Ionic liquids (ILs) and deep eutectic solvents have shown great promise in drug delivery applications. Choline-based ILs, in particular choline and geranic acid (CAGE), have been used to enhance the transdermal delivery of several small and large molecules. However, detailed studies outlining the design principles of ILs for transdermal drug delivery are still lacking. Using two model drugs of differing hydrophilicities, acarbose and ruxolitinib and 16 ILs, the dependence of skin penetration on the chemical properties of ILs is examined. First, the impact of ion stoichiometry on skin penetration of drugs is assessed using CAGE, which evidences that a molar ratio of 1:2 of choline to geranic acid yields the highest delivery. Subsequently, variants of CAGE are prepared using anions with structural similarity to geranic acid and cations with structural similarity to choline at a ratio of 1:2. Mechanistic studies reveal that the potency of ILs in enhancing transdermal drug delivery correlates inversely with the inter-ionic interactions as determined by 2D NMR spectroscopy. Using this understanding, a new IL is designed, and it provides the highest delivery of ruxolitinib of all ILs tested here. Overall, these studies provide a generalized framework for optimizing ILs for enhancing skin permeability.
Combination chemotherapy is often employed to improve therapeutic efficacies of drugs. However, traditional combination regimens often utilize drugs at or near‐their maximum tolerated doses (MTDs), elevating the risk of dose‐related toxicity and impeding their clinical success. Further, high doses of adjuvant or neoadjuvant chemotherapies can cause myeloablation, which compromises the immune response and hinders the efficacy of chemotherapy as well as accompanying treatments such as immunotherapy. Clinical outcomes can be improved if chemotherapy combinations are designed to reduce the overall doses without compromising their therapeutic efficacy. To this end, we investigated a combination of camptothecin (CPT) with doxorubicin (DOX) as a low‐dose treatment option for breast cancer. DOX‐CPT combinations were synergistic in several breast cancer cell lines in vitro and one particular ratio displayed extremely high synergy on human triple negative breast cancer cells (MDA‐MB‐231). This combination led to excellent long‐term survival of mice bearing MDA‐MB‐231 tumors at doses roughly 5‐fold lower than the reported MTD values of its constituent drugs. Impact of low dose DOX‐CPT treatment on local tumor immune environment was assessed in immunocompetent mice bearing breast cancer (4T1) tumors. The combination was not only superior in inhibiting the disease progression compared to individual drugs, but it also generated a more favorable anti‐tumor immunogenic response. Engineering DOX and CPT ratios to manifest synergy enables treatment at doses much lower than their MTDs, which could ultimately facilitate their translation into the clinic as a promising combination for breast cancer treatment.
This study was aimed at developing a nanoparticle strategy to overcome acquired resistance against erlotinib in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To load erlotinib on biodegradable PLGA nanoparticles, erlotinib-cyclodextrin (Erlo-CD) complex was prepared using β-cyclodextrin sulfobutyl ether, which was in turn loaded in the core of PLGA nanoparticles using multiple emulsion solvent evaporation. Nanoparticles were characterized for size distribution, entrapment and loading efficiency, in-vitro release, and therapeutic efficacy against different lung cancer cells. Effect of formulation on cell cycle, apoptosis, and other markers was evaluated using flow cytometry and western blotting studies. The efficacy of optimized nanoformulation was evaluated using a clinically relevant in-vitro 3D-spheroid model. Results showed that Erlo-CD loaded nanoparticles (210 ± 8 nm in size) demonstrated 3-fold higher entrapment (61.5 ± 3.2% vs 21.9 ± 3.7% of plain erlotinib loaded nanoparticles) with ~5% loading efficiency and sustained release characteristics. Developed nanoparticles demonstrated significantly improved therapeutic efficacy against NSCLC cells in terms of low IC50 values and suppressed colony forming ability of cancer cells, increased apoptosis, and autophagy inhibition. Interestingly, 3D spheroid study demonstrated better anticancer activity of Erlo-CD nanoparticles compared to plain erlotinib. Present study has shown a premise to improve therapeutic efficacy against erlotinib-resistant lung cancer using modified nanoErlo formulations.
