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Pharmaceutics, Volume 15, Issue 12 (December 2023) – 149 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Antibiotic resistance is a major threat to public health and poses severe treatment challenges, recently faced by antimicrobial photothermal and photodynamic therapies (PTT and PDT). Both approaches use photoagents that are able to produce heat or singlet oxygen which leads to cell death after the induced photodamage. Phosphorene, the exfoliated form of black phosphorus that has intrinsic photoactivity and drug carrier capability, has emerged as an ideal platform for designing nanosystems for PTT and PDT therapies. In this review, the recent literature on the use of phosphorene-based hybrids against antibiotic-resistant pathogens is discussed showing promising outcomes and evidencing the surface drug-functionalization of phosphorene as particularly powerful in enhancing therapeutic results with synergistic effects. View this paper
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13 pages, 2134 KiB  
Article
The Complexity of Bariatric Patient’s Pharmacotherapy: Sildenafil Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics before vs. after Gastric Sleeve/Bypass
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2795; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122795 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 825
Abstract
Postbariatric altered gastrointestinal (GI) anatomy/physiology may significantly harm oral drug absorption and overall bioavailability. In this work, sildenafil, the first phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor, was investigated for impaired postbariatric solubility/dissolution and absorption; this research question is of particular relevance since erectile dysfunction (ED) is [...] Read more.
Postbariatric altered gastrointestinal (GI) anatomy/physiology may significantly harm oral drug absorption and overall bioavailability. In this work, sildenafil, the first phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitor, was investigated for impaired postbariatric solubility/dissolution and absorption; this research question is of particular relevance since erectile dysfunction (ED) is associated with higher body mass index (BMI). Sildenafil solubility was determined both in vitro and ex vivo, using pre- vs. postsurgery gastric contents aspirated from patients. Dissolution tests were done in conditions mimicking the stomach before surgery, after sleeve gastrectomy (post-SG, pH 5), and after one anastomosis gastric bypass (post-OAGB, pH 7). Finally, these data were included in physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling (GastroPlus®) to simulate sildenafil PK before vs. after surgery. pH-dependent solubility was demonstrated with low solubility (0.3 mg/mL) at pH 7 vs. high solubility at pH 1–5, which was also confirmed ex vivo with much lower solubility values in postbariatric gastric samples. Hampered dissolution of all sildenafil doses was obtained under post-OAGB conditions compared with complete (100%) dissolution under both presurgery and post-SG conditions. PBPK simulations revealed delayed sildenafil absorption in postbariatric patients (increased tmax) and reduced Cmax, especially in post-OAGB patients, relative to a presurgery state. Hence, the effect of bariatric surgery on sildenafil PK is unpredictable and may depend on the specific bariatric procedure. This mechanistically based analysis suggests a potentially undesirable delayed onset of action of sildenafil following gastric bypass surgery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Pharmaceutical Science and Technology in Israel)
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13 pages, 2820 KiB  
Article
Rapid Study on Mefloquine Hydrochloride Complexation with Hydroxypropyl-β-Cyclodextrin and Randomly Methylated β-Cyclodextrin: Phase Diagrams, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Analysis, and Stability Assessment
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2794; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122794 - 18 Dec 2023
Viewed by 709
Abstract
This study investigates the complexation of mefloquine hydrochloride by cyclodextrins to improve its solubility in order to design an oral solution. This approach may enhance the effectiveness of mefloquine, a drug which can be used for malaria prophylaxis and treatment in children. Mefloquine [...] Read more.
This study investigates the complexation of mefloquine hydrochloride by cyclodextrins to improve its solubility in order to design an oral solution. This approach may enhance the effectiveness of mefloquine, a drug which can be used for malaria prophylaxis and treatment in children. Mefloquine hydrochloride’s solubility was assessed in different buffer solutions, and its quantification was achieved through high-performance liquid chromatography. The complexation efficiency with cyclodextrins was evaluated, and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods were employed to determine the interactions between mefloquine and cyclodextrins. Mefloquine’s solubility increased when combined with hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HP-β-CD) and randomly methylated β-cyclodextrin (RAMEB), with RAMEB being more effective. The drug’s solubility varied across different pH buffers, being higher in acidic buffers. Interestingly, mefloquine’s solubility decreased with a citrate buffer, possibly due to precipitation. The NMR studies highlighted non-covalent interactions between RAMEB, HP-β-CD, and mefloquine, explaining the solubilizing effect via complexation phenomena. Furthermore, the NMR experiments indicated the complexation of mefloquine by all the studied cyclodextrins, forming diastereoisomeric complexes. Cyclodextrin complexation improved mefloquine’s solubility, potentially impacting its bioavailability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cyclodextrins in Drug Delivery, 2nd Edition)
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30 pages, 6327 KiB  
Article
A Novel Handrub Tablet Loaded with Pre- and Post-Biotic Solid Lipid Nanoparticles Combining Virucidal Activity and Maintenance of the Skin Barrier and Microbiome
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2793; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122793 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1219
Abstract
Objective: This study aimed to develop a holobiont tablet with rapid dispersibility to provide regulation of the microbiota, virucidal activity, and skin barrier protection. Methods: A 23 factorial experiment was planned to define the best formulation for the development of the base [...] Read more.
Objective: This study aimed to develop a holobiont tablet with rapid dispersibility to provide regulation of the microbiota, virucidal activity, and skin barrier protection. Methods: A 23 factorial experiment was planned to define the best formulation for the development of the base tablet, using average weight, hardness, dimensions, swelling rate, and disintegration time as parameters to be analyzed. To produce holobiont tablets, the chosen base formulation was fabricated by direct compression of prebiotics, postbiotics, and excipients. The tablets also incorporated solid lipid nanoparticles containing postbiotics that were obtained by high-pressure homogenization and freeze-drying. The in vitro virucidal activity against alpha-coronavirus particles (CCoV-VR809) was determined in VERO cell culture. In vitro analysis, using monolayer cells and human equivalent skin, was performed by rRTq-PCR to determine the expression of interleukins 1, 6, 8, and 17, aquaporin-3, involucrin, filaggrin, FoxO3, and SIRT-1. Antioxidant activity and collagen-1 synthesis were also performed in fibroblast cells. Metagenomic analysis of the skin microbiome was determined in vivo before and after application of the holobiont tablet, during one week of continuous use, and compared to the use of alcohol gel. Samples were analyzed by sequencing the V3–V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Results: A handrub tablet with rapid dispersibility was developed for topical use and rinse off. After being defined as safe, the virucidal activity was found to be equal to or greater than that of 70% alcohol, with a reduction in interleukins and maintenance or improvement of skin barrier gene markers, in addition to the reestablishment of the skin microbiota after use. Conclusions: The holobiont tablets were able to improve the genetic markers related to the skin barrier and also its microbiota, thereby being more favorable for use as a hand sanitizer than 70% alcohol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology, Manufacturing and Devices)
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11 pages, 1020 KiB  
Article
Freeze-Drying of Encapsulated Bacteriophage T4 to Obtain Shelf-Stable Dry Preparations for Oral Application
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2792; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122792 - 17 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 782
Abstract
Therapeutic application of bacterial viruses (phage therapy) has in recent years been rediscovered by many scientists, as a method which may potentially replace conventional antibacterial strategies. However, one of the main problems related to phage application is the stability of bacterial viruses. Though [...] Read more.
