfection resulted in the upregulation of survival factors, and improved viability under simulated ischemic conditions. In a mouse model of hindlimb ischemia, VEGF nanoparticle transfection promoted engraftment of HUVECs into mouse vasculature as well as survival of transplanted HUVECs in ischemic tissues, leading to improved angiogenesis and ischemic limb salvage. This study demonstrates that biodegradable polymer nanoparticles may provide a safe and effective method for genetic engineering of endothelial cells to enhance therapeutic angiogenesis.
Polymer nanoparticles; Genetic engineering; Endothelial cells; Angiogenesis; Ischemia
While there are data supporting the use of light in clinical populations, there has been less investigation of relationships among light and psychological variables in non-clinical samples. Subjects were 459 ethnically diverse women (mean age 67.68) recruited as part of the Women's Health Initiative. Light exposure and sleep were measured with an Actillume wrist actigraph. Subjects completed questionnaires, investigating Social Support, Social Functioning, Social Strain, Quality of Life, Satisfaction with Life, Emotional Well-being, Optimism, Negative Emotional Expressiveness, and Role Limitation Due to Emotional Problems. Significant partial correlations (controlling for age, education and ethnicity) were found between mesor light exposure and Social Functioning, Quality of Life, Satisfaction with Life, and Emotional Well-Being. Quality of Life and Satisfaction with Life were also found to be significantly correlated with morning light. The most parsimonious model to account for the variance shared between mesor light and the predictors included only Quality of Life. The variance shared between mesor light exposure and social and emotional functioning could be subsumed under the variance shared between mesor light exposure and Quality of Life. Increased light exposure is related to improved quality of life and social and emotional functioning. Increased light exposure is related to improved quality of life and social and emotional functioning.
Phototherapy; Circadian rhythm; Interpersonal relations; Emotional disturbances; Sleep
The development of responsive nanomaterials—nanoscale systems that actively respond to stimuli—is one general goal of nanotechnology. Here we develop nanoparticles that can be controllably triggered to synthesize proteins. The nanoparticles consist of lipid vesicles filled with the cellular machinery responsible for transcription and translation, including amino acids, ribosomes, and DNA caged with a photo-labile protecting group. These particles served as nanofactories capable of producing proteins including green fluorescent protein (GFP) and enzymatically-active luciferase. In vitro and in vivo, protein synthesis was spatially and temporally controllable, and could be initiated by irradiating micron-scale regions on the timescale of milliseconds. The ability to control protein synthesis inside nanomaterials may enable new strategies to facilitate the study of orthogonal proteins in a confined environment and for remotely-activated drug delivery.
protein; nanoparticle; molecular nanotechnology; drug delivery