Breaching of the skin barrier is essential for delivering active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for pharmaceutical, dermatological and aesthetic applications. Chemical permeation enhancers (CPEs) are molecules that interact with the constituents of skin's outermost and rate limiting layer stratum corneum (SC), and increase its permeability. Designing and testing of new CPEs is a resource intensive task, thus limiting the rate of discovery of new CPEs. In-silico screening of CPEs in a rigorous skin model could speed up the design of CPEs. In this study, we performed coarse grained (CG) molecule dynamics (MD) simulations of a multilayer skin lipid matrix in the presence of CPEs. The CPEs are chosen from different chemical functionalities including fatty acids, esters, and alcohols. A multi-layer in-silico skin model was developed. The CG parameters of permeation enhancers were also developed. Interactions of CPEs with SC lipids was studied in silico at three different CPE concentrations namely, 1% w/v, 3% w/v and 5% w/v. The partitioning and diffusion coefficients of CPEs in the SC lipids were found to be highly size- and structure-dependent and these dependencies are explained in terms of structural properties such as radial distribution function, area per lipid and order parameter. Finally, experimentally reported effects of CPEs on skin from the literature are compared with the simulation results. The trends obtained using simulations are in good agreement with the experimental measurements. The studies presented here validate the utility of in-silico models for designing, screening and testing of novel and effective CPEs.
Clinical translation of nanoparticle drug (nanodrug) delivery systems for cancer therapy is primarily hindered by short half-life of nanodrugs in blood circulation and their poor ability of tumor targeting and penetration in vivo. Circulatory cells have garnered much attention in cancer therapy as drug delivery vehicles due to their biocompatibility, high mobility, biodegradability, tissue targeting capability, high drug loading capacity, ability to cross biological barriers and inherent ability to remain in blood circulation long enough to accumulate within the tumors. Here, we review the progress and potential of circulatory cells as nanodrug delivery vehicles, especially for cancer therapy.
The tumor environment has been shown to employ several immunosuppressive mechanisms to evade cancer treatments. While immunotherapies actively reverse such mechanisms and polarize the immune system against malignant cells, combining immunotherapy with certain chemotherapeutics can lead to increased efficacy compared to either treatment alone. Low-dose chemotherapy demonstrates several immunogenic effects that can favorably potentiate immunotherapies. However, the clinical benefits of such therapies are confounded by treatment complexity and marginal improvements. The highly complex relationship between chemotherapeutic drug dosing and subsequent immunological consequences is often generalized, thus limiting their efficacy and potential. Also, continuous monitoring of the immunological impact is crucial for designing superior synergies while optimizing chemotherapeutic combinations or chemotherapeutics in novel delivery systems. In this review, we summarize the existing literature on the immunological outcomes of chemotherapies administered individually, in combination regimens, and in formulation with novel delivery agents. Further, we discuss the relevance of key parameters including dosage, schedule, and tumor models, and describe their clinical implications with an emphasis on approaches and evaluations that are crucial for developing effective immune-stimulating therapies.
Biologics have limited permeability across the intestine and are prone to degradation in the acidic-proteolytic milieu of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to poor oral bioavailability. Iontophoresis is a promising technology that can substantially improve transport of drugs across biological barriers and has been particularly explored for skin. In this study, we investigated whether iontophoresis across the intestine can be utilized to improve oral insulin transport. Application of electric current to intestinal cells resulted in opening of the tight junctions in vitro and a consequent about 3-fold improvement in paracellular transport of insulin. When evaluated in vivo using insulin-loaded mucoadhesive patches, iontophoresis produced profound hypoglycemia (63% blood glucose drop in 3 h) without damaging the intestinal tissue and the efficacy depended on insulin dose and current density. This study presents a proof of principle for intestinal iontophoresis as a novel method for oral protein delivery.
