Cancer nanotherapeutics are progressing at a steady rate; research and development in the field has experienced an exponential growth since early 2000’s. The path to the commercialization of oncology drugs is long and carries significant risk; however, there is considerable excitement that nanoparticle technologies may contribute to the success of cancer drug development. The pace at which pharmaceutical companies have formed partnerships to use proprietary nanoparticle technologies has considerably accelerated. It is now recognized that by enhancing the efficacy and/or tolerability of new drug candidates, nanotechnology can meaningfully contribute to create differentiated products and improve clinical outcome. This review describes the lessons learned since the commercialization of the first-generation nanomedicines including DOXIL® and Abraxane®. It explores our current understanding of targeted and non-targeted nanoparticles that are under various stages of development, including BIND-014 and MM-398. It highlights the opportunities and challenges faced by nanomedicines in contemporary oncology, where personalized medicine is increasingly the mainstay of cancer therapy. We revisit the fundamental concepts of enhanced permeability and retention effect (EPR) and explore the mechanisms proposed to enhance preferential “retention” in the tumor, whether using active targeting of nanoparticles, binding of drugs to their tumoral targets or the presence of tumor associated macrophages. The overall objective of this review is to enhance our understanding in the design and development of therapeutic nanoparticles for treatment of cancers.
enhanced permeation and retention effect; active targeting; nanoparticles; nanomedicine; personalized medicine; tumor microenvironment; drug delivery; patient enrichment; vessel normalization; imaging
Over the past two decades, nanotechnology has emerged as a key player in various disciplines of science and technology. Some of the most exciting applications are in the field of biomedicine – for theranostics (for combined diagnostic and therapeutic purposes) as well as for exploration of biological systems. A detailed understanding of the molecular details of interactions between nanoparticles and biological nano-machinery – macromolecules, membranes, and intracellular organelles - is crucial for obtaining adequate information on mechanisms of action of nanomaterials as well as a perspective on the long term effects of these materials and their possible toxicological outcomes. This review focuses on the use of structure-based computational molecular modeling as a tool to understand and to predict the interactions between nanomaterials and nano-biosystems. We review major approaches and provide examples of computational analysis of the structural principles behind such interactions. A rationale on how nanoparticles of different sizes, shape, structure and chemical properties can affect the organization and functions of nano-machinery of cells is also presented.
Molecular interactions; Computational predictions; Nano-bio interactions; Inhibition of nano-mechanisms; Oxidative damage; Comparable sizes of nanoparticles
Carbon nanotubes display characteristics that are potentially useful in their development as scaffolds for vaccine compositions. These features include stability in vivo, lack of intrinsic immunogenicity, low toxicity, and the ability to be appended with multiple copies of antigens. In addition, the particulate nature of carbon nanotubes and their unusual properties of rapid entry into antigen-presenting cells, such as dendritic cells, make them especially useful as carriers of antigens. Early attempts demonstrating carbon nanotube-based vaccines can be used in both infectious disease settings and cancer are promising.
As a result of their unique electronic, optical, and mechanical properties, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been implemented in therapeutic and imaging applications. In an idealized situation, CNTs would be disposed of after they transport their theranostic payloads. Biodegradation represents an attractive pathway for the eliminating of CNT carriers post-delivery and may be integral in catalyzing the release of the cargo from the delivery vehicle. Accordingly, recent research efforts have focused on peroxidase-driven biodegradation of CNTs. In this review, we not only summarize recent efforts to biodegrade CNTs in the test tube, in vitro, and in vivo, but also attempt to explore the fundamental parameters underlying degradation. Encouraged by the in vivo results obtained to date, we envision a future, where carbon-based nano-containers, which are specifically designed to target organs/cells, deliver their cargo, and biodegrade via peroxidase-driven mechanism, will represent an attractive therapeutic delivery option in nanomedicine.
