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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.  Magnetic-Fe/Fe3O4-nanoparticle-bound SN38 as carboxylesterase-cleavable prodrug for the delivery to tumors within monocytes/macrophages 
The targeted delivery of therapeutics to the tumor site is highly desirable in cancer treatment, because it is capable of minimizing collateral damage. Herein, we report the synthesis of a nanoplatform, which is composed of a 15 ± 1 nm diameter core/shell Fe/Fe3O4 magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and the topoisomerase I blocker SN38 bound to the surface of the MNPs via a carboxylesterase cleavable linker. This nanoplatform demonstrated high heating ability (SAR = 522 ± 40 W/g) in an AC-magnetic field. For the purpose of targeted delivery, this nanoplatform was loaded into tumor-homing double-stable RAW264.7 cells (mouse monocyte/macrophage-like cells (Mo/Ma)), which have been engineered to express intracellular carboxylesterase (InCE) upon addition of doxycycline by a Tet-On Advanced system. The nanoplatform was taken up efficiently by these tumor-homing cells. They showed low toxicity even at high nanoplatform concentration. SN38 was released successfully by switching on the Tet-On Advanced system. We have demonstrated that this nanoplatform can be potentially used for thermochemotherapy. We will be able to achieve the following goals: (1) Specifically deliver the SN38 prodrug and magnetic nanoparticles to the cancer site as the payload of tumor-homing double-stable RAW264.7 cells; (2) Release of chemotherapeutic SN38 at the cancer site by means of the self-containing Tet-On Advanced system; (3) Provide localized magnetic hyperthermia to enhance the cancer treatment, both by killing cancer cells through magnetic heating and by activating the immune system.
PMCID: PMC3388369  PMID: 23016149
cell-based delivery; chemotherapeutic prodrug; magnetic Fe/Fe3O4 nanoparticles; SN38
4.  Human Xenografts Are Not Rejected in a Naturally Occurring Immunodeficient Porcine Line: A Human Tumor Model in Pigs 
BioResearch Open Access  2012;1(2):63-68.
Animal models for cancer therapy are invaluable for preclinical testing of potential cancer treatments; however, therapies tested in such models often fail to translate into clinical settings. Therefore, a better preclinical model for cancer treatment testing is needed. Here we demonstrate that an immunodeficient line of pigs can host and support the growth of xenografted human tumors and has the potential to be an effective animal model for cancer therapy. Wild-type and immunodeficient pigs were injected subcutaneously in the left ear with human melanoma cells (A375SM cells) and in the right ear with human pancreatic carcinoma cells (PANC-1). All immunodeficient pigs developed tumors that were verified by histology and immunohistochemistry. Nonaffected littermates did not develop tumors. Immunodeficient pigs, which do not reject xenografted human tumors, have the potential to become an extremely useful animal model for cancer therapy because of their similarity in size, anatomy, and physiology to humans.
PMCID: PMC3559234  PMID: 23514746
immunodeficient swine; large-animal cancer model; melanoma; pancreatic carcinoma; xenografts
5.  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
6.  Poly-N-Isopropylacrylamide/acrylic Acid Copolymers for the Generation of Nanostructures at Mica Surfaces and as Hydrophobic Host Systems for the Porin MspA from Mycobacterium smegmatis 
The work presented here aims at utilizing poly-N-isopropyl-acrylamide/acrylic acid copolymers to create nanostructured layers on mica surfaces by a simple spin-casting procedure. The average composition of the copolymers determined by elemental analysis correlates excellently with the feed composition indicating that the radical polymerization process is statistical. The resulting surfaces were characterized by Atomic Force Microscopy (magnetic AC-mode) at the copolymer/air interface. Postpolymerization modification of the acrylic acid functions with perfluoro-octyl-iodide decreased the tendency towards spontaneous formation of nanopores. Crosslinking of individual polymer chains permitted the generation of ultraflat layers, which hosted the mycobacterial channel protein MspA, without compromising its channel function. The comparison of copolymers of very similar chemical composition that have been prepared by living radical polymerization and classic radical polymerization indicated that differences in polydispersity played only a minor role when poly-N-isopropyl-acrylamide/acrylic acid copolymers were spincast, but a major role when copolymers featuring the strongly hydrophobic perfluoro-octyl-labels were used. The mean pore diameters were 23.8±4.4 nm for P[(NIPAM)95.5-co-(AA)4.5] (PDI (polydispersity index)=1.55) and 21.8±4.2 nm for P[(NIPAM)95.3-co-(AA)4.7] (PDI=1.25). The depth of the nanopores was approx. 4 nm. When depositing P[(NIPAM)95-co-(AA)2.8-AAC8F17 2.2] (PDI=1.29) on Mica, the resulting mean pore diameter was 35.8±7.1 nm, with a depth of only 2 nm.
PMCID: PMC2776743  PMID: 20161351
7.  Direct Observation of Gold Nanoparticle Assemblies with the Porin MspA on Mica 
ACS nano  2009;3(2):462-466.
The octameric porin MspA from Mycobacterium smegmatis is sufficiently stable to form a non-membrane-supported stand-alone porin on Mica surfaces. About 98% of all MspA octamers were found to stand upright on Mica, with their periplasmic loop regions bound to the hydrophilic Mica surface. Both, small (d = 3.7 nm) and large (d = 17 nm) gold nanoparticles bind to MspA, however in different positions: small gold nanoparticles bind within the MspA pore, whereas the large gold nanoparticles bind to the upper region of MspA. These experiments demonstrate that gold nanoparticles can be positioned at different, well-defined distances from the underlying surface using the MspA pore as a template. These findings represent a significant step towards the use of electrically insulating stable proteins in combination with metal nanoparticles in nanodevices.
PMCID: PMC2657223  PMID: 19236086
MspA from M. smegmatis; AFM (Magnetic AC Mode); Mica; gold-nanoparticle; bio/nanoelectronics

Results 1-7 (7)