Targeted Delivery of DNA Topoisomerase Inhibitor SN38 to Intracranial Tumors of Glioblastoma Using Sub-5 Ultrafine Iron Oxide Nanoparticles

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Effectively delivering therapeutics for treating brain tumors is hindered by the physical and biological barriers in the brain. Even with the compromised blood-brain barrier and highly angiogenic blood-tumor barrier seen in glioblastoma (GBM), most drugs, including nanomaterial-based formulations, hardly reach intracranial tumors. This work investigates sub-5 nm ultrafine iron oxide nanoparticles (uIONP) with 3.5 nm core diameter as a carrier for delivering DNA topoisomerase inhibitor 7-ethyl-10-hydroxyl camptothecin (SN38) to treat GBM. Given a higher surface-to-volume ratio, uIONP shows one- or three-folds higher SN38 loading efficiency (48.3 ± 6.1%, mg/mg Fe) than those with core sizes of 10 or 20 nm. SN38 encapsulated in the coating polymer exhibits pH sensitive release with <10% over 48 h at pH 7.4, but 86% at pH 5, thus being protected from converting to inactive glucuronide by UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A1. Conjugating αv β3 -integrin-targeted cyclo(Arg-Gly-Asp-D-Phe-Cys) (RGD) as ligands, RGD-uIONP/SN38 demonstrates targeted cytotoxicity to αv β3 -integrin-overexpressed U87MG GBM cells with a half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50 ) of 30.9 ± 2.2 nm. The efficacy study using an orthotopic mouse model of GBM reveals tumor-specific delivery of 11.5% injected RGD-uIONP/SN38 (10 mg Fe kg-1 ), significantly prolonging the survival in mice by 41%, comparing to those treated with SN38 alone (p < 0.001).

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Advanced Healthcare Materials

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This article was published in Advanced Healthcare Materials.

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