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Pharmaceutics, Volume 13, Issue 6 (June 2021) – 156 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Orally dispersible films (ODFs), which offer convenient, customizable, patient-compliant drug delivery, are shown by us to be a robust platform for poorly soluble drugs using surface functionalized nanoparticles or dry-coated microparticles. Here, the most suitable mixer at proper critical process parameters (CPPs), we show that drug powder pre-treatment may be eliminated without compromising uniform drug dispersion within film precursors, leading to excellent drug content uniformity (CU) even at very low drug concentrations. Furthermore, to facilitate potential in-line process analytical technology (PAT), it was demonstrated that adequate mixedness within the film precursor is a sufficient condition to achieve acceptable CU for the final film product. View this paper.
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Review
Lipophilic Polyamines as Promising Components of Liposomal Gene Delivery Systems
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 920; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060920 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 662
Abstract
Gene therapy requires an effective and safe delivery vehicle for nucleic acids. In the case of non-viral vehicles, including cationic liposomes, the structure of compounds composing them determines the efficiency a lot. Currently, cationic amphiphiles are the most frequently used compounds in liposomal [...] Read more.
Gene therapy requires an effective and safe delivery vehicle for nucleic acids. In the case of non-viral vehicles, including cationic liposomes, the structure of compounds composing them determines the efficiency a lot. Currently, cationic amphiphiles are the most frequently used compounds in liposomal formulations. In their structure, which is a combination of hydrophobic and cationic domains and includes spacer groups, each component contributes to the resulting delivery efficiency. This review focuses on polycationic and disulfide amphiphiles as prospective cationic amphiphiles for gene therapy and includes a discussion of the mutual influence of structural components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipid-Based Nanocarriers for Non-Viral Gene Delivery)
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Review
Process Analytical Technology Tools for Monitoring Pharmaceutical Unit Operations: A Control Strategy for Continuous Process Verification
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 919; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060919 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 910
Abstract
Various frameworks and methods, such as quality by design (QbD), real time release test (RTRT), and continuous process verification (CPV), have been introduced to improve drug product quality in the pharmaceutical industry. The methods recognize that an appropriate combination of process controls and [...] Read more.
Various frameworks and methods, such as quality by design (QbD), real time release test (RTRT), and continuous process verification (CPV), have been introduced to improve drug product quality in the pharmaceutical industry. The methods recognize that an appropriate combination of process controls and predefined material attributes and intermediate quality attributes (IQAs) during processing may provide greater assurance of product quality than end-product testing. The efficient analysis method to monitor the relationship between process and quality should be used. Process analytical technology (PAT) was introduced to analyze IQAs during the process of establishing regulatory specifications and facilitating continuous manufacturing improvement. Although PAT was introduced in the pharmaceutical industry in the early 21st century, new PAT tools have been introduced during the last 20 years. In this review, we present the recent pharmaceutical PAT tools and their application in pharmaceutical unit operations. Based on unit operations, the significant IQAs monitored by PAT are presented to establish a control strategy for CPV and real time release testing (RTRT). In addition, the equipment type used in unit operation, PAT tools, multivariate statistical tools, and mathematical preprocessing are introduced, along with relevant literature. This review suggests that various PAT tools are rapidly advancing, and various IQAs are efficiently and precisely monitored in the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, PAT could be a fundamental tool for the present QbD and CPV to improve drug product quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology, Manufacturing and Devices)
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Article
Imaging-Based Characterization of a Slco2b1(-/-) Mouse Model Using [11C]Erlotinib and [99mTc]Mebrofenin as Probe Substrates
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060918 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 542
Abstract
Organic anion-transporting polypeptide 2B1 (OATP2B1) is co-localized with OATP1B1 and OATP1B3 in the basolateral hepatocyte membrane, where it is thought to contribute to the hepatic uptake of drugs. We characterized a novel Slco2b1(-/-) mouse model using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with [...] Read more.
Organic anion-transporting polypeptide 2B1 (OATP2B1) is co-localized with OATP1B1 and OATP1B3 in the basolateral hepatocyte membrane, where it is thought to contribute to the hepatic uptake of drugs. We characterized a novel Slco2b1(-/-) mouse model using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with [11C]erlotinib (a putative OATP2B1-selective substrate) and planar scintigraphic imaging with [99mTc]mebrofenin (an OATP1B1/1B3 substrate, which is not transported by OATP2B1). Dynamic 40-min scans were performed after intravenous injection of either [11C]erlotinib or [99mTc]mebrofenin in wild-type and Slco2b1(-/-) mice. A pharmacokinetic model was used to estimate the hepatic uptake clearance (CL1) and the rate constants for transfer of radioactivity from the liver to the blood (k2) and excreted bile (k3). CL1 was significantly reduced in Slco2b1(-/-) mice for both radiotracers (p < 0.05), and k2 was significantly lower (p < 0.01) in Slco2b1(-/-) mice for [11C]erlotinib, but not for [99mTc]mebrofenin. Our data support previous evidence that OATP transporters may contribute to the hepatic uptake of [11C]erlotinib. However, the decreased hepatic uptake of the OATP1B1/1B3 substrate [99mTc]mebrofenin in Slco2b1(-/-) mice questions the utility of this mouse model to assess the relative contribution of OATP2B1 to the liver uptake of drugs which are substrates of multiple OATPs. Full article
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Article
The Influence of Drug–Polymer Solubility on Laser-Induced In Situ Drug Amorphization Using Photothermal Plasmonic Nanoparticles
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060917 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 644
Abstract
In this study, laser-induced in situ amorphization (i.e., amorphization inside the final dosage form) of the model drug celecoxib (CCX) with six different polymers was investigated. The drug–polymer combinations were studied with regard to the influence of (i) the physicochemical properties of the [...] Read more.