Breakthroughs in materials engineering have accelerated the progress of immunotherapy in preclinical studies. The interplay of chemistry and materials has resulted in improved loading, targeting, and release of immunomodulatory agents. An overview of the materials that are used to enable or improve the success of immunotherapies in preclinical studies is presented, from immunosuppressive to proinflammatory strategies, with particular emphasis on technologies poised for clinical translation. The materials are organized based on their characteristic length scale, whereby the enabling feature of each technology is organized by the structure of that material. For example, the mechanisms by which i) nanoscale materials can improve targeting and infiltration of immunomodulatory payloads into tissues and cells, ii) microscale materials can facilitate cell-mediated transport and serve as artificial antigen-presenting cells, and iii) macroscale materials can form the basis of artificial microenvironments to promote cell infiltration and reprogramming are discussed. As a step toward establishing a set of design rules for future immunotherapies, materials that intrinsically activate or suppress the immune system are reviewed. Finally, a brief outlook on the trajectory of these systems and how they may be improved to address unsolved challenges in cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmunity is presented.
Microfluidic cellular models, commonly referred to as "organs-on-chips," continue to advance the field of bioengineering via the development of accurate and higher throughput models, captivating the essence of living human organs. This class of models can mimic key in vivo features, including shear stresses and cellular architectures, in ways that cannot be realized by traditional two-dimensional in vitro models. Despite such progress, current organ-on-a-chip models are often overly complex, require highly specialized setups and equipment, and lack the ability to easily ascertain temporal and spatial differences in the transport kinetics of compounds translocating across cellular barriers. To address this challenge, we report the development of a three-dimensional human blood brain barrier (BBB) microfluidic model (μHuB) using human cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (hCMEC/D3) and primary human astrocytes within a commercially available microfluidic platform. Within μHuB, hCMEC/D3 monolayers withstood physiologically relevant shear stresses (2.73 dyn/cm) over a period of 24 hr and formed a complete inner lumen, resembling in vivo blood capillaries. Monolayers within μHuB expressed phenotypical tight junction markers (Claudin-5 and ZO-1), which increased expression after the presence of hemodynamic-like shear stress. Negligible cell injury was observed when the monolayers were cultured statically, conditioned to shear stress, and subjected to nonfluorescent dextran (70 kDa) transport studies. μHuB experienced size-selective permeability of 10 and 70 kDa dextrans similar to other BBB models. However, with the ability to probe temporal and spatial evolution of solute distribution, μHuBs possess the ability to capture the true variability in permeability across a cellular monolayer over time and allow for evaluation of the full breadth of permeabilities that would otherwise be lost using traditional end-point sampling techniques. Overall, the μHuB platform provides a simplified, easy-to-use model to further investigate the complexities of the human BBB in real-time and can be readily adapted to incorporate additional cell types of the neurovascular unit and beyond.
The functional properties of colloidal materials can be tailored by tuning the shape of their constituent particles. Unfortunately, a reliable, general methodology for purifying colloidal materials solely based on shape is still lacking. Here we exploit the single-particle analysis and sorting capabilities of the fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) instrument, a commonly used tool in biomedical research, and demonstrate the ability to separate mixtures of synthetic microparticles based solely on their shape with high purity. We achieve this by simultaneously obtaining four independent optical scattering signals from the FACS instrument to create shape-specific 'scattering signatures' that can be used for particle classification and sorting. We demonstrate that these four-dimensional signatures can overcome the confounding effects of particle orientation on shape-based characterization. Using this strategy, robust discrimination of particles differing only slightly in shape and an efficient selection of desired shapes from mixtures comprising particles of diverse sizes and materials is demonstrated.