Biodegradation; carbon nanotubes; graphene; nanoparticles; peroxidases; drug delivery
Thermal tumor ablation therapies are being developed with a variety of nanomaterials, including single-and multiwalled carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have attracted interest due to their potential for simultaneous imaging and therapy. In this review, we highlight in vivo applications of carbon nanotube-mediated thermal therapy (CNMTT) and examine the rationale for use of this treatment in recurrent tumors or those resistant to conventional cancer therapies. Additionally, we discuss strategies to localize and enhance the cancer selectivity of this treatment and briefly examine issues relating the toxicity and long term fate of CNTs.
photothermal therapy; carbon nanotubes; single-walled nanotubes; multiwalled nanotubes; cancer therapy
As a basis of personalized medicine, pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics that aim to study the genetic architecture of drug response critically rely on dynamic modeling of how a drug is absorbed and transported to target tissues where the drug interacts with body molecules to produce drug effects. Systems mapping provides a general framework for integrating systems pharmacology and pharmacogenomics through robust ordinary differential equations. In this chapter, we extend systems mapping to more complex and more heterogeneous structure of drug response by implementing stochastic differential equations (SDE). We argue that SDE-implemented systems mapping provides a computational tool for pharmacogeneticor pharmacogenomic research towards personalized medicine.
Stochastic differential equation; PK; PD; Statistical model; Genetic architecture; Drug response
In this review, we focus on the biophysics of cell membrane lipids, particularly when cancers develop acquired drug resistance, and how biophysical changes in resistant cell membrane influence drug transport and nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery. Recent advances in membrane lipid research show the varied roles of lipids in regulating membrane P-glycoprotein function, membrane trafficking, apoptotic pathways, drug transport, and endocytic functions, particularly endocytosis, the primary mechanism of cellular uptake of nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems. Since acquired drug resistance alters lipid biosynthesis, understanding the role of lipids in cell membrane biophysics and its effect on drug transport is critical for developing effective therapeutic and drug delivery approaches to overcoming drug resistance. Here we discuss novel strategies for (a) modulating the biophysical properties of membrane lipids of resistant cells to facilitate drug transport and regain endocytic function and (b) developing effective nanoparticles based on their biophysical interactions with membrane lipids to enhance drug delivery and overcome drug resistance.
Endocytosis; P-glycoprotein efflux; Membrane fluidity; Apoptosis; Multidrug resistance; Nanomedicine
Multidrug resistance is the most widely exploited phenomenon by which cancer eludes chemotherapy. Broad variety of factors, ranging from the cellular ones, such as over-expression of efflux transporters, defective apoptotic machineries, and altered molecular targets, to the physiological factors such as higher interstitial fluid pressure, low extracellular pH, and formation of irregular tumor vasculature are responsible for multidrug resistance. A combination of various undesirable factors associated with biological surroundings together with poor solubility and instability of many potential therapeutic small & large molecules within the biological systems and systemic toxicity of chemotherapeutic agents has necessitated the need for nano-preparations to optimize drug delivery. The physiology of solid tumors presents numerous challenges for successful therapy. However, it also offers unique opportunities for the use of nanotechnology. Nanoparticles, up to 400 nm in size, have shown great promise for carrying, protecting and delivering potential therapeutic molecules with diverse physiological properties. In this review, various factors responsible for the MDR and the use of nanotechnology to overcome the MDR, the use of spheroid culture as well as the current technique of producing micro tumor tissues in vitro are discussed in detail.
Nanopreparations; Multidrug resistance; Spheroid culture; Combination therapy
Tumor cells develop resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs through multiple mechanisms. Overexpression of efflux transporters is an important source of drug resistance. Efflux transporters such as P-glycoprotein reduce intracellular drug accumulation and compromise drug efficacy. Various nanoparticle-based approaches have been investigated to overcome efflux-mediated resistance. These include the use of formulation excipients that inhibit transporter activity and co-delivery of the anticancer drug with a specific inhibitor of transporter function or expression. However, the effectiveness of nanoparticles can be diminished by poor transport in the tumor tissue. Hence, adjunct therapies that improve the intratumoral distribution of nanoparticles may be vital to the successful application of nanotechnology to overcome tumor drug resistance. This review discusses the mechanisms of tumor drug resistance and highlights the opportunities and challenges in the use of nanoparticles to improve the efficacy of anticancer drugs against resistant tumors.