In this study, laser-induced in situ amorphization (i.e., amorphization inside the final dosage form) of the model drug celecoxib (CCX) with six different polymers was investigated. The drug–polymer combinations were studied with regard to the influence of (i) the physicochemical properties of the polymer, e.g., the glass transition temperature (Tg) and (ii) the drug–polymer solubility on the rate and degree of in situ drug amorphization. Compacts were prepared containing 30 wt% CCX, 69.25 wt% polymer, 0.5 wt% lubricant, and 0.25 wt% plasmonic nanoparticles (PNs) and exposed to near-infrared laser radiation. Upon exposure to laser radiation, the PNs generated heat, which allowed drug dissolution into the polymer at temperatures above its Tg, yielding an amorphous solid dispersion. It was found that in situ drug amorphization was possible for drug–polymer combinations, where the temperature reached during exposure to laser radiation was above the onset temperature for a dissolution process of the drug into the polymer, i.e., TDStart. The findings of this study showed that the concept of laser-induced in situ drug amorphization is applicable to a range of polymers if the drug is soluble in the polymer and temperatures during the process are above TDStart. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Amorphous Drug Formulations, Volume II)
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Article
Electrospun Membranes as a Porous Barrier for Molecular Transport: Membrane Characterization and Release Assessment
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060916 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 690
Abstract
Electrospun nanofibers have been extensively studied for encapsulated drugs releasing from the inside of the fiber matrix, but have been barely looked at for their potential to control release as a semi-permeable membrane. This study investigated molecular transport behaviors across nanofiber membranes with [...] Read more.
Electrospun nanofibers have been extensively studied for encapsulated drugs releasing from the inside of the fiber matrix, but have been barely looked at for their potential to control release as a semi-permeable membrane. This study investigated molecular transport behaviors across nanofiber membranes with different micro-structure sizes and compositions. Four types of membranes were made by 5% and 10% poly (ε-caprolactone) (PCL) solutions electro-spun with or without 50 nm calcium carbonate (CaCO3) nanoparticles. The membranes were tested for thickness, fiber diameter, pore size, porosity, tensile strength and elongation, contact angle of water and their impacts on molecular transport behaviors. The presence of the CaCO3 nanoparticles made the 5% membranes stronger and stiffer but the 10% membranes weaker and less stiff due to the different (covering or embedded) locations of the nanoparticles with the corresponding fibers. Solute transport studies using caffeine as the model drug found the 5% membranes further retarded release from the 10% membranes, regardless of only half the amount of material being used for synthesis. The addition of CaCO3 nanoparticles aided the water permeation process and accelerated initial transports. The difference in release profiles between 5% and 10% membranes suggests different release mechanisms, with membrane-permeability dominated release for 5% PCL membranes and solute-concentration-gradient dominated release for 10% PCL membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drug Delivery and Controlled Release)
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Article
Formulation of Chewable Tablets Containing Carbamazepine-β-cyclodextrin Inclusion Complex and F-Melt Disintegration Excipient. The Mathematical Modeling of the Release Kinetics of Carbamazepine
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060915 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Due to its low solubility, carbamazepine (CBZ) exhibits slow and incomplete release in the gastrointestinal tract and, hence, variable pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic effect. Lots of methods have been devised to improve its solubility, the large number of proposed solutions being a sign that [...] Read more.
Due to its low solubility, carbamazepine (CBZ) exhibits slow and incomplete release in the gastrointestinal tract and, hence, variable pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic effect. Lots of methods have been devised to improve its solubility, the large number of proposed solutions being a sign that the problem is not yet satisfactorily solved. The persistent problem is that predictable release kinetics, an increased rate but within defined limits, are required to avoid high absorption variability. This paper presents a synthesis of a carbamazepine-β-cyclodextrin inclusion complex (CBZ-β-CD), the characterization of the physical mixture, CBZ, β-CD and the CBZ-β-CD inclusion complex using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, simultaneous thermal analysis and X-ray diffraction, formulation of chewable tablets, determination of the dissolution of carbamazepine in medium containing 1% sodium lauryl sulfate (LSS), and in simulated saliva (SS), mathematical modeling of release kinetics. The kinetics of total CBZ release from tablets containing CBZ-β-CD and super-disintegrant F-Melt in both SS and LSS followed two steps: a burst release in the first minutes and a slower release in intervals up to 60 min. The release in the second phase has been well described by the Higuchi and Peppas models, which advocate a controlled release by combined diffusion and with some phenomena of swelling and relaxation of the matrix generated by the crospovidone component of the F-Melt excipient. Full article
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Article
A Radionuclide Generator of High-Purity Bi-213 for Instant Labeling
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060914 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
A new two-column 225Ac/213Bi generator was developed specifically for using 225Ac containing an impurity of long lived 227Ac. The parent 225Ac was retained on the first Actinide Resin column, while 213Bi was accumulated on the second [...] Read more.
A new two-column 225Ac/213Bi generator was developed specifically for using 225Ac containing an impurity of long lived 227Ac. The parent 225Ac was retained on the first Actinide Resin column, while 213Bi was accumulated on the second column filled with AG MP-50 resin via continuous elution and decay of intermediate 221Fr. The 213Bi accumulation was realized in circulation mode which allowed a compact generator design. It was demonstrated that 213Bi could be quickly and effectively extracted from AG MP-50 in form of complexes with various chelating agents including DTPA and DOTA. The performance of the generator presented and a conventional single-column generator on the base of AG MP-50 was tested and both generators were loaded with 225Ac containing 227Ac impurity. The 213Bi generation efficiencies were comparable and greater than 70%, whereas the developed generator provided a deeper degree of purification of 213Bi from Ac isotopes and decay products of 227Ac. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology, Manufacturing and Devices)
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Review
Mesenchymal Stem Cells Engineered by Nonviral Vectors: A Powerful Tool in Cancer Gene Therapy
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060913 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 673
Abstract
Due to their “tumor homing” and “immune privilege” characteristics, the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been proposed as a novel tool against cancer. MSCs are genetically engineered in vitro and then utilized to deliver tumoricidal agents, including prodrugs and bioactive molecules, [...] Read more.
Due to their “tumor homing” and “immune privilege” characteristics, the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been proposed as a novel tool against cancer. MSCs are genetically engineered in vitro and then utilized to deliver tumoricidal agents, including prodrugs and bioactive molecules, to tumors. The genetic modification of MSCs can be achieved by various vectors, and in most cases viral vectors are used; however, viruses may be associated with carcinogenesis and immunogenicity, restricting their clinical translational potential. As such, nonviral vectors have emerged as a potential solution to address these limitations and have gradually attracted increasing attention. In this review, we briefly revisit the current knowledge about MSC-based cancer gene therapy. Then, we summarize the advantages and challenges of nonviral vectors for MSC transfection. Finally, we discuss recent advances in the development of new nonviral vectors, which have provided promising strategies to overcome obstacles in the gene modulation of MSCs. Full article
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Review
Immune Checkpoint and Anti-Angiogenic Antibodies for the Treatment of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in the European Union and United States
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060912 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 708
Abstract
Several types of antibodies (Abs) are currently used in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Anti-angiogenic and immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) Abs are the most frequent treatments used alone or with chemotherapy in metastatic NSCLC, for the front line and beyond. Considering the many [...] Read more.