We demonstrated that the topical combined use of sponge Haliclona sp. spicules (SHS) and flexible liposomes (FL), referred to as SFLS (SHS-Flexible Liposomes combined System), can result in synergy to improve the skin absorption and deposition of hyaluronic acid (HA), especially in deep skin layers, both in vitro and in vivo. SHS treatment can result in skin micro-channels which are continuous, deep enough (48.6 ± 13.5 μm) and available in large quantities (850 ± 125 micro-channels per mm2). These micro-channels gradually closed up in 120 h and also allowed the intact vesicles of flexible liposomes and vesicle-bound or vesicle-encapsulated HA to penetrate into the skin-deep layers under the driving force of transdermal osmotic gradients. Specifically, SFLS topical application enhanced the penetration of FITC-HA (MW: 250 kDa) into porcine skin in vitro up to 23.2 ± 3.7%, which is 19.4 ± 3.1-fold (p < 0.001) that of a Phosphate Buffered Saline (PBS) group, 3.4 ± 0.5-fold (p < 0.01) that of an SHS group and 3.6 ± 0.6-fold (p < 0.01) that from the combined use of a Dermaroller and flexible liposomes. Moreover, SFLS can lead to significantly enhanced skin deposition of HA in all skin layers, especially in deep skin layers: up to 86.8 ± 4.1% of HA absorbed by skin was accumulated in deep skin layers. The effectiveness of SFLS topical application was also confirmed in vivo by using BALB/c mice. In addition, a skin irritation and toxicity study showed that the SFLS treatment may cause very minimal redness and the skin can recover in a short time. In sum, the combined use of SHS and FL (SFLS) offers a promising strategy to safely and effectively improve the skin delivery of hydrophilic biomacromolecules such as HA.
Combination chemotherapy must strike a difficult balance between safety and efficacy. Current regimens suffer from poor therapeutic impact because drugs are given at their maximum tolerated dose (MTD), which compounds the toxicity risk and exposes tumors to non-optimal drug ratios. A modular framework has been developed that selectively delivers drug combinations at synergistic ratios via tumor-targeting aptamers for effective low-dose treatment. A nucleolin-recognizing aptamer was coupled to peptide scaffolds laden with precise ratios of doxorubicin (DOX) and camptothecin (CPT). This construct had an extremely low IC (31.9 nm) against MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells in vitro, and exhibited in vivo efficacy at micro-dose injections (500 and 350 μg kg dose of DOX and CPT, respectively) that are 20-30-fold lower than their previously-reported MTDs. This approach represents a generalizable strategy for the safe and consistent delivery of combination drugs in oncology.
Over the years, a plethora of materials - natural and synthetic - have been engineered at a nanoscopic level and explored for drug delivery. Nanocarriers based on such materials could improve the payload's pharmacokinetics and achieve the desired pharmacological response at the target tissue. Despite the development of rationally designed drug nanocarriers, only a handful of such formulations have been successfully translated into the clinic. The physicochemical properties (size, shape, surface chemistry, porosity, elasticity, and many others) of these nanocarriers influence its biological identity, which in presence of biological barriers in vivo, could significantly modulate the therapeutic index of its cargo and alter the desired outcome. Further, complexities associated with developing effective drug nanocarriers have led to conflicting views of its safety, permeation of biological barriers and cellular uptake. Here, in this review, we emphasize the effect of physicochemical properties of nanocarriers on their interactions with the biological milieu. The review will discuss in depth, how modulating the physicochemical properties would influence a drug nanocarrier's behavior in vivo and the mechanisms underlying these effects. The goal of this review is to summarize the design considerations based on these properties and to provide a conceptual template for achieving improved therapeutic efficacy with enhanced patient compliance.
Poorly soluble small molecules typically pose translational hurdles owing to their low solubility, low bioavailability, and formulation challenges. Nanocrystallization is a versatile method for salvaging poorly soluble drugs with the added benefit of a carrier-free delivery system. In this review, we provide a comprehensive analysis of nanocrystals with emphasis on their clinical translation. Additionally, the review sheds light on clinically approved nanocrystal drug products as well as those in development.