Therapeutic application of bacterial viruses (phage therapy) has in recent years been rediscovered by many scientists, as a method which may potentially replace conventional antibacterial strategies. However, one of the main problems related to phage application is the stability of bacterial viruses. Though many techniques have been used to sustain phage activity, novel tools are needed to allow long-term phage storage and application in versatile forms. In this study, we combined two well-known methods for bacteriophage immobilization. First, encapsulated phages were obtained by means of extrusion–ionic gelation, and then alginate microspheres were dried using the lyophilization process (freeze-drying). To overcome the risk of phage instability upon dehydration, the microspheres were prepared with the addition of 0.3 M mannitol. Bacteriophage-loaded microspheres were stored at room temperature for 30 days and subsequently exposed to simulated gastric fluid (SGF). The survival of encapsulated phages after drying was significantly higher in the presence of mannitol. The highest number of viable bacteriophages exceeding 4.8 log10 pfu/mL in SGF were recovered from encapsulated and freeze-dried microspheres, while phages in lyophilized lysate were completely inactivated. Although the method requires optimization, it may be a promising approach for the immobilization of bacteriophages in terms of practical application. Full article
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17 pages, 4020 KiB  
Article
SARS-CoV-2 Fusion Peptide Conjugated to a Tetravalent Dendrimer Selectively Inhibits Viral Infection
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2791; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122791 - 17 Dec 2023
Viewed by 866
Abstract
Fusion is a key event for enveloped viruses, through which viral and cell membranes come into close contact. This event is mediated by viral fusion proteins, which are divided into three structural and functional classes. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) [...] Read more.
Fusion is a key event for enveloped viruses, through which viral and cell membranes come into close contact. This event is mediated by viral fusion proteins, which are divided into three structural and functional classes. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein belongs to class I fusion proteins, characterized by a trimer of helical hairpins and an internal fusion peptide (FP), which is exposed once fusion occurs. Many efforts have been directed at finding antivirals capable of interfering with the fusion mechanism, mainly by designing peptides on the two heptad-repeat regions present in class I viral fusion proteins. Here, we aimed to evaluate the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity of the FP sequence conjugated to a tetravalent dendrimer through a classical organic nucleophilic substitution reaction (SN2) using a synthetic bromoacetylated peptide mimicking the FP and a branched scaffold of poly-L-Lysine functionalized with cysteine residues. We found that the FP peptide conjugated to the dendrimer, unlike the monomeric FP sequence, has virucidal activity by impairing the attachment of SARS-CoV-2 to cells. Furthermore, we found that the peptide dendrimer does not have the same effects on other coronaviruses, demonstrating that it is selective against SARS-CoV-2. Full article
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18 pages, 3684 KiB  
Article
Preparation of trans-Crocetin with High Solubility, Stability, and Oral Bioavailability by Incorporation into Three Types of Cyclodextrins
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2790; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122790 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 796
Abstract
Crocetin (CRT), an active compound isolated from saffron, exhibits several pharmacological activities, including anti-tumor and immune-regulatory activities, and is effective against myocardial ischemia and coronary heart disease; however, its low stability and solubility limit its clinical application. Therefore, we investigated CRT inclusion complexes [...] Read more.
Crocetin (CRT), an active compound isolated from saffron, exhibits several pharmacological activities, including anti-tumor and immune-regulatory activities, and is effective against myocardial ischemia and coronary heart disease; however, its low stability and solubility limit its clinical application. Therefore, we investigated CRT inclusion complexes (ICs) with three cyclodextrins—α-CD, HP-β-CD, and γ-CD—suitable for oral administration prepared using an ultrasonic method. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and powder X-ray diffraction indicated that the crystalline state of CRT in ICs disappeared, and intermolecular interactions were observed between CRT and CDs. 1H nuclear magnetic resonance and phase solubility studies confirmed CRT encapsulation in the CD cavity and the formation of ICs. In addition, we observed the morphology of ICs using scanning electron microscopy. All ICs showed a high drug encapsulation efficiency (approximately 90%) with 6500–10,000 times better solubilities than those of the pure drug. CRT showed rapid dissolution, whereas pure CRT was water-insoluble. The formation of ICs significantly improved the storage stability of CRT under heat, light, and moisture conditions. Further, the peak time of CRT in rats significantly decreased, and the relative bioavailability increased by approximately 3–4 times. In addition, the oral bioavailability of CRT IC was evaluated. Notably, the absorption rate and degree of the drug in rats were improved. This study illustrated the potential applications of CRT/CD ICs in the food, healthcare, and pharmaceutical industries, owing to their favorable dissolution, solubility, stability, and oral bioavailability. Full article
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15 pages, 3058 KiB  
Article
Fluorinated Cell-Penetrating Peptide for Co-Delivering siHIF-1α and Sorafenib to Enhance In Vitro Anti-Tumor Efficacy
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2789; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122789 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 800
Abstract
Antiangiogenic therapy with sorafenib (SF) alone is ineffective in eradicating tumors, and its long-term application can exacerbate tumor hypoxia, which in turn restricts SF’s therapeutic efficacy. Here, a redox-responsive fluorinated peptide (DEN-TAT-PFC) consisting of dendritic poly-lysine, cell-penetrating peptide TAT, and perfluorocarbon was designed [...] Read more.