Several types of antibodies (Abs) are currently used in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Anti-angiogenic and immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) Abs are the most frequent treatments used alone or with chemotherapy in metastatic NSCLC, for the front line and beyond. Considering the many therapeutic options for locally advanced and metastatic lung cancer and differences in use according to geographic area, we present here a comprehensive review of the marketed ICI and anti-angiogenic Abs approved in the European Union (EU) and the US to treat locally advanced and metastatic NSCLC patients. We briefly describe the different molecules and their development in thoracic oncology and compare pharmacokinetic data, processing decision algorithms and marketing authorizations by the EMA and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Delivery Systems for Oral Immunotherapy)
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Review
ChoK-Full of Potential: Choline Kinase in B Cell and T Cell Malignancies
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060911 - 20 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 724
Abstract
Aberrant choline metabolism, characterized by an increase in total choline-containing compounds, phosphocholine and phosphatidylcholine (PC), is a metabolic hallmark of carcinogenesis and tumor progression. This aberration arises from alterations in metabolic enzymes that control PC biosynthesis and catabolism. Among these enzymes, choline kinase [...] Read more.
Aberrant choline metabolism, characterized by an increase in total choline-containing compounds, phosphocholine and phosphatidylcholine (PC), is a metabolic hallmark of carcinogenesis and tumor progression. This aberration arises from alterations in metabolic enzymes that control PC biosynthesis and catabolism. Among these enzymes, choline kinase α (CHKα) exhibits the most frequent alterations and is commonly overexpressed in human cancers. CHKα catalyzes the phosphorylation of choline to generate phosphocholine, the first step in de novo PC biosynthesis. CHKα overexpression is associated with the malignant phenotype, metastatic capability and drug resistance in human cancers, and thus has been recognized as a robust biomarker and therapeutic target of cancer. Of clinical importance, increased choline metabolism and CHKα activity can be detected by non-invasive magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) or positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) imaging with radiolabeled choline analogs for diagnosis and treatment monitoring of cancer patients. Both choline-based MRS and PET/CT imaging have also been clinically applied for lymphoid malignancies, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma and central nervous system lymphoma. However, information on how choline kinase is dysregulated in lymphoid malignancies is very limited and has just begun to be unraveled. In this review, we provide an overview of the current understanding of choline kinase in B cell and T cell malignancies with the goal of promoting future investigation in this area. Full article
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Article
Development and Evaluation of a Human Skin Equivalent in a Semiautomatic Microfluidic Diffusion Chamber
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 910; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060910 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 547
Abstract
There is an increasing demand for transdermal transport measurements to optimize topical drug formulations and to achieve proper penetration profile of cosmetic ingredients. Reflecting ethical concerns the use of both human and animal tissues is becoming more restricted. Therefore, the focus of dermal [...] Read more.
There is an increasing demand for transdermal transport measurements to optimize topical drug formulations and to achieve proper penetration profile of cosmetic ingredients. Reflecting ethical concerns the use of both human and animal tissues is becoming more restricted. Therefore, the focus of dermal research is shifting towards in vitro assays. In the current proof-of-concept study a three-layer skin equivalent using human HaCaT keratinocytes, an electrospun polycaprolactone mesh and a collagen-I gel was compared to human excised skin samples. We measured the permeability of the samples for 2% caffeine cream using a miniaturized dynamic diffusion cell (“skin-on-a-chip” microfluidic device). Caffeine delivery exhibits similar transport kinetics through the artificial skin and the human tissue: after a rapid rise, a long-lasting high concentration steady state develops. This is markedly distinct from the kinetics measured when using cell-free constructs, where a shorter release was observable. These results imply that both the established skin equivalent and the microfluidic diffusion chamber can serve as a suitable base for further development of more complex tissue substitutes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Delivery and Penetration through Skin and Its Formulations)
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Review
Ion Pairs for Transdermal and Dermal Drug Delivery: A Review
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060909 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Ion pairing is a strategy used to increase the permeation of topically applied ionised drugs. Formation occurs when the electrostatic energy of attraction between oppositely charged ions exceeds their mean thermal energy, making it possible for them to draw together and attain a [...] Read more.
Ion pairing is a strategy used to increase the permeation of topically applied ionised drugs. Formation occurs when the electrostatic energy of attraction between oppositely charged ions exceeds their mean thermal energy, making it possible for them to draw together and attain a critical distance. These ions then behave as a neutral species, allowing them to partition more readily into a lipid environment. Partition coefficient studies may be used to determine the potential of ions to pair and partition into an organic phase but cannot be relied upon to predict flux. Early researchers indicated that temperature, size of ions and dielectric constant of the solvent system all contributed to the formation of ion pairs. While size is important, this may be outweighed by improved lipophilicity of the counter ion due to increased length of the carbon chain. Organic counter ions are more effective than inorganic moieties in forming ion pairs. In addition to being used to increase permeation, ion pairs have been used to control and even prevent permeation of the active ingredient. They have also been used to stabilise solid lipid nanoparticle formulations. Ion pairs have been used in conjunction with permeation enhancers, and permeation enhancers have been used as counter ions in ion pairing. This review attempts to show the various ways in which ion pairs have been used in drug delivery via the skin. It also endeavours to extract and consolidate common approaches in order to inform future formulations for topical and transdermal delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Semisolid Dosage (Volume II))
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Article
Preclinical Assessment of Ursolic Acid Loaded into Nanostructured Lipid Carriers in Experimental Visceral Leishmaniasis
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 908; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060908 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 569
Abstract
Ursolic acid, a triterpene produced by plants, displayed leishmanicidal activity in vitro and in vivo; however, the low solubility of this triterpene limits its efficacy. To increase the activity of ursolic acid (UA), this triterpene was entrapped in nanostructured lipid carriers (UA-NLC), physical-chemical [...] Read more.
