The blood-brain barrier (BBB) remains a formidable obstacle in medicine, preventing efficient penetration of chemotherapeutic and diagnostic agents to malignant gliomas. Here, a transactivator of transcription (TAT) peptide-modified gold nanoparticle platform (TAT-Au NP) with a 5 nm core size is demonstrated to be capable of crossing the BBB efficiently and delivering cargoes such as the anticancer drug doxorubicin (Dox) and Gd(3+) contrast agents to brain tumor tissues. Treatment of mice bearing intracranial glioma xenografts with pH-sensitive Dox-conjugated TAT-Au NPs via a single intravenous administration leads to significant survival benefit when compared to the free Dox. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that TAT-Au NPs are capable of delivering Gd(3+) chelates for enhanced brain tumor imaging with a prolonged retention time of Gd(3+) when compared to the free Gd(3+) chelates. Collectively, these results show promising applications of the TAT-Au NPs for enhanced malignant brain tumor therapy and non-invasive imaging.
A limitation of small molecule inhibitors, nanoparticles (NPs) and therapeutic adenoviruses is their incomplete distribution within the entirety of solid tumors such as malignant gliomas. Currently, cell-based carriers are making their way into the clinical setting as they offer the potential to selectively deliver many types of therapies to cancer cells.
Malignant gliomas remain one of medicine's most daunting unsolved clinical problems. The development of new technologies is urgently needed to improve the poor prognosis of patients suffering from these brain tumors. Magnetic nanomaterials are appealing due to unique properties that allow for noninvasive brain tumor diagnostics and therapeutics in one multifunctional platform.
Glioblastoma-targeted drug delivery systems facilitate efficient delivery of chemotherapeutic agents to malignant gliomas, while minimizing systemic toxicity and side effects. Taking advantage of the fibrin deposition that is characteristic of tumors, we constructed spherical, Cy7-labeled, targeting micelles to glioblastoma through the addition of the fibrin-binding pentapeptide, cysteine-arginine-glutamic acid-lysine-alanine, or CREKA. Conjugation of the CREKA peptide to Cy7-micelles increased the average particle size and zeta potential. Upon intravenous administration to GL261 glioma bearing mice, Cy7-micelles passively accumulated at the brain tumor site via the enhanced permeability and retention (EPR) effect, and Cy7-CREKA-micelles displayed enhanced tumor homing via active targeting as early as 1 h after administration, as confirmed via in vivo and ex vivo imaging and immunohistochemistry. Biodistribution of micelles showed an accumulation within the liver and kidneys, leading to micelle elimination via renal clearance and the reticuloendothelial system (RES). Histological evaluation showed no signs of cytotoxicity or tissue damage, confirming the safety and utility of this nanoparticle system for delivery to glioblastoma. Our findings offer strong evidence for the glioblastoma-targeting potential of CREKA-micelles and provide the foundation for CREKA-mediated, targeted therapy of glioma.
Despite all recent advances in malignant glioma research, only modest progress has been achieved in improving patient prognosis and quality of life. Such a clinical scenario underscores the importance of investing in new therapeutic approaches that, when combined with conventional therapies, are able to effectively eradicate glioma infiltration and target distant tumor foci. Nanoparticle-loaded delivery systems have recently arisen as an exciting alternative to improve targeted anti-glioma drug delivery. As drug carriers, they are able to efficiently protect the therapeutic agent and allow for sustained drug release. In addition, their surface can be easily manipulated with the addition of special ligands, which are responsible for enhancing tumor-specific nanoparticle permeability. However, their inefficient intratumoral distribution and failure to target disseminated tumor burden still pose a big challenge for their implementation as a therapeutic option in the clinical setting. Stem cell-based delivery of drug-loaded nanoparticles offers an interesting option to overcome such issues. Their ability to incorporate nanoparticles and migrate throughout interstitial barriers, together with their inherent tumor-tropic properties and synergistic anti-tumor effects make these stem cell carriers a good fit for such combined therapy. In this review, we will describe the main nanoparticle delivery systems that are presently available in preclinical and clinical studies. We will discuss their mechanisms of targeting, current delivery methods, attractive features and pitfalls. We will also debate the potential applications of stem cell carriers loaded with therapeutic nanoparticles in anticancer therapy and why such an attractive combined approach has not yet reached clinical trials.
A 3-step glioblastoma-tropic delivery and therapy method using nanoparticle programmed self-destructive neural stem cells (NSCs) is demonstrated in vivo: 1) FDA-approved NSCs for clinical trials are loaded with pH-sensitive MSN-Dox; 2) the nanoparticle conjugates provide a delayed drug-releasing mechanism and allow for NSC migration towards a distant tumor site; 3) NSCs eventually undergo cell death and release impregnated MSN-Dox, which subsequently induces toxicity towards surrounding glioma cells.
Brain tumors are a diverse group of neoplasms that often carry a poor prognosis for patients. Despite tremendous efforts to develop diagnostic tools and therapeutic avenues, the treatment of brain tumors remains a formidable challenge in the field of neuro-oncology. Physiological barriers including the blood-brain barrier result in insufficient accumulation of therapeutic agents at the site of a tumor, preventing adequate destruction of malignant cells. Furthermore, there is a need for improvements in brain tumor imaging to allow for better characterization and delineation of tumors, visualization of malignant tissue during surgery, and tracking of response to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Multifunctional nanoparticles offer the potential to improve upon many of these issues and may lead to breakthroughs in brain tumor management. In this review, we discuss the diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nanoparticles for brain tumors with an emphasis on innovative approaches in tumor targeting, tumor imaging, and therapeutic agent delivery. Clinically feasible nanoparticle administration strategies for brain tumor patients are also examined. Furthermore, we address the barriers towards clinical implementation of multifunctional nanoparticles in the context of brain tumor management.
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