Antiangiogenic therapy with sorafenib (SF) alone is ineffective in eradicating tumors, and its long-term application can exacerbate tumor hypoxia, which in turn restricts SF’s therapeutic efficacy. Here, a redox-responsive fluorinated peptide (DEN-TAT-PFC) consisting of dendritic poly-lysine, cell-penetrating peptide TAT, and perfluorocarbon was designed and synthesized to co-load siRNA-targeting hypoxia-inducible factors (siHIF-1α) and SF. The unique architecture of the peptide and fluorinated modifications enhanced the siRNA delivery efficiency, including increased siRNA binding, GSH-responsive release, cellular uptake, endosomal escape, and serum resistance. Simultaneously, the DEN-TAT-PFC/SF/siHIF-1α co-delivery system achieved efficient knockdown of HIF-1α at mRNA and protein levels, thus alleviating hypoxia and further substantially reducing VEGF expression. Additionally, the excellent oxygen-carrying ability of DEN-TAT-PFC may facilitate relief of the hypoxic microenvironment. As a result of these synergistic effects, DEN-TAT-PFC/SF/siHIF-1α exhibited considerable anti-tumor cell proliferation and anti-angiogenesis effects. Therefore, DEN-TAT-PFC can be a versatile platform for fabricating fluorine-containing drugs/siRNA complex nano-systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanocarriers: A Novel Strategy for Cell and Gene Delivery)
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12 pages, 5630 KiB  
Article
An In Vitro Assessment Method for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neurotoxicity Caused by Anti-Cancer Drugs Based on Electrical Measurement of Impedance Value and Spontaneous Activity
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2788; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122788 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 774
Abstract
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity (CIPN) is a major adverse event of anti-cancer drugs, which still lack standardized measurement and treatment methods. In the present study, we attempted to evaluate neuronal dysfunctions in cultured rodent primary peripheral neurons using a microelectrode array system. After exposure [...] Read more.
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neurotoxicity (CIPN) is a major adverse event of anti-cancer drugs, which still lack standardized measurement and treatment methods. In the present study, we attempted to evaluate neuronal dysfunctions in cultured rodent primary peripheral neurons using a microelectrode array system. After exposure to typical anti-cancer drugs (i.e., paclitaxel, vincristine, oxaliplatin, and bortezomib), we successfully detected neurotoxicity in dorsal root ganglia neurons by measuring electrical activities, including impedance value and spontaneous activity. The impedance value decreased significantly for all compounds, even at low concentrations, which indicated cell loss and/or neurite degeneration. The spontaneous activity was also suppressed after exposure, which suggested neurotoxicity again. However, an acute response was observed for paclitaxel and bortezomib before toxicity, which showed different mechanisms based on compounds. Therefore, MEA measurement of impedance value could provide a simple assessment method for CIPN, combined with neuronal morphological changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Technology, Manufacturing and Devices)
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15 pages, 1569 KiB  
Article
Possible Participation of Adenine Nucleotide Translocase ANT1 in the Cytotoxic Action of Progestins, Glucocorticoids, and Diclofenac on Tumor Cells
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2787; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122787 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 670
Abstract
A comparative analysis of the cytostatic effects of progestins (gestobutanoyl, megestrol acetate, amol, dienogest, and medroxyprogesterone acetate), glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone, dexamethasone), and diclofenac on tumor cells was carried out in order to confirm their in silico predicted probabilities experimentally. The results showed the different [...] Read more.
A comparative analysis of the cytostatic effects of progestins (gestobutanoyl, megestrol acetate, amol, dienogest, and medroxyprogesterone acetate), glucocorticoids (hydrocortisone, dexamethasone), and diclofenac on tumor cells was carried out in order to confirm their in silico predicted probabilities experimentally. The results showed the different sensitivity of HeLa, MCF-7, Hep-2, K-562, and Wi-38 cell lines to progestins, glucocorticoids, and diclofenac. The minimum IC50 was found for progestin gestobutanoyl (GB) as 18 µM for HeLa cells, and varied from 31 to 38 µM for MCF-7, Hep-2, and K-562. Glucocorticoids and diclofenac were much less cytotoxic in the HeLa, MCF-7, and Hep-2 cell lines than progestins, with IC50 values in the range of 150–3000 μM. Myelogenous leukemia K-562 cells were the least sensitive to the action of progestins and glucocorticoids but the most sensitive to diclofenac, which showed a pronounced cytotoxic effect with an IC50 of 31 μM. As we have shown earlier, progestins can uniquely modulate MPTP opening via the binding of adenine nucleotide translocase. On this basis, we evaluated the expression of adenylate nucleotide translocase ANT1 (SLC25 A4) as a possible participant in cytotoxic action in these cell lines after 48 h incubation with drugs. The results showed that progestins differently regulated ANT1 expression in different cell lines. Gestobutanoyl had the opposite effect on ANT1 expression in the HeLa, K562, and Wi-38 cells compared with the other progestins. It increased the ANT1 expression more than twofold in the HeLa and K562 cells but had no influence on the Wi-38 cells. Glucocorticoids and diclofenac increased ANT1 expression in the Wi-38 cells and decreased it in the K562, MCF-7, and Hep-2 cells. The modulation of ANT1 expression discovered in our study can be a new explanation of the cytotoxic and cytoprotective effects of hormones, which can vary depending on the cell type. ANT isoforms in normal and cancerous cells could be a new target for steroid hormone and anti-inflammatory drug action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gene and Cell Therapy)
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18 pages, 1724 KiB  
Article
Stability of Naked Nucleic Acids under Physical Treatment and Powder Formation: Suitability for Development as Dry Powder Formulations for Inhalation
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2786; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122786 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 826
Abstract
A number of functional nucleic acids, including plasmid DNA (pDNA) and small interfering RNA (siRNA), have been attracting increasing attention as new therapeutic modalities worldwide. Dry pDNA and siRNA powder formulations for inhalation are considered practical in clinical applications for respiratory diseases. However, [...] Read more.