Ursolic acid, a triterpene produced by plants, displayed leishmanicidal activity in vitro and in vivo; however, the low solubility of this triterpene limits its efficacy. To increase the activity of ursolic acid (UA), this triterpene was entrapped in nanostructured lipid carriers (UA-NLC), physical-chemical parameters were estimated, the toxicity was assayed in healthy golden hamsters, and the efficacy of UA-NLC was studied in experimental visceral leishmanisis. UA-NLC exhibited a spherical shape with a smooth surface with a size of 266 nm. UA-NLC displayed low polydispersity (PDI = 0.18) and good colloidal stability (−29.26 mV). Hamsters treated with UA-NLC did not present morphological changes in visceral organs, and the levels of AST, ALT, urea and creatinine were normal. Animals infected with Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum and treated with UA-NLC showed lower parasitism than the infected controls, animals treated with UA or Amphotericin B (AmB). The therapeutic activity of UA-NLC was associated with the increase in a protective immune response, and it was associated with a high degree of spleen and liver preservation, and the normalization of hepatic and renal functions. These data indicate that the use of lipid nanoparticles as UA carriers can be an interesting strategy for the treatment of leishmaniasis. Full article
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Article
Direct Powder Extrusion of Paracetamol Loaded Mixtures for 3D Printed Pharmaceutics for Personalized Medicine via Low Temperature Thermal Processing
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 907; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060907 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 820
Abstract
Three-dimensional printed drug development is nowadays an active area in the pharmaceutical industry, where the search for an appropriate edible carrier that permits the thermal processing of the mixture at temperature levels that are safe for the drug is an important field of [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional printed drug development is nowadays an active area in the pharmaceutical industry, where the search for an appropriate edible carrier that permits the thermal processing of the mixture at temperature levels that are safe for the drug is an important field of study. Here, potato starch and hydroxypropyl cellulose based mixtures loaded with paracetamol up to 50% in weight were processed by hot melt extrusion at 85 °C to test their suitability to be thermally processed. The extruded mixtures were tested by liquid chromatography to analyze their release curves and were thermally characterized. The drug recovery was observed to be highly dependent on the initial moisture level of the mixture, the samples being prepared with an addition of water at a ratio of 3% in weight proportional to the starch amount, highly soluble and easy to extrude. The release curves showed a slow and steady drug liberation compared to a commercially available paracetamol tablet, reaching the 100% of recovery at 60 min. The samples aged for 6 weeks showed slower drug release curves compared to fresh samples, this effect being attributable to the loss of moisture. The paracetamol loaded mixture in powder form was used to print pills with different sizes and geometries in a fused deposition modelling three-dimensional printer modified with a commercially available powder extrusion head, showing the potential of this formulation for use in personalized medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Printed Pharmaceuticals in Future Healthcare)
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Review
Overview of the Most Promising Radionuclides for Targeted Alpha Therapy: The “Hopeful Eight”
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060906 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1427
Abstract
Among all existing radionuclides, only a few are of interest for therapeutic applications and more specifically for targeted alpha therapy (TAT). From this selection, actinium-225, astatine-211, bismuth-212, bismuth-213, lead-212, radium-223, terbium-149 and thorium-227 are considered as the most suitable. Despite common general features, [...] Read more.
Among all existing radionuclides, only a few are of interest for therapeutic applications and more specifically for targeted alpha therapy (TAT). From this selection, actinium-225, astatine-211, bismuth-212, bismuth-213, lead-212, radium-223, terbium-149 and thorium-227 are considered as the most suitable. Despite common general features, they all have their own physical characteristics that make them singular and so promising for TAT. These radionuclides were largely studied over the last two decades, leading to a better knowledge of their production process and chemical behavior, allowing for an increasing number of biological evaluations. The aim of this review is to summarize the main properties of these eight chosen radionuclides. An overview from their availability to the resulting clinical studies, by way of chemical design and preclinical studies is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeted Radionuclide Therapy)
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Article
Dexamethasone-Loaded Nanostructured Lipid Carriers for the Treatment of Dry Eye Disease
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060905 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1146
Abstract
Dry eye disease (DED) or keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a chronic multifactorial disorder of the ocular surface caused by tear film dysfunction. Symptoms include dryness, irritation, discomfort and visual disturbance, and standard treatment includes the use of lubricants and topical steroids. Secondary inflammation plays [...] Read more.
Dry eye disease (DED) or keratoconjunctivitis sicca is a chronic multifactorial disorder of the ocular surface caused by tear film dysfunction. Symptoms include dryness, irritation, discomfort and visual disturbance, and standard treatment includes the use of lubricants and topical steroids. Secondary inflammation plays a prominent role in the development and propagation of this debilitating condition. To address this we have investigated the pilot scale development of an innovative drug delivery system using a dexamethasone-encapsulated cholesterol-Labrafac™ lipophile nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC)-based ophthalmic formulation, which could be developed as an eye drop to treat DED and any associated acute exacerbations. After rapid screening of a range of laboratory scale pre-formulations, the chosen formulation was prepared at pilot scale with a particle size of 19.51 ± 0.5 nm, an encapsulation efficiency of 99.6 ± 0.5%, a PDI of 0.08, and an extended stability of 6 months at 4 °C. This potential ophthalmic formulation was observed to have high tolerability and internalization capacity for human corneal epithelial cells, with similar behavior demonstrated on ex vivo porcine cornea studies, suggesting suitable distribution on the ocular surface. Further, ELISA was used to study the impact of the pilot scale formulation on a range of inflammatory biomarkers. The most successful dexamethasone-loaded NLC showed a 5-fold reduction of TNF-α production over dexamethasone solution alone, with comparable results for MMP-9 and IL-6. The ease of formulation, scalability, performance and biomarker assays suggest that this NLC formulation could be a viable option for the topical treatment of DED. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Ophthalmic Drug Delivery)
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Article
Development of In Situ Self-Assembly Nanoparticles to Encapsulate Lopinavir and Ritonavir for Long-Acting Subcutaneous Injection
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060904 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 468
Abstract
Most antiretroviral medications for human immunodeficiency virus treatment and prevention require high levels of patient adherence, such that medications need to be administered daily without missing doses. Here, a long-acting subcutaneous injection of lopinavir (LPV) in combination with ritonavir (RTV) using in situ [...] Read more.