Pure drug nanoparticles have emerged as an alternate method for formulating extremely hydrophobic drugs. Herein, a simple and efficient process for synthesizing PEGylated and antibody‐conjugated, carrier‐free nanomedicine is reported as a promising strategy to deliver the drug, Camptothecin (CPT) for aggressive circulating tumors such as Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Size, shape, and surface morphology of pure drug nanorods (NRs) are examined and characterized by a variety of techniques. Incorporation of polyethylene glycol (PEG) onto the particle changed its surface charge and topography while affecting its drug‐dissolution kinetics. Furthermore, the toxicity of PEGylated versus non‐PEGylated forms of humanized anti‐CD33 antibody (Hu195Ab)–coated CPT NRs are compared. Hu195Ab drug‐linked NRs increased cell killing in leukemic cells and surface PEGylation show reduced non‐specific uptake in cells. The results demonstrate that surface‐modified carrier‐free nanodrugs could have significant implications in cancer drug delivery for treating AML. This would be the first instance of studying the potential of surface‐functionalized carrier‐free drug NRs in the treatment of leukemia.
Surface modification of nanoparticles is a well‐established methodology to alter their properties to enhance circulation half‐life. While literature studies using conventional, in vitro characterization are routinely used to evaluate the biocompatibility of such modifications, relatively little attention has been paid to assess the stability of such surface modifications in physiologically relevant conditions. Here, microfluidic devices were used to study the effect of factors that adversely impact surface modifications including vascular flow and endothelial cell interactions. Camptothecin nanoparticles coated with polyethylene glycol (PEG) and/or folic acid were analyzed using linear channels and microvascular networks. Detachment of PEG was observed in cell‐free conditions and was attributed to interplay between the flow and method of PEG attachment. The flow and cells also impacted the surface charge of nanoparticles. Presence of endothelial cells further increased PEG shedding. The results demonstrate that endothelial cell contact, and vascular flow parameters modify surface ligands on nanoparticle surfaces.
Intravascular drug delivery technologies majorly utilize spherical nanoparticles as carrier vehicles. Their targets are often at the blood vessel wall or in the tissue beyond the wall, such that vehicle localization towards the wall (margination) becomes a pre-requisite for their function. To this end, some studies have indicated that under flow environment, micro-particles have a higher propensity than nano-particles to marginate to the wall. Also, non-spherical particles theoretically have a higher area of surface-adhesive interactions than spherical particles. However, detailed systematic studies that integrate various particle size and shape parameters across nano-to-micro scale to explore their wall-localization behavior in RBC-rich blood flow, have not been reported. We address this gap by carrying out computational and experimental studies utilizing particles of four distinct shapes (spherical, oblate, prolate, rod) spanning nano- to-micro scale sizes. Computational studies were performed using the Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator (LAMMPS) package, with Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD). For experimental studies, model particles were made from neutrally buoyant fluorescent polystyrene spheres, that were thermo-stretched into non-spherical shapes and all particles were surface-coated with biotin. Using microfluidic setup, the biotin-coated particles were flowed over avidin-coated surfaces in absence versus presence of RBCs, and particle adhesion and retention at the surface was assessed by inverted fluorescence microscopy. Our computational and experimental studies provide a simultaneous analysis of different particle sizes and shapes for their retention in blood flow and indicate that in presence of RBCs, micro-scale non-spherical particles undergo enhanced 'margination + adhesion' compared to nano-scale spherical particles, resulting in their higher binding. These results provide important insight regarding improved design of vascularly targeted drug delivery systems.
Advances in the field of ionic liquids have opened new applications beyond their traditional use as solvents into other fields especially healthcare. The broad chemical space, rich with structurally diverse ions, and coupled with the flexibility to form complementary ion pairs enables task-specific optimization at the molecular level to design ionic liquids for envisioned functions. Consequently, ionic liquids now are tailored as innovative solutions to address many problems in medicine. To date, ionic liquids have been designed to promote dissolution of poorly soluble drugs and disrupt physiological barriers to transport drugs to targeted sites. Also, their antimicrobial activity has been demonstrated and could be exploited to prevent and treat infectious diseases. Metal-containing ionic liquids have also been designed and offer unique features due to incorporation of metals. Here, we review application-driven investigations of ionic liquids in medicine with respect to current status and future potential.