A number of functional nucleic acids, including plasmid DNA (pDNA) and small interfering RNA (siRNA), have been attracting increasing attention as new therapeutic modalities worldwide. Dry pDNA and siRNA powder formulations for inhalation are considered practical in clinical applications for respiratory diseases. However, physical stresses in the powder-forming process may destabilize nucleic acids, particularly when vectors with stabilizing effects are not used. We herein compare the stability of naked pDNA and siRNA through various physical treatments and two powder-forming processes. The structural and functional integrities of pDNA were markedly reduced via sonication, heating, and atomization, whereas those of siRNA were preserved throughout all of the physical treatments investigated. Spray-dried and spray-freeze-dried powders of siRNA maintained their structural and functional integrities, whereas those of pDNA did not. These results demonstrate that siRNA is more suitable for powder formation in the naked state than pDNA due to its higher stability under physical treatments. Furthermore, a spray-freeze-dried powder with a high content of naked siRNA (12% of the powder) was successfully produced that preserved its structural and functional integrities, achieving high aerosol performance with a fine particle fraction of approximately 40%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Process of Inhaled Drugs)
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20 pages, 7546 KiB  
Article
Using Mesoporous Silica-Based Dual Biomimetic Nano-Erythrocytes for an Improved Antitumor Effect
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2785; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122785 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 669
Abstract
The nano-delivery system with a dual biomimetic effect can penetrate deeper in tumor microenvironments (TMEs) and release sufficient antitumor drugs, which has attracted much attention. In this study, we synthesized erythrocyte-like mesoporous silica nanoparticles (EMSNs) as the core loaded with doxorubicin (DOX) and [...] Read more.
The nano-delivery system with a dual biomimetic effect can penetrate deeper in tumor microenvironments (TMEs) and release sufficient antitumor drugs, which has attracted much attention. In this study, we synthesized erythrocyte-like mesoporous silica nanoparticles (EMSNs) as the core loaded with doxorubicin (DOX) and coated them with calcium phosphate (CaP) and erythrocyte membrane (EM) to obtain DOX/EsPMs. The transmission electron microscopy (TEM), fluorescent co-localization and protein bands of SDS-PAGE were used to confirm the complete fabrication of EsPMs. The EsPMs with erythrocyte-like shape exhibited superior penetration ability in in vitro diffusion and tumor-sphere penetration experiments. Intracellular Ca2+ and ROS detection experiments showed that the CaP membranes of EsPMs with pH-sensitivity could provide Ca2+ continuously to induce reactive oxide species’ (ROS) generation in the TME. The EM as a perfect “camouflaged clothing” which could confuse macrophagocytes into prolonging blood circulation. Hemolysis and non-specific protein adsorption tests proved the desirable biocompatibility of EsPMs. An in vivo pharmacodynamics evaluation showed that the DOX/EsPMs group had a satisfactory tumor-inhibition effect. These advantages of the nano-erythrocytes suggest that by modifying the existing materials to construct a nano-delivery system, nanoparticles will achieve a biomimetic effect from both their structure and function with a facilitated and sufficient drug release profile, which is of great significance for antitumor therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mesoporous Silica for Sustained Drug Release)
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15 pages, 4760 KiB  
Article
Compatibility Study of Peptide and Glycerol Using Chromatographic and Spectroscopic Techniques: Application to a Novel Antimicrobial Peptide Cbf-14 Gel
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2784; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122784 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 587
Abstract
The interactions between active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and excipients may lead to API degradation, thereby affecting the safety and efficacy of drug products. Cbf-14 is a synthetic peptide derived from Cathelicidin-BF, showing potential for bacterial and fungal infections. In order to assess impurities [...] Read more.
The interactions between active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and excipients may lead to API degradation, thereby affecting the safety and efficacy of drug products. Cbf-14 is a synthetic peptide derived from Cathelicidin-BF, showing potential for bacterial and fungal infections. In order to assess impurities in Cbf-14 gel, we developed a two-dimensional liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole/time-of-flight mass spectrometric method. A total of eleven peptide degradation impurities were identified and characterized. Furthermore, the compatibility tests were conducted to evaluate the interactions of Cbf-14 with glycerol and methylcellulose, respectively. The results revealed that the impurities originated from condensation reactions between Cbf-14 and aldehydes caused by glycerol degradation. Several aldehydes were employed to validate this hypothesis. The formation mechanisms were elucidated as Maillard reactions between primary amino groups of Cbf-14 and aldehydes derived from glycerol degradation. Additionally, the compatibility of Cbf-14 with glycerol from different sources and with varying storage times was investigated. Notably, the interaction products in the gel increased with extended storage time, even when fresh glycerol for injection was added. This study offers unique insights into the compatibility study of peptides and glycerol, contributing to the ongoing quality study of Cbf-14 gel. It also serves as a reference for the design of other peptide preparations and excipients selections. Full article
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16 pages, 2785 KiB  
Article
Microwave-Assisted Freeze–Drying: Impact of Microwave Radiation on the Quality of High-Concentration Antibody Formulations
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2783; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122783 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 661
Abstract
Microwave-assisted freeze-drying (MFD) offers significant time savings compared to conventional freeze-drying (CFD). While a few studies have investigated the stability of biopharmaceuticals with low protein concentrations after MFD and storage, the impact of MFD on high-concentration monoclonal antibody (mAb) formulations remains unclear. In [...] Read more.
Microwave-assisted freeze-drying (MFD) offers significant time savings compared to conventional freeze-drying (CFD). While a few studies have investigated the stability of biopharmaceuticals with low protein concentrations after MFD and storage, the impact of MFD on high-concentration monoclonal antibody (mAb) formulations remains unclear. In this study, we systematically examined the effect of protein concentration in MFD and assessed protein stability following MFD, CFD, and subsequent storage using seven protein formulations with various stabilizers and concentrations. We demonstrated that microwaves directly interact with the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), leading to decreased physical stability, specifically aggregation, in high-concentration antibody formulations. Furthermore, typically used sugar:protein ratios from CFD were insufficient for stabilizing mAbs when applying microwaves. We identified the intermediate drying phase as the most critical for particle formation, and cooling the samples provided some protection for the mAb. Our findings suggest that MFD technology may not be universally applicable to formulations well tested in CFD and could be particularly beneficial for formulations with low API concentrations requiring substantial amounts of glass-forming excipients, such as vaccines and RNA-based products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pharmaceutical Freeze Drying and Spray Drying, Volume II)
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13 pages, 770 KiB  
Systematic Review
Impact of Whole-Genome Sequencing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis on Treatment Outcomes for MDR-TB/XDR-TB: A Systematic Review
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2782; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122782 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 849
Abstract
The emergence and persistence of drug-resistant tuberculosis is a major threat to global public health. Our objective was to assess the applicability of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to detect genomic markers of drug resistance and explore their association with treatment outcomes for multidrug-resistant/extensively drug-resistant [...] Read more.