Most antiretroviral medications for human immunodeficiency virus treatment and prevention require high levels of patient adherence, such that medications need to be administered daily without missing doses. Here, a long-acting subcutaneous injection of lopinavir (LPV) in combination with ritonavir (RTV) using in situ self-assembly nanoparticles (ISNPs) was developed to potentially overcome adherence barriers. The ISNP approach can improve the pharmacokinetic profiles of the drugs. The ISNPs were characterized in terms of particle size, drug entrapment efficiency, drug loading, in vitro release study, and in vivo pharmacokinetic study. LPV/RTV ISNPs were 167.8 nm in size, with a polydispersity index of less than 0.35. The entrapment efficiency was over 98% for both LPV and RTV, with drug loadings of 25% LPV and 6.3% RTV. A slow release rate of LPV was observed at about 20% on day 5, followed by a sustained release beyond 14 days. RTV released faster than LPV in the first 5 days and slower than LPV thereafter. LPV trough concentration remained above 160 ng/mL and RTV trough concentration was above 50 ng/mL after 6 days with one subcutaneous injection. Overall, the ISNP-based LPV/RTV injection showed sustained release profiles in both in vitro and in vivo studies. Full article
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Article
Liquid Film Translocation Significantly Enhances Nasal Spray Delivery to Olfactory Region: A Numerical Simulation Study
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 903; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060903 - 18 Jun 2021
Viewed by 464
Abstract
Previous in vivo and ex vivo studies have tested nasal sprays with varying head positions to enhance the olfactory delivery; however, such studies often suffered from a lack of quantitative dosimetry in the target region, which relied on the observer’s subjective perception of [...] Read more.
Previous in vivo and ex vivo studies have tested nasal sprays with varying head positions to enhance the olfactory delivery; however, such studies often suffered from a lack of quantitative dosimetry in the target region, which relied on the observer’s subjective perception of color changes in the endoscopy images. The objective of this study is to test the feasibility of gravitationally driven droplet translocation numerically to enhance the nasal spray dosages in the olfactory region and quantify the intranasal dose distribution in the regions of interest. A computational nasal spray testing platform was developed that included a nasal spray releasing model, an airflow-droplet transport model, and an Eulerian wall film formation/translocation model. The effects of both device-related and administration-related variables on the initial olfactory deposition were studied, including droplet size, velocity, plume angle, spray release position, and orientation. The liquid film formation and translocation after nasal spray applications were simulated for both a standard and a newly proposed delivery system. Results show that the initial droplet deposition in the olfactory region is highly sensitive to the spray plume angle. For the given nasal cavity with a vertex-to-floor head position, a plume angle of 10° with a device orientation of 45° to the nostril delivered the optimal dose to the olfactory region. Liquid wall film translocation enhanced the olfactory dosage by ninefold, compared to the initial olfactory dose, for both the baseline and optimized delivery systems. The optimized delivery system delivered 6.2% of applied sprays to the olfactory region and significantly reduced drug losses in the vestibule. Rheological properties of spray formulations can be explored to harness further the benefits of liquid film translocation in targeted intranasal deliveries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nose-To-Brain Drug Delivery System)
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Article
Topical Nanoemulgel for the Treatment of Skin Cancer: Proof-of-Technology
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060902 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 653
Abstract
The present study is a mechanistic validation of ‘proof-of-technology’ for the effective topical delivery of chrysin nanoemulgel for localized, efficient treatment of melanoma-affected skin. Background: Currently available treatments for skin cancer are inefficient due to systemic side effects and poor transcutaneous permeation, thereby [...] Read more.
The present study is a mechanistic validation of ‘proof-of-technology’ for the effective topical delivery of chrysin nanoemulgel for localized, efficient treatment of melanoma-affected skin. Background: Currently available treatments for skin cancer are inefficient due to systemic side effects and poor transcutaneous permeation, thereby presenting a formidable challenge for the development of novel nanocarriers. Methods: We opted for a novel approach and formulated a nanocomplex system composed of hydrophobic chrysin dissolved in a lipid mix, which was further nanoemulsified in Pluronic® F-127 gel to enhance physicochemical and biopharmaceutic characteristics. Chrysin, a flavone extracted from passion flowers, exhibits potential anti-cancer activities; however, it has limited applicability due to its poor solubility. Pseudo-ternary phase diagrams were constructed to identify the best self-nanoemulsifying region by varying the compositions of oil, Caproyl® 90 surfactant, Tween® 80, and co-solvent Transcutol® HP. Chrysin-loaded nanoemulsifying compositions were characterized for various physicochemical properties. Results: This thermodynamically stable, self-emulsifying drug delivery system showed a mean droplet size of 156.9 nm, polydispersity index of 0.26, and viscosity of 9100 cps after dispersion in gel. Mechanical characterization using Texture Analyzer exhibited that the gel had a hardness of 487 g and adhesiveness of 500 g. Ex vivo permeation through rat abdominal skin revealed significant improvement in percutaneous absorption measured as flux, the apparent permeability coefficient, the steady-state diffusion coefficient, and drug deposition. In vitro cytotoxicity on A375 and SK-MEL-2 cell lines showed a significantly improved therapeutic effect, thus ensuring reduction in dose. The safety of the product was established through biocompatibility testing on the L929 cell line. Conclusion: Aqueous, gel-based, topical, nanoemulsified chrysin is a promising technology approach for effective localized transcutaneous delivery that will help reduce the frequency and overall dose usage and ultimately improve the therapeutic index. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Topical Drug Delivery: Innovative Controlled Release Systems)
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Article
Distribution of Gold Nanoparticles in the Anterior Chamber of the Eye after Intracameral Injection for Glaucoma Therapy
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 901; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060901 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 705
Abstract
In glaucoma therapy, nanoparticles (NPs) are a favorable tool for delivering drugs to the outflow tissues of the anterior chamber of the eye where disease development and progression take place. In this context, a prerequisite is an efficient enrichment of NPs in the [...] Read more.