Nanoparticles; efflux transporters; excipients; endocytosis; efflux inhibitors; tumor penetration; interstitial fluid pressure; extracellular matrix; transport barriers
Most tumors are heterogeneous and many cancers contain small population of highly tumorigenic and intrinsically drug resistant cancer stem cells (CSCs). Like normal stem cell, CSCs have ability to self-renew and differentiate to other tumor cell types. They are believed to be a source for drug resistance, tumor recurrence and metastasis. CSCs often overexpress drug efflux transporters, spend most of their time in non-dividing G0 cell cycle state, and therefore, can escape the conventional chemotherapies. Thus, targeting CSCs is essential for developing novel therapies to prevent cancer relapse and emerging of drug resistance. Nanocarrier-based therapeutic agents (nanomedicines) have been used to achieve longer circulation times, better stability and bioavailability over current therapeutics. Recently, some groups have successfully applied nanomedicines to target CSCs to eliminate the tumor and prevent its recurrence. These approaches include 1) delivery of therapeutic agents (small molecules, siRNA, antibodies) that affect embryonic signaling pathways implicated in self-renewal and differentiation in CSCs, 2) inhibiting drug efflux transporters in an attempt to sensitize CSCs to therapy, 3) targeting metabolism in CSCs through nanoformulated chemicals and field-responsive magnetic nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes, and 4) disruption of multiple pathways in drug resistant cells using combination of chemotherapeutic drugs with amphiphilic Pluronic block copolymers. Despite clear progress of these studies the challenges of targeting CSCs by nanomedicines still exist and leave plenty of room for improvement and development. This review summarizes biological processes that are related to CSCs, overviews the current state of anti-CSCs therapies, and discusses state-of-the-art nanomedicine approaches developed to kill CSCs.
drug delivery; cancer; cancer stem cells; nanocarriers; polymer therapeutics
The formation of any complex phenotype involves a web of metabolic pathways in which one chemical is transformed through the catalysis of enzymes into another. Traditional approaches for mapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) are based on a direct association analysis between DNA marker genotypes and end-point phenotypes, neglecting the mechanistic processes of how a phenotype is formed biochemically. Here, we propose a new dynamic framework for mapping metabolic QTLs (mQTLs) responsible for phenotypic formation. By treating metabolic pathways as a biological system, robust differential equations have proven to be a powerful means of studying and predicting the dynamic behavior of biochemical reactions that cause a high-order phenotype. The new framework integrates these differential equations into a statistical mixture model for QTL mapping. Since the mathematical parameters that define the emergent properties of the metabolic system can be estimated and tested for different mQTL genotypes, the framework allows the dynamic pattern of genetic effects to be quantified on metabolic capacity and efficacy across a time-space scale. Based on a recent study of glycolysis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we design and perform a series of simulation studies to investigate the statistical properties of the framework and validate its usefulness and utilization in practice. This framework can be generalized to mapping QTLs for any other dynamic systems and may stimulate pharmacogenetic research toward personalized drug and treatment intervention.
Systems mapping; QTL; Metabolic system; Differential equations; Mixture model
Microfluidic platforms provide several unique advantages for drug development. In the production of drug carriers, physical properties such as size and shape, and chemical properties such as drug composition and pharmacokinetic parameters, can be modified simply and effectively by tuning the flow rate and geometries. Large numbers of carriers can then be fabricated with minimal effort and with little to no batch-to-batch variation. Additionally, cell or tissue culture models in microfluidic systems can be used as in vitro drug screening tools. Compared to in vivo animal models, microfluidic drug screening platforms allow for high-throughput and reproducible screening at a significantly lower cost, and when combined with current advances in tissue engineering, are also capable of mimicking native tissues. In this review, various microfluidic platforms for drug and gene carrier fabrication are reviewed to provide guidelines for designing appropriate carriers. In vitro microfluidic drug screening platforms designed for high-throughput analysis and replication of in vivo conditions are also reviewed to highlight future directions for drug research and development.
microfluidics; drug carrier; gene carrier; drug screening; high-throughput
As an indispensable component of recombinant fusion proteins, linkers have shown increasing importance in the construction of stable, bioactive fusion proteins. This review covers the current knowledge of fusion protein linkers and summarizes examples for their design and application. The general properties of linkers derived from naturally-occurring multi-domain proteins can be considered as the foundation in linker design. Empirical linkers designed by researchers are generally classified into 3 categories according to their structures: flexible linkers, rigid linkers, and in vivo cleavable linkers. Besides the basic role in linking the functional domains together (as in flexible and rigid linkers) or releasing free functional domain in vivo (as in in vivo cleavable linkers), linkers may offer many other advantages for the production of fusion proteins, such as improving biological activity, increasing expression yield, and achieving desirable pharmacokinetic profiles.