The emergence and persistence of drug-resistant tuberculosis is a major threat to global public health. Our objective was to assess the applicability of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) to detect genomic markers of drug resistance and explore their association with treatment outcomes for multidrug-resistant/extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR/XDR-TB). Methods: Five electronic databases were searched for studies published in English from the year 2000 onward. Two reviewers independently conducted the article screening, relevant data extraction, and quality assessment. The data of the included studies were synthesized with a narrative method and are presented in a tabular format. Results: The database search identified 949 published articles and 8 studies were included. An unfavorable treatment outcome was reported for 26.6% (488/1834) of TB cases, which ranged from 9.7 to 51.3%. Death was reported in 10.5% (194/1834) of total cases. High-level fluoroquinolone resistance (due to gyrA 94AAC and 94GGC mutations) was correlated as the cause of unfavorable treatment outcomes and reported in three studies. Other drug resistance mutations, like kanamycin high-level resistance mutations (rrs 1401G), rpoB Ile491Phe, and ethA mutations, conferring prothionamide resistance were also reported. The secondary findings from this systematic review involved laboratory aspects of WGS, including correlations with phenotypic DST, cost, and turnaround time, or the impact of WGS results on public health actions, such as determining transmission events within outbreaks. Conclusions: WGS has a significant capacity to provide accurate and comprehensive drug resistance data for MDR/XDR-TB, which can inform personalized drug therapy to optimize treatment outcomes. Full article
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17 pages, 4085 KiB  
Article
Charge-Complementary Polymersomes for Enhanced mRNA Delivery
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2781; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122781 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 824
Abstract
Messenger RNA (mRNA) therapies have emerged as potent and personalized alternatives to conventional DNA-based therapies. However, their therapeutic potential is frequently constrained by their molecular instability, susceptibility to degradation, and inefficient cellular delivery. This study presents the nanoparticle “ChargeSome” as a novel solution. [...] Read more.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) therapies have emerged as potent and personalized alternatives to conventional DNA-based therapies. However, their therapeutic potential is frequently constrained by their molecular instability, susceptibility to degradation, and inefficient cellular delivery. This study presents the nanoparticle “ChargeSome” as a novel solution. ChargeSomes are designed to protect mRNAs from degradation by ribonucleases (RNases) and enable cell uptake, allowing mRNAs to reach the cytoplasm for protein expression via endosome escape. We evaluated the physicochemical properties of ChargeSomes using 1H nuclear magnetic resonance, Fourier-transform infrared, and dynamic light scattering. ChargeSomes formulated with a 9:1 ratio of mPEG-b-PLL to mPEG-b-PLL-SA demonstrated superior cell uptake and mRNA delivery efficiency. These ChargeSomes demonstrated minimal cytotoxicity in various in vitro structures, suggesting their potential safety for therapeutic applications. Inherent pH sensitivity enables precise mRNA release in acidic environments and structurally protects the encapsulated mRNA from external threats. Their design led to endosome rupture and efficient mRNA release into the cytoplasm by the proton sponge effect in acidic endosome environments. In conclusion, ChargeSomes have the potential to serve as effective secure mRNA delivery systems. Their combination of stability, protection, and delivery efficiency makes them promising tools for the advancement of mRNA-based therapeutics and vaccines. Full article
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15 pages, 24498 KiB  
Article
Surface Modification of Titanate Nanotubes with a Carboxylic Arm for Further Functionalization Intended to Pharmaceutical Applications
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2780; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122780 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 928
Abstract
Nanotechnology is playing a significant role in modern life with tremendous potential and promising results in almost every domain, especially the pharmaceutical one. The impressive performance of nanomaterials is shaping the future of science and revolutionizing the traditional concepts of industry and research. [...] Read more.
Nanotechnology is playing a significant role in modern life with tremendous potential and promising results in almost every domain, especially the pharmaceutical one. The impressive performance of nanomaterials is shaping the future of science and revolutionizing the traditional concepts of industry and research. Titanate nanotubes (TNTs) are one of these novel entities that became an appropriate choice to apply in several platforms due to their remarkable properties such as preparation simplicity, high stability, good biocompatibility, affordability and low toxicity. Surface modification of these nanotubes is also promoting their superior characters and contributing more to the enhancement of their performance. In this research work, an attempt was made to functionalize the surface of titanate nanotubes with carboxylic groups to increase their surface reactivity and widen the possibility of bonding different molecules that could not be bonded directly. Three carboxylic acids were investigated (trichloroacetic acid, citric acid and acrylic acid), and the prepared composites were examined using FT-IR and Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). The toxicity of these functionalized TNTs was also investigated using adherent cancer cell lines and fibroblasts to determine their safety profile and to draw the basic lines for their intended future application. Based on the experimental results, acrylic acid could be the suitable choice for permanent surface modification with multiple carboxylic groups due to its possibility to be polymerized, thus presenting the opportunity to link additional molecules of interest such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) and/or other molecules at the same time. Full article
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20 pages, 4239 KiB  
Article
Self-Penetrating Oligonucleotide Derivatives: Features of Self-Assembly and Interactions with Serum and Intracellular Proteins
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2779; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122779 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 949
Abstract
Lipophilic oligonucleotide derivatives are a potent approach to the intracellular delivery of nucleic acids. The binding of these derivatives to serum albumin is a determinant of their fate in the body, as its structure contains several sites of high affinity for hydrophobic compounds. [...] Read more.
Lipophilic oligonucleotide derivatives are a potent approach to the intracellular delivery of nucleic acids. The binding of these derivatives to serum albumin is a determinant of their fate in the body, as its structure contains several sites of high affinity for hydrophobic compounds. This study focuses on the features of self-association and non-covalent interactions with human serum albumin of novel self-penetrating oligonucleotide derivatives. The study revealed that the introduction of a triazinyl phosphoramidate modification bearing two dodecyl groups at the 3′ end region of the oligonucleotide sequence has a negligible effect on its affinity for the complementary sequence. Dynamic light scattering verified that the amphiphilic oligonucleotides under study can self-assemble into micelle-like particles ranging from 8 to 15 nm in size. The oligonucleotides with dodecyl groups form stable complexes with human serum albumin with a dissociation constant of approximately 10−6 M. The oligonucleotide micelles are simultaneously destroyed upon binding to albumin. Using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay and affinity modification, we examined the ability of DNA duplexes containing triazinyl phosphoramidate oligonucleotides to interact with Ku antigen and PARP1, as well as the mutual influence of PARP1 and albumin or Ku antigen and albumin upon interaction with DNA duplexes. These findings, together with the capability of dodecyl-containing derivatives to effectively penetrate different cells, such as HEK293 and T98G, indicate that the oligonucleotides under study can be considered as a platform for the development of therapeutic preparations with a target effect. Full article
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12 pages, 2080 KiB  
Article
Pre-Clinical Investigations of the Pharmacodynamics of Immunogenic Smart Radiotherapy Biomaterials (iSRB)
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2778; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122778 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 984
Abstract
The use of an immunogenic smart radiotherapy biomaterial (iSRB) for the delivery of anti-CD40 is effective in treating different cancers in animal models. This study further characterizes the use of iSRBs to evaluate any associated toxicity in healthy C57BL6 mice. iSRBs were fabricated [...] Read more.