In glaucoma therapy, nanoparticles (NPs) are a favorable tool for delivering drugs to the outflow tissues of the anterior chamber of the eye where disease development and progression take place. In this context, a prerequisite is an efficient enrichment of NPs in the trabecular meshwork with minimal accumulation in off-target tissues such as the cornea, lens, iris and ciliary body. We evaluated the optimal size for targeting the trabecular meshwork by using gold NPs of 5, 60, 80 and 120 nm with a bare surface (AuNPs) or coated with hyaluronic acid (HA-AuNPs). NPs were compared regarding their colloidal stability, distribution in the anterior chamber of the eye ex vivo and cellular uptake in vitro. HA-AuNPs demonstrated an exceptional colloidal stability. Even after application into porcine eyes ex vivo, the HA coating prevented an aggregation of NPs inside the trabecular meshwork. NPs with a diameter of 120 nm exhibited the highest volume-based accumulation in the trabecular meshwork. Off-target tissues in the anterior chamber demonstrated an exceptionally low gold content. Our findings are particularly important for NPs with encapsulated anti-glaucoma drugs because a higher particle volume would be accompanied by a higher drug payload. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ophthalmic Drug Delivery Volume II)
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Article
Dendrimer-Coated Gold Nanoparticles for Efficient Folate-Targeted mRNA Delivery In Vitro
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 900; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060900 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 635
Abstract
Messenger RNA (mRNA) is not an attractive candidate for gene therapy due to its instability and has therefore received little attention. Recent studies show the advantage of mRNA over DNA, especially in cancer immunotherapy and vaccine development. This study aimed to formulate folic-acid-(FA)-modified, [...] Read more.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) is not an attractive candidate for gene therapy due to its instability and has therefore received little attention. Recent studies show the advantage of mRNA over DNA, especially in cancer immunotherapy and vaccine development. This study aimed to formulate folic-acid-(FA)-modified, poly-amidoamine-generation-5 (PAMAM G5D)-grafted gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) and to evaluate their cytotoxicity and transgene expression using the luciferase reporter gene (FLuc-mRNA) in vitro. Nanocomplexes were spherical and of favorable size. Nanocomplexes at optimum nanoparticle:mRNA (w/w) binding ratios showed good protection of the bound mRNA against nucleases and were well tolerated in all cell lines. Transgene expression was significantly (p < 0.0001) higher with FA-targeted, dendrimer-grafted AuNPs (Au:G5D:FA) in FA receptors overexpressing MCF-7 and KB cells compared to the G5D and G5D:FA NPs, decreasing significantly (p < 0.01) in the presence of excess competing FA ligand, which confirmed nanocomplex uptake via receptor mediation. Overall, transgene expression of the Au:G5D and Au:G5D:FA nanocomplexes exceeded that of G5D and G5D:FA nanocomplexes, indicating the pivotal role played by the inclusion of the AuNP delivery system. The favorable properties imparted by the AuNPs potentiated an increased level of luciferase gene expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Supramolecular Systems for Gene and Drug Delivery)
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Review
Modulation of Urate Transport by Drugs
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 899; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060899 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 572
Abstract
Background: Serum urate (SU) levels in primates are extraordinarily high among mammals. Urate is a Janus-faced molecule that acts physiologically as a protective antioxidant but provokes inflammation and gout when it precipitates at high concentrations. Transporters play crucial roles in urate disposition, and [...] Read more.
Background: Serum urate (SU) levels in primates are extraordinarily high among mammals. Urate is a Janus-faced molecule that acts physiologically as a protective antioxidant but provokes inflammation and gout when it precipitates at high concentrations. Transporters play crucial roles in urate disposition, and drugs that interact with urate transporters either by intention or by accident may modulate SU levels. We examined whether in vitro transporter interaction studies may clarify and predict such effects. Methods: Transporter interaction profiles of clinically proven urate-lowering (uricosuric) and hyperuricemic drugs were compiled from the literature, and the predictive value of in vitro-derived cut-offs like Cmax/IC50 on the in vivo outcome (clinically relevant decrease or increase of SU) was assessed. Results: Interaction with the major reabsorptive urate transporter URAT1 appears to be dominant over interactions with secretory transporters in determining the net effect of a drug on SU levels. In vitro inhibition interpreted using the recommended cut-offs is useful at predicting the clinical outcome. Conclusions: In vitro safety assessments regarding urate transport should be done early in drug development to identify candidates at risk of causing major imbalances. Attention should be paid both to the inhibition of secretory transporters and inhibition or trans-stimulation of reabsorptive transporters, especially URAT1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug Delivery across Physiological Barriers)
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Review
Obtaining Cocrystals by Reaction Crystallization Method: Pharmaceutical Applications
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060898 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 698
Abstract
Cocrystals have gained attention in the pharmaceutical industry due to their ability to improve solubility, stability, in vitro dissolution rate, and bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs. Conceptually, cocrystals are multicomponent solids that contain two or more neutral molecules in stoichiometric amounts within the [...] Read more.
Cocrystals have gained attention in the pharmaceutical industry due to their ability to improve solubility, stability, in vitro dissolution rate, and bioavailability of poorly soluble drugs. Conceptually, cocrystals are multicomponent solids that contain two or more neutral molecules in stoichiometric amounts within the same crystal lattice. There are several techniques for obtaining cocrystals described in the literature; however, the focus of this article is the Reaction Crystallization Method (RCM). This method is based on the generation of a supersaturated solution with respect to the cocrystal, while this same solution is saturated or unsaturated with respect to the components of the cocrystal individually. The advantages of the RCM compared with other cocrystallization techniques include the ability to form cocrystals without crystallization of individual components, applicability to the development of in situ techniques for the screening of high quality cocrystals, possibility of large-scale production, and lower cost in both time and materials. An increasing number of scientific studies have demonstrated the use of RCM to synthesize cocrystals, mainly for drugs belonging to class II of the Biopharmaceutics Classification System. The promising results obtained by RCM have demonstrated the applicability of the method for obtaining pharmaceutical cocrystals that improve the biopharmaceutical characteristics of drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cocrystal Applications in Drug Delivery (Volume II))
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Article
Effects of Lapatinib on HER2-Positive and HER2-Negative Canine Mammary Carcinoma Cells Cultured In Vitro
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060897 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 580
Abstract
HER2 is a prognostic and predictive marker widely used in breast cancer. Lapatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that works by blocking the phosphorylation of the receptor HER2. Its use is related to relatively good results in the treatment of women with HER2+ [...] Read more.