bifunctional recombinant proteins; spacer; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics
Many drugs have decreased therapeutic activity due to issues with absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. The co-formulation or covalent attachment of drugs with fatty acids has demonstrated some capacity to overcome these issues by improving intestinal permeability, slowing clearance and binding serum proteins for selective tissue uptake and metabolism. For orally administered drugs, albeit at low level of availability, the presence of fatty acids and triglycerides in the intestinal lumen may promote intestinal uptake of small hydrophilic molecules. Small lipophilic drugs or acylated hydrophilic drugs also show increased lymphatic uptake and enhanced passive diffusional uptake. Fatty acid conjugation of small and large proteins or peptides have exhibited protracted plasma half-lives, site-specific delivery and sustained release upon parenteral administration. These improvements are most likely due to associations with lipid-binding serum proteins, namely albumin, LDL and HDL. These molecular interactions, although not fully characterized, could provide the ability of using the endogenous carrier systems for improving therapeutic outcomes.
Drug delivery; protein binding; endogenous drug carriers; albumin; drug absorption; drug formulation; fatty acids; triglycerides; lipid prodrugs; reversible lipidization
Cell-penetrating peptide (CPP)-mediated intracellular drug delivery system, often specifically termed as “the Trojan horse approach”, has become the “holy grail” in achieving effective delivery of macromolecular compounds such as proteins, DNA, siRNAs, and drug carriers. It is characterized by the unique cell- (or receptor-), temperature-, and payload-independent mechanisms, therefore offering potent means to improve poor cellular uptake of a variety of macromolecular drugs. Nevertheless, this “Trojan horse” approach also acts like a double-edged sword, causing serious safety and toxicity concerns to normal tissues or organs for in vivo application, due to lack of target selectivity of the powerful cell penetrating activity. To overcome this problem of potent yet non-selective penetration vs. targeting delivery, a number of “smart” strategies have been developed in recent years, including controllable CPP-based drug delivery systems based on various stimuli-responsive mechanisms. This review article provides a fundamental understanding of these smart systems, as well as a discussion of their real-time in vivo applicability.
cell-penetrating peptide (CPP); drug delivery system; prodrug; targeted delivery; in vivo
Platinum based anticancer drugs have revolutionized cancer chemotherapy, and continue to be in widespread clinical use especially for management of tumors of the ovary, testes, and the head and neck. However, several dose limiting toxicities associated with platinum drug use, partial anti-tumor response in most patients, development of drug resistance, tumor relapse, and many other challenges have severely limited the patient quality of life. These limitations have motivated an extensive research effort towards development of new strategies for improving platinum therapy. Nanocarrier-based delivery of platinum compounds is one such area of intense research effort beginning to provide encouraging preclinical and clinical results and may allow the development of the next generation of platinum chemotherapy. This review highlights current understanding on the pharmacology and limitations of platinum compounds in clinical use, and provides a comprehensive analysis of various platinum–polymer complexes, micelles, dendrimers, liposomes and other nanoparticles currently under investigation for delivery of platinum drugs.
Platinum drugs; Drug delivery systems; Liposome; Polymer conjugate; Dendrime; Nanotube; Nanoparticle; Micelle; Block ionomer complex
Injectable blood persistent particulate carriers have important therapeutic application in site-specific drug delivery or medical imaging. However, injected particles are generally eliminated by the reticuloendothelial system within minutes after administration and accumulate in the liver and spleen. To obtain a coating that might prevent opsonization and subsequent recognition by the macrophages, sterically stabilized nanospheres were developed using amphiphilic diblock or multiblock copolymers. The nanospheres are composed of a hydrophilic polyethylene glycol coating and a biodegradable core in which various drugs were encapsulated. Hydrophobic drugs, such as lidocaine, were entrapped up to 45 wt% and the release kinetics were governed by the polymer physico-chemical characteristics. Plasma protein adsorption was drastically reduced on PEG-coated particles compared to non-coated ones. Relative protein amounts were time-dependent. The nanospheres exhibited increased blood circulation times and reduced liver accumulation, depending on the coating polyethylene glycol molecular weight and surface density. They could be freeze-dried and redispersed in aqueous solutions and possess good shelf stability. It may be possible to tailor “optimal” polymers for given therapeutic applications.