The use of an immunogenic smart radiotherapy biomaterial (iSRB) for the delivery of anti-CD40 is effective in treating different cancers in animal models. This study further characterizes the use of iSRBs to evaluate any associated toxicity in healthy C57BL6 mice. iSRBs were fabricated using a poly-lactic-co-glycolic-acid (PLGA) polymer mixed with titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles incorporated into its matrix. Animal studies included investigations of freely injected anti-CD40, anti-CD40-loaded iSRBs, unloaded iSRBs and control (healthy) animal cohorts. Mice were euthanized at pre-determined time points post-treatment to evaluate the serum chemistry pertaining to kidney and liver toxicity and cell blood count parameters, as well as pathology reports on organs of interest. Results showed comparable liver and kidney function in all cohorts. The results indicate that using iSRBs with or without anti-CD40 does not result in any significant toxicity compared to healthy untreated animals. The findings provide a useful reference for further studies aimed at optimizing the therapeutic efficacy and safety of iSRBs and further clinical translation work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics)
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31 pages, 21784 KiB  
Review
Inhaled Medicines for Targeting Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2777; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122777 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1338
Abstract
Throughout the years, considerable progress has been made in methods for delivering drugs directly to the lungs, which offers enhanced precision in targeting specific lung regions. Currently, for treatment of lung cancer, the prevalent routes for drug administration are oral and parenteral. These [...] Read more.
Throughout the years, considerable progress has been made in methods for delivering drugs directly to the lungs, which offers enhanced precision in targeting specific lung regions. Currently, for treatment of lung cancer, the prevalent routes for drug administration are oral and parenteral. These methods, while effective, often come with side effects including hair loss, nausea, vomiting, susceptibility to infections, and bleeding. Direct drug delivery to the lungs presents a range of advantages. Notably, it can significantly reduce or even eliminate these side effects and provide more accurate targeting of malignancies. This approach is especially beneficial for treating conditions like lung cancer and various respiratory diseases. However, the journey towards perfecting inhaled drug delivery systems has not been without its challenges, primarily due to the complex structure and functions of the respiratory tract. This comprehensive review will investigate delivery strategies that target lung cancer, specifically focusing on non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC)—a predominant variant of lung cancer. Within the scope of this review, active and passive targeting techniques are covered which highlight the roles of advanced tools like nanoparticles and lipid carriers. Furthermore, this review will shed light on the potential synergies of combining inhalation therapy with other treatment approaches, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The goal is to determine how these combinations might amplify therapeutic results, optimizing patient outcomes and overall well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drug Delivery and Controlled Release)
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17 pages, 1253 KiB  
Article
A Photoactive Supramolecular Complex Targeting PD-L1 Reveals a Weak Correlation between Photoactivation Efficiency and Receptor Expression Levels in Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer Tumor Models
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2776; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122776 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 802
Abstract
Photo-immunotherapy uses antibodies conjugated to photosensitizers to produce nanostructured constructs endowed with targeting properties and photo-inactivation capabilities towards tumor cells. The superficial receptor density on cancer cells is considered a determining factor for the efficacy of the photodynamic treatment. In this work, we [...] Read more.
Photo-immunotherapy uses antibodies conjugated to photosensitizers to produce nanostructured constructs endowed with targeting properties and photo-inactivation capabilities towards tumor cells. The superficial receptor density on cancer cells is considered a determining factor for the efficacy of the photodynamic treatment. In this work, we propose the use of a photoactive conjugate that consists of the clinical grade PD-L1-binding monoclonal antibody Atezolizumab, covalently linked to either the well-known photosensitizer eosin or the fluorescent probe Alexa647. Using single-molecule localization microscopy (direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy, dSTORM), and an anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody labelled with Alexa647, we quantified the density of PD-L1 receptors exposed on the cell surface in two human non-small-cell lung cancer lines (H322 and A549) expressing PD-L1 to a different level. We then investigated if this value correlates with the effectiveness of the photodynamic treatment. The photodynamic treatment of H322 and A549 with the photo-immunoconjugate demonstrated its potential for PDT treatments, but the efficacy did not correlate with the PD-L1 expression levels. Our results provide additional evidence that receptor density does not determine a priori the level of photo-induced cell death. Full article
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16 pages, 1660 KiB  
Review
Biological Activity of Fermented Plant Extracts for Potential Dermal Applications
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2775; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122775 - 14 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1136
Abstract
Fermented plant extracts (FPEs) are functional liquids formed as a result of the fermentation of fresh plants by microorganisms, mainly bacteria and fungi. The appropriate selection of plants, microorganism strains, and conditions under which the fermentation process is carried out is very important [...] Read more.
Fermented plant extracts (FPEs) are functional liquids formed as a result of the fermentation of fresh plants by microorganisms, mainly bacteria and fungi. The appropriate selection of plants, microorganism strains, and conditions under which the fermentation process is carried out is very important in terms of obtaining a suitable matrix of biologically active compounds with different biological properties. The purpose of this review is to provide verified data on the current knowledge acquired regarding the biological activity of FPEs for cosmetic use and dermal applications. The antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-melanogenic, and wound-healing activity of FPEs, as well as their potential dermal applications, will be described. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Natural Products for Cutaneous Application)
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12 pages, 1652 KiB  
Article
Enhancing T Cell and Antibody Response in Mucin-1 Transgenic Mice through Co-Delivery of Tumor-Associated Mucin-1 Antigen and TLR Agonists in C3-Liposomes
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2774; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122774 - 14 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 797
Abstract
Mucin-1 (MUC1) is a highly relevant antigen for cancer vaccination due to its overexpression and hypo-glycosylation in a high percentage of carcinomas. To enhance the immune response to MUC1, our group has developed C3-liposomes that encapsulate the MUC1 antigen along with immunostimulatory compounds [...] Read more.