HER2 is a prognostic and predictive marker widely used in breast cancer. Lapatinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that works by blocking the phosphorylation of the receptor HER2. Its use is related to relatively good results in the treatment of women with HER2+ breast cancer. Thus, this study aimed to verify the effects of lapatinib on four canine primary mammary gland carcinoma cell cultures and two paired metastatic cell cultures. Cultures were treated with lapatinib at concentrations of 100, 500, 1000 and 3000 nM for 24 h and the 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) for each cell culture was determined. In addition, a transwell assay was performed to assess the ability of lapatinib to inhibit cell migration. Furthermore, we verified HER2 expression by RT-qPCR analysis of cell cultures and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues from samples corresponding to those used in cell culture. Lapatinib was able to inhibit cell proliferation in all cell cultures, but it was not able to inhibit migration in all cell cultures. The higher the expression of HER2 in a culture, the more sensitive the culture was to treatment. This relationship may be an indication that the expression of HER2 may be a predictive factor and opens a new perspective for the treatment of primary and metastatic mammary gland cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Anticancer Strategies (Volume II))
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Article
The Effect of a Triple Combination of Bevacizumab, Sodium Hyaluronate and a Collagen Matrix Implant in a Trabeculectomy Animal Model
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 896; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060896 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 570
Abstract
Currently available anti-scarring treatments for glaucoma filtration surgery (GFS) have potentially blinding complications, so there is a need for alternative and safer agents. The effects of the intrableb administration of a new combination of the anti-VEGF bevacizumab, sodium hyaluronate and a collagen matrix [...] Read more.
Currently available anti-scarring treatments for glaucoma filtration surgery (GFS) have potentially blinding complications, so there is a need for alternative and safer agents. The effects of the intrableb administration of a new combination of the anti-VEGF bevacizumab, sodium hyaluronate and a collagen matrix implant were investigated in a rabbit model of GFS, with the purpose of modulating inflammation, angiogenesis, fibroblast migration and fibrogenesis in the wound healing process. A comparative-effectiveness study was performed with twenty-four rabbits, randomly assigned to the following treatments: (a) biodegradable collagen matrix implant (Olo), (b) bevacizumab-loaded collagen matrix implant (Olo-BVZ), (c) bevacizumab-loaded collagen matrix implant combined with sodium hyaluronate (Olo-BVZ-H5) and (d) sham-operated animals (control). Rabbits underwent a conventional trabeculectomy and were studied over 30 days in terms of intraocular pressure and bleb characterization (height, area and vascularity in central, peripheral and non-bleb zones). Histologic differences among groups were further evaluated at day 30 (inflammation, total cellularity and degree of fibrosis in the area of surgery). Local delivery of bevacizumab (Olo-BVZ and Olo-BVZ-H5) increased the survival of the filtering bleb by 21% and 31%, respectively, and generated a significant decrease in inflammation and cell infiltration histologically 30 days after surgery, without exhibiting any local toxic effects. Olo-BVZ-H5 showed less lymphocyte infiltration and inflammation than the rest of the treatments. Intraoperative intrableb implantation of bevacizumab, sodium hyaluronate and a collagen matrix may provide an improved trabeculectomy outcome in this model of intense wound healing. This study showed an effective procedure with few surgical complications and a novel combination of active compounds that offer new possibilities to improve the efficacy of filtration surgery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Polymers for Controlled Drug Delivery)
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Article
Preclinical In Vitro Studies with 3D Spheroids to Evaluate Cu(DDC)2 Containing Liposomes for the Treatment of Neuroblastoma
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060894 - 17 Jun 2021
Viewed by 559
Abstract
Preclinical in vitro studies of drug candidates for anticancer therapy are generally conducted on well-established 2D cell models. Unfortunately, these models are unable to mimic the properties of in vivo tumors. However, in vitro 3D models (spheroids) have been proven to be superior [...] Read more.
Preclinical in vitro studies of drug candidates for anticancer therapy are generally conducted on well-established 2D cell models. Unfortunately, these models are unable to mimic the properties of in vivo tumors. However, in vitro 3D models (spheroids) have been proven to be superior in reflecting the tumor microenvironment. Diethyldithiocarbamate (DDC) is the active metabolite of Disulfiram, an approved drug for alcoholism and repurposed for cancer treatment. DDC binds copper in a molar ratio of 2:1 resulting in a water-insoluble Cu(DDC)2 complex exhibiting anticancer activities. Delivery of the Cu(DDC)2 complex using nanoparticulate carriers provides decisive advantages for a parental application. In this study, an injectable liposomal Cu(DDC)2 formulation was developed and the toxicity was compared with a 2D neuroblastoma and a 3D neuroblastoma cell model. Our results indicate that Cu(DDC)2 liposomes complied with the size requirements of nanoparticles for intravenous injection and demonstrated high drug to lipid ratios as well as colloidal stability upon storage. Furthermore, an efficient cytotoxic effect on neuroblastoma 2D cell cultures and a very promising and even more pronounced effect on 3D cell cultures in terms of neuroblastoma monoculture and neuroblastoma co-culture with primary cell lines was proven, highly encouraging the use of Cu(DDC)2 liposomes for anticancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocarriers for Drug Delivery and/or Gene Therapy in Cancer)
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Article
Tumor Microenvironment-Responsive Shell/Core Composite Nanoparticles for Enhanced Stability and Antitumor Efficiency Based on a pH-Triggered Charge-Reversal Mechanism
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060895 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 535
Abstract
High systemic stability and effective tumor accumulation of chemotherapeutic agents are indispensable elements that determine their antitumor efficacy. PEGylation of nanoparticles (NPs) could prolong the retention time in vivo by improving their stability in circulation, but treatment suffers reduced tumor penetration and cellular [...] Read more.