Long-circulating nanoparticles; Biodegradable polymers; Polyethylene glycol; Hydrophilic coating; Reduced liver accumulation; Intravenous drug administration
Soft-tissue cells are surprisingly sensitive to the elasticity of their microenvironment, suggesting that traditional culture plastic and glass are less relevant to tissue regeneration and chemotherapeutics than might be achieved. Cells grown on gels that mimic the elasticity of tissue reveal a significant influence of matrix elasticity on adhesion, cytoskeletal organization, and even the differentiation of human adult derived stem cells. Cellular forces and feedback are keys to how cells feel their mechanical microenvironment, but detailed molecular mechanisms are still being elucidated. This review summarizes our initial findings for multipotent stem cells and also the elasticity-coupled effects of drugs on cancer cells and smooth muscle cells. The drugs include the contractility inhibitor blebbistatin, the proliferation inhibitor mitomycin C, an apoptotis-inducing antibody against CD47, and the translation inhibitor cycloheximide. The differential effects not only lend insight into mechano-sensing of the substrate by cells, but also have important implications for regeneration and molecular therapies.
Cells; Tissue regeneration; Drug delivery; Matrix elasticity; Extracellular matrix; Atomic force microscopy (AFM); Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)
Endogenous acetylcarnitine is an indicator of acetyl-CoA synthesized by multiple metabolic pathways involving carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids, sterols, and ketone bodies, and utilized mainly by the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Acetylcarnitine supplementation has beneficial effects in elderly animals and humans, including restoration of mitochondrial content and function. These effects appear to be dose-dependent and occur even after short-term therapy. In order to set the stage for understanding the mechanism of action of acetylcarnitine, we review the metabolism and role of this compound. We suggest that acetylation of mitochondrial proteins leads to a specific increase in mitochondrial gene expression and mitochondrial protein synthesis. In the aged rat heart, this effect is translated to increased cytochrome b content, restoration of complex III activity, and oxidative phosphorylation, resulting in amelioration of the age-related mitochondrial defect.
aging; mitochondrial metabolism; acetyl-CoA; electron transport chain complexes; mitochondrial proteins; mitochondrial biogenesis; complex III
The excellent biocompatibility and unique inclusion capability as well as powerful functionalization capacity of cyclodextrins and their derivatives make them especially attractive for engineering novel functional materials for biomedical applications. There has been increasing interest recently to fabricate supramolecular systems for drug and gene delivery based on cyclodextrin materials. This review focuses on state of the art and recent advances in the construction of cyclodextrin-based assemblies and their applications for controlled drug delivery. First, we introduce cyclodextrin materials utilized for self-assembly. The fabrication technologies of supramolecular systems including nanoplatforms and hydrogels as well as their applications in nanomedicine and pharmaceutical sciences are then highlighted. At the end, the future directions of this field are discussed.
Cyclodextrin; Amphiphile; Self-assembly; Supramolecular system; Nanoparticle; Nanomedicine; Hydrogel; Drug delivery; Gene therapy
With the technological development of positron emission tomography (PET) and the advent of novel antibody-directed drug delivery systems, longer-lived positron-emitting radionuclides are moving to the forefront to take important roles in tracking the distribution of biotherapeutics such as antibodies, and for monitoring biological processes and responses. Longer half-life radionuclides possess advantages of convenient on-site preparation procedures for both clinical and non-clinical applications. The suitability of the long half-life radionuclides for imaging intact monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and their respective fragments, which have inherently long biological half-lives, has attracted increased interest in recent years. In this review, we provide a survey of the recent literature as it applies to the development of nine-selected longer-lived positron emitters with half-lives of 9–140 hours (e.g., 124I, 64Cu, 86Y and 89Zr), and describe the biological behaviors of radionuclide-labeled mAbs with respect to distribution and targeting characteristics, potential toxicities, biological applications, and clinical translation potentials.
immuno-PET; radioimmunoimaging; monoclonal antibodies; oncology; 86Y; 89Zr; 124I; 64Cu