Mucin-1 (MUC1) is a highly relevant antigen for cancer vaccination due to its overexpression and hypo-glycosylation in a high percentage of carcinomas. To enhance the immune response to MUC1, our group has developed C3-liposomes that encapsulate the MUC1 antigen along with immunostimulatory compounds for direct delivery to antigen-presenting cells (APCs). C3-liposomes bind complement C3, which interacts with C3-receptors on APCs, resulting in liposomal uptake and the delivery of tumor antigens to APCs in a manner that mimics pathogenic uptake. In this study, MUC1 and Toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists were encapsulated in C3-liposomes to provoke an immune response in transgenic mice tolerant to MUC1. The immune response to the C3-bound MUC1 liposomal vaccine was assessed by ELISA, ELISpot, and flow cytometry. Co-administering TLR 7/8 agonists with MUC1 encapsulated in C3-liposomes resulted in a significant antibody response compared to non-encapsulated MUC1. This antibody response was significantly higher in females than in males. The co-encapsulation of three TLR agonists with MUC1 in C3-liposomes significantly increased antibody responses and eliminated sex-based differences. Furthermore, this immunization strategy resulted in a significantly increased T cell-response compared to other treatment groups. In conclusion, the co-delivery of MUC1 and TLR agonists via C3-liposomes greatly enhances the immune response to MUC1, highlighting its potential for antigen-specific cancer immunotherapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liposomal and Lipid-Based Drug Delivery Systems and Vaccines)
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17 pages, 795 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Efficacy and Safety of Intranasal Formulations of Ketamine and Esketamine for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder: A Systematic Review
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2773; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122773 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 896
Abstract
Ketamine and its enantiomers represent an innovative glutamatergic agent as a treatment for individuals with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) with suicidal ideation and behavior. Intranasal (IN) formulations could allow for quick onset of action on depressive symptoms as well [...] Read more.
Ketamine and its enantiomers represent an innovative glutamatergic agent as a treatment for individuals with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) with suicidal ideation and behavior. Intranasal (IN) formulations could allow for quick onset of action on depressive symptoms as well as a reduction in side effects by bypassing the blood–brain barrier compared with administration via the intravenous route. The aim of this review was to provide an up-to-date analysis of the data on the efficacy and safety of IN ketamine and IN esketamine for the treatment of MDD. A systematic review following PRISMA guidelines was conducted. Databases (PubMed, Embase, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar) were searched to capture articles about IN ketamine or IN esketamine for MDD. This systematic review highlighted the interest in IN routes of ketamine and esketamine for MDD patients with TRD or active suicidal ideation. They provide a rapid onset of antidepressant action within the first hours after administration. Nevertheless, the evidence of efficacy is stronger for IN esketamine than for IN ketamine in MDD patients. The safety profile appears to be acceptable for IN esketamine but requires further studies, and a more accurate IN delivery device is required for ketamine. Full article
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12 pages, 3034 KiB  
Article
IDF-11774 Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis by Inhibiting HIF-1α in Gastric Cancer
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2772; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122772 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 710
Abstract
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) is a regulatory factor of intracellular oxygen supersession. The expression or increased activity of HIF-1α is closely related to various human cancers. Previously, IDF-11774 was demonstrated to inhibit HSP70 chaperone activity and suppress the accumulation of HIF-1α. In this [...] Read more.
Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) is a regulatory factor of intracellular oxygen supersession. The expression or increased activity of HIF-1α is closely related to various human cancers. Previously, IDF-11774 was demonstrated to inhibit HSP70 chaperone activity and suppress the accumulation of HIF-1α. In this study, we aimed to determine the effects of IDF-11774 on gastric cancer cell lines. Treatment with IDF-11774 was found to markedly decrease the proliferation, migration, and invasion of the gastric cancer cell lines. Furthermore, the phosphorylation levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2, p38, and Jun N-terminal kinase in the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways were markedly increased in a dose-dependent manner, ultimately promoting apoptosis via the induction of cell cycle arrest. Our findings indicate that HIF-1α inhibitors are potent drugs for the treatment of gastric cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drug Delivery and Controlled Release)
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27 pages, 5062 KiB  
Review
Extracellular Matrices as Bioactive Materials for In Situ Tissue Regeneration
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2771; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122771 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 760
Abstract
Bioactive materials based on a nature-derived extracellular matrix (NECM) represent a category of biomedical devices with versatile therapeutic applications in the realms of tissue repair and engineering. With advancements in decellularization technique, the inherent bioactive molecules and the innate nano-structural and mechanical properties [...] Read more.
Bioactive materials based on a nature-derived extracellular matrix (NECM) represent a category of biomedical devices with versatile therapeutic applications in the realms of tissue repair and engineering. With advancements in decellularization technique, the inherent bioactive molecules and the innate nano-structural and mechanical properties are preserved in three-dimensional scaffolds mainly composed of collagens. Techniques such as electrospinning, three-dimensional printing, and the intricate fabrication of hydrogels are developed to mimic the physical structures, biosignalling and mechanical cues of ECM. Until now, there has been no approach that can fully account for the multifaceted properties and diverse applications of NECM. In this review, we introduce the main proteins composing NECMs and explicate the importance of them when used as therapeutic devices in tissue repair. Nano-structural features of NECM and their applications regarding tissue repair are summarized. The origins, degradability, and mechanical property of and immune responses to NECM are also introduced. Furthermore, we review their applications, and clinical features thereof, in the repair of acute and chronic wounds, abdominal hernia, breast deformity, etc. Some typical marketed devices based on NECM, their indications, and clinical relevance are summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bionanomaterials: Fascinating Materials for Biomedical Applications)
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26 pages, 5834 KiB  
Review
Cell Membrane Biomimetic Nano-Delivery Systems for Cancer Therapy
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2770; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122770 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1031
Abstract
Nano-delivery systems have demonstrated great promise in the therapy of cancer. However, the therapeutic efficacy of conventional nanomedicines is hindered by the clearance of the blood circulation system and the physiological barriers surrounding the tumor. Inspired by the unique capabilities of cells within [...] Read more.