High systemic stability and effective tumor accumulation of chemotherapeutic agents are indispensable elements that determine their antitumor efficacy. PEGylation of nanoparticles (NPs) could prolong the retention time in vivo by improving their stability in circulation, but treatment suffers reduced tumor penetration and cellular uptake of nanomedicines. The tumor microenvironment (TME)-responsive NPs maintain their stealth features during circulation and undergo a stimuli-responsive dePEGylation once exposed to the site of action, thereby achieving enhanced internalization in tumor cells. Herein, TME-responsive shell/core composite nanoparticles were prepared and optimized with enhanced stability and tumor intake efficiency. We synthesized 12-hydroxystearic acid-poly (ethylene glycol)-YGRKKRRQRRR (HA-PEG-TAT) as a post-insert apparatus in disulfiram (DSF)-encapsulated naked nanoparticles (N-NPs) in order to form a cationic core (TAT-NPs). Accordingly, the negatively charged poly (glutamate acid)-graft-poly (ethylene glycol) (PGlu-PEG) was further applied to the surface of TAT-NPs as a negative charged shell (PGlu-PEG/TAT-NPs) via the electrostatic interaction between glutamic acids and arginine at the outer ring of the TAT-NPs. PGlu-PEG/TAT-NPs displayed a huge loading capability for DSF with reduced degradation in plasma and exhibited rapid charge reversal when pH decreased from 7.4 to pH 6.5, demonstrating an excellent systemic stability as well as intelligent stimuli-responsive performance within the acidic TME. Furthermore, the in vivo antitumor study revealed that PGlu-PEG/TAT-NPs provided greater antitumor efficacy compared with free DSF and N-NPs with no obvious systemic toxicity. In conclusion, the TME-responsive shell/core composite NPs, consisting of PGlu-PEG and HS-PEG-TAT, could mediate an effective and biocompatible delivery of chemotherapeutic agents with clinical potential. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Stimuli-Responsive Tumor Targeting Nanotechnology)
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Article
Systemic Treatment with Nicotinamide Riboside Is Protective in Two Mouse Models of Retinal Ganglion Cell Damage
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060893 - 16 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 795
Abstract
Glaucoma etiology often includes retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). However, even when IOP is managed well, disease can progress. It is thus important to develop therapeutic approaches that directly protect RGCs in an IOP-independent manner. Compromised nicotinamide [...] Read more.
Glaucoma etiology often includes retinal ganglion cell (RGC) death associated with elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). However, even when IOP is managed well, disease can progress. It is thus important to develop therapeutic approaches that directly protect RGCs in an IOP-independent manner. Compromised nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) metabolism occurs in neurodegenerative diseases, including models of glaucoma. Here we report testing the protective effects of prophylactically systemically administered nicotinamide riboside (NR), a NAD+ precursor, in a mouse model of acute RGC damage (optic nerve crush (ONC)), and in a chronic model of RGC degeneration (ocular hypertension induced by intracameral injection of microbeads). For both models, treatment enhanced RGC survival, assessed by counting cells in retinal flatmounts immunostained for Brn3a+. In the ONC model, treatment preserved RGC function, as assessed by pattern electroretinogram, and suppressed retinal inflammation, as assessed by immunofluorescence staining of retinal fixed sections for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). This is the first study to demonstrate that systemic treatment with NR is protective in acute and chronic models of RGC damage. The protection is significant and, considering that NR is highly bioavailable in and well-tolerated by humans, may support the proposition of prospective human subject studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Technologies to Treat Diseases of the Back of the Eye)
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Article
Miniaturization and Automation of a Human In Vitro Blood–Brain Barrier Model for the High-Throughput Screening of Compounds in the Early Stage of Drug Discovery
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060892 - 16 Jun 2021
Viewed by 615
Abstract
Central nervous system (CNS) diseases are one of the top causes of death worldwide. As there is a difficulty of drug penetration into the brain due to the blood–brain barrier (BBB), many CNS drugs treatments fail in clinical trials. Hence, there is a [...] Read more.
Central nervous system (CNS) diseases are one of the top causes of death worldwide. As there is a difficulty of drug penetration into the brain due to the blood–brain barrier (BBB), many CNS drugs treatments fail in clinical trials. Hence, there is a need to develop effective CNS drugs following strategies for delivery to the brain by better selecting them as early as possible during the drug discovery process. The use of in vitro BBB models has proved useful to evaluate the impact of drugs/compounds toxicity, BBB permeation rates and molecular transport mechanisms within the brain cells in academic research and early-stage drug discovery. However, these studies that require biological material (animal brain or human cells) are time-consuming and involve costly amounts of materials and plastic wastes due to the format of the models. Hence, to adapt to the high yields needed in early-stage drug discoveries for compound screenings, a patented well-established human in vitro BBB model was miniaturized and automated into a 96-well format. This replicate met all the BBB model reliability criteria to get predictive results, allowing a significant reduction in biological materials, waste and a higher screening capacity for being extensively used during early-stage drug discovery studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Barriers in Health and Disease)
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Article
Fabrication and Characterization of Fast-Dissolving Films Containing Escitalopram/Quetiapine for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(6), 891; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13060891 - 16 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 921
Abstract
Major depressive disorder (MMD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Approximately one-third of patients with MDD fail to achieve response or remission leading to treatment-resistant depression (TRD). One of the psychopharmacological strategies to overcome TRD is using a combination of an antipsychotic [...] Read more.
Major depressive disorder (MMD) is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Approximately one-third of patients with MDD fail to achieve response or remission leading to treatment-resistant depression (TRD). One of the psychopharmacological strategies to overcome TRD is using a combination of an antipsychotic as an augmenting agent with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Among which, an atypical antipsychotic, quetiapine (QUE), and an SSRI, escitalopram (ESC), were formulated as a fixed-dose combination as a fast-dissolving film by coaxial electrospinning. The resultant fiber’s morphology was studied. SEM images showed that the drug-loaded fibers were smooth, un-beaded, and non-porous with a fiber diameter of 0.9 ± 0.1 µm, while the TEM images illustrated the distinctive layers of the core and shell, confirming the successful preparation of these fibers. Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) studies confirmed that both drugs were amorphously distributed within the drug-loaded fibers. The drug-loaded fibers exhibited a disintegration time of 2 s, which accelerated the release of both drugs (50% after 5 min) making it an attractive formulation for oral mucosal delivery. The ex vivo permeability study demonstrated that QUE was permeated through the buccal membrane, but not ESC that might be hindered by the buccal epithelium and the intercellular lipids. Overall, the developed coaxial fibers could be a potential buccal dosage form that could be attributed to higher acceptability and adherence among vulnerable patients, particularly mentally ill patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electrospun Materials for Biomedical Applications)
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