Nano-delivery systems have demonstrated great promise in the therapy of cancer. However, the therapeutic efficacy of conventional nanomedicines is hindered by the clearance of the blood circulation system and the physiological barriers surrounding the tumor. Inspired by the unique capabilities of cells within the body, such as immune evasion, prolonged circulation, and tumor-targeting, there has been a growing interest in developing cell membrane biomimetic nanomedicine delivery systems. Cell membrane modification on nanoparticle surfaces can prolong circulation time, activate tumor-targeting, and ultimately improve the efficacy of cancer treatment. It shows excellent development potential. This review will focus on the advancements in various cell membrane nano-drug delivery systems for cancer therapy and the obstacles encountered during clinical implementation. It is hoped that such discussions will inspire the development of cell membrane biomimetic nanomedical systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanosystems for Drug Delivery)
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21 pages, 4636 KiB  
Article
Antiviral Activity and Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Hops Compounds against Oropouche Virus (Peribunyaviridae)
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2769; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122769 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 780
Abstract
The Oropouche virus (OROV) is a member of the family Peribunyaviridae (order Bunyavirales) and the cause of a dengue-like febrile illness transmitted mainly by biting midges and mosquitoes. In this study, we aimed to explore acylphloroglucinols and xanthohumol from hops (Humulus [...] Read more.
The Oropouche virus (OROV) is a member of the family Peribunyaviridae (order Bunyavirales) and the cause of a dengue-like febrile illness transmitted mainly by biting midges and mosquitoes. In this study, we aimed to explore acylphloroglucinols and xanthohumol from hops (Humulus lupulus L.) as a promising alternative for antiviral therapies. The evaluation of the inhibitory potential of hops compounds on the viral cycle of OROV was performed through two complementary approaches. The first approach applies cell-based assay post-inoculation experiments to explore the inhibitory potential on the latest steps of the viral cycle, such as genome translation, replication, virion assembly, and virion release from the cells. The second part covers in silico methods evaluating the ability of those compounds to inhibit the activity of the endonuclease domain, which is essential for transcription, binding, and cleaving RNA. In conclusion, the beta acids showed strongest inhibitory potential in post-treatment assay (EC50 = 26.7 µg/mL). Xanthohumol had the highest affinity for OROV endonuclease followed by colupulone and cohumulone. This result contrasts with that observed for docking and MM/PBSA analysis, where cohumulone was found to have a higher affinity. Finally, among the three tested ligands, Lys92 and Arg33 exhibited the highest affinity with the protein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biologics and Biosimilars)
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30 pages, 6548 KiB  
Review
Synthesis, Pharmacological Properties, and Potential Molecular Mechanisms of Antitumor Activity of Betulin and Its Derivatives in Gastrointestinal Cancers
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2768; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122768 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 904
Abstract
Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are an increasingly common type of malignancy, caused by the unhealthy lifestyles of people worldwide. Limited methods of treatment have prompted the search for new compounds with antitumor activity, in which betulin (BE) is leading the way. BE as a [...] Read more.
Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are an increasingly common type of malignancy, caused by the unhealthy lifestyles of people worldwide. Limited methods of treatment have prompted the search for new compounds with antitumor activity, in which betulin (BE) is leading the way. BE as a compound is classified as a pentacyclic triterpene of the lupane type, having three highly reactive moieties in its structure. Its mechanism of action is based on the inhibition of key components of signaling pathways associated with proliferation, migration, interleukins, and others. BE also has a number of biological properties, i.e., anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, as well as antitumor. Due to its poor bioavailability, betulin is subjected to chemical modifications, obtaining derivatives with proven enhanced pharmacological and pharmacokinetic properties as a result. The method of synthesis and substituents significantly influence the effect on cells and GI cancers. Moreover, the cytotoxic effect is highly dependent on the derivative as well as the individual cell line. The aim of this study is to review the methods of synthesis of BE and its derivatives, as well as its pharmacological properties and molecular mechanisms of action in colorectal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, gastric cancer, and esophageal cancer neoplasms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promising Small Molecule Compounds in Cancer Treatment)
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17 pages, 1788 KiB  
Review
Microneedle-Mediated Transdermal Delivery of Genetic Materials, Stem Cells, and Secretome: An Update and Progression
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2767; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122767 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1173
Abstract
Medical practitioners commonly use oral and parenteral dosage forms to administer drugs to patients. However, these forms have certain drawbacks, particularly concerning patients’ comfort and compliance. Transdermal drug delivery presents a promising solution to address these issues. Nevertheless, the stratum corneum, as [...] Read more.
Medical practitioners commonly use oral and parenteral dosage forms to administer drugs to patients. However, these forms have certain drawbacks, particularly concerning patients’ comfort and compliance. Transdermal drug delivery presents a promising solution to address these issues. Nevertheless, the stratum corneum, as the outermost skin layer, can impede drug permeation, especially for macromolecules, genetic materials, stem cells, and secretome. Microneedles, a dosage form for transdermal delivery, offer an alternative approach, particularly for biopharmaceutical products. In this review, the authors will examine the latest research on microneedle formulations designed to deliver genetic materials, stem cells, and their derivatives. Numerous studies have explored different types of microneedles and evaluated their ability to deliver these products using preclinical models. Some of these investigations have compared microneedles with conventional dosage forms, demonstrating their significant potential for advancing the development of biotherapeutics in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microarray Patches for Transdermal Drug Delivery)
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30 pages, 1472 KiB  
Review
Unveiling the Pain Relief Potential: Harnessing Analgesic Peptides from Animal Venoms
Pharmaceutics 2023, 15(12), 2766; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics15122766 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 849
Abstract
The concept of pain encompasses a complex interplay of sensory and emotional experiences associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Accurately describing and localizing pain, whether acute or chronic, mild or severe, poses a challenge due to its diverse manifestations. Understanding the underlying [...] Read more.
The concept of pain encompasses a complex interplay of sensory and emotional experiences associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Accurately describing and localizing pain, whether acute or chronic, mild or severe, poses a challenge due to its diverse manifestations. Understanding the underlying origins and mechanisms of these pain variations is crucial for effective management and pharmacological interventions. Derived from a wide spectrum of species, including snakes, arthropods, mollusks, and vertebrates, animal venoms have emerged as abundant repositories of potential biomolecules exhibiting analgesic properties across a broad spectrum of pain models. This review focuses on highlighting the most promising venom-derived toxins investigated as potential prototypes for analgesic drugs. The discussion further encompasses research prospects, challenges in advancing analgesics, and the practical application of venom-derived toxins. As the field continues its evolution, tapping into the latent potential of these natural bioactive compounds holds the key to pioneering approaches in pain management and treatment. Therefore, animal toxins present countless possibilities for treating pain caused by different diseases. The development of new analgesic drugs from toxins is one of the directions that therapy must follow, and it seems to be moving forward by recommending the composition of multimodal therapy to combat pain. Full article
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