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Special Issue "Recent Advances in Precision Nanomedicine for Cancer"

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Medicinal Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Fabio Pastorino
Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Experimental Therapy in Oncology, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Via Giannina Gaslini 5, 16147 Genoa, Italy
Interests: drug delivery; nanocarriers; targeted therapy; tumor targeting; tumor vascular targeting; translation therapy; neuroblastoma
Dr. Chiara Brignole
Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Experimental Therapy in Oncology, IRCCS Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Via Giannina Gaslini 5, 16147 Genoa, Italy
Interests: drug delivery; nanocarriers; targeted therapy; tumor microenvironment; macrophages modulation in cancer; 3D-based tumor models; neuroblastoma

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for about 9.6 million deaths in 2018. The percentage of mortality, mainly due to the lack of a timely diagnosis or to chemotherapy-driven side effects, remains challenging today. Nanoparticle-based precision medicine represents a very attractive tool, as it able to shape the prevention, diagnosis, and therapy of oncological diseases based on the characteristics of an individual or of a limited group of patients. This Special Issue aims to provide a forum for the dissemination of the latest information on new approaches and methods for the prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer, based on precision nanomedicine.

Dr. Fabio Pastorino
Dr. Chiara Brignole
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Precision medicine
  • Nanomedicine
  • Biomarkers
  • Diagnosis
  • Anti-cancer therapy
  • Theragnostic strategy
  • Targeted anti-cancer therapy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Two Sides to the Same Coin—Cytotoxicity vs. Potential Metastatic Activity of AgNPs Relative to Triple-Negative Human Breast Cancer MDA-MB-436 Cells
Molecules 2020, 25(10), 2375; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25102375 - 20 May 2020
Abstract
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are used in many fields of industry and medicine. Despite the well-established antimicrobial activity, AgNPs are foreseen to be used as anticancer drugs due to the unusual feature—inability to induce drug resistance in cancer cells. The aim of the study [...] Read more.
Silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are used in many fields of industry and medicine. Despite the well-established antimicrobial activity, AgNPs are foreseen to be used as anticancer drugs due to the unusual feature—inability to induce drug resistance in cancer cells. The aim of the study was to assess biological activity of AgNPs against MDA-MB-436 cells. The cells were derived from triple-negative breast cancer, a type of breast cancer with poor prognosis and is particularly difficult to cure. AgNPs were toxic to MDA-MB-436 cells and the probable mechanism of toxicity was the induction of oxidative stress. These promising effects, giving the opportunity to use AgNPs as an anti-cancer agent should, however, be treated with caution in the light of further results. Namely, the treatment of MDA-MB-436 cells with AgNPs was associated with the increased secretion of several cytokines and chemokines, which were important in breast cancer metastasis. Finally, changes in the actin cytoskeleton of MDA-MB-436 cells under the influence of AgNPs treatment were also observed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Precision Nanomedicine for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
A Unique Gene-Silencing Approach, Using an Intelligent RNA Expression Device (iRed), Results in Minimal Immune Stimulation When Given by Local Intrapleural Injection in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma
Molecules 2020, 25(7), 1725; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25071725 - 09 Apr 2020
Abstract
Background: We have recently introduced an intelligent RNA expression device (iRed), comprising the minimum essential components needed to transcribe short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in cells. Use of iRed efficiently produced shRNA molecules after transfection into cells and alleviated the innate immune stimulation following [...] Read more.
Background: We have recently introduced an intelligent RNA expression device (iRed), comprising the minimum essential components needed to transcribe short hairpin RNA (shRNA) in cells. Use of iRed efficiently produced shRNA molecules after transfection into cells and alleviated the innate immune stimulation following intravenous injection. Methods: To study the usefulness of iRed for local injection, the engineered iRed encoding luciferase shRNA (Luc iRed), complexed with cationic liposomes (Luc iRed/liposome-complexes), was intrapleurally injected into an orthotopic mesothelioma mouse model. Results: Luc iRed/liposome-complexes markedly suppressed the expression of a luciferase marker gene in pleurally disseminated mesothelioma cells. The suppressive efficiency was correlated with the expression level of shRNA within the mesothelioma cells. In addition, intrapleural injection of iRed/liposome-complexes did not induce IL-6 production in the pleural space and consequently in the blood compartment, although plasmid DNA (pDNA) or dsDNA (the natural construct for iRed) in the formulation did. Conclusion: Local delivery of iRed could augment the in vivo gene silencing effect without eliciting pronounced innate immune stimulation. Our results might hold promise for widespread utilization of iRed as an RNAi-based therapeutic for intracelial malignant cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Precision Nanomedicine for Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Encapsulation of Variabilin in Stearic Acid Solid Lipid Nanoparticles Enhances Its Anticancer Activity in Vitro
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25040830 - 14 Feb 2020
Abstract
The use of natural products as chemotherapeutic agents is well established; however, many of these are associated with undesirable side effects, including high toxicity and instability. Furthermore, the development of drug resistant cancers makes the search for new anticancer lead compounds a priority. [...] Read more.
The use of natural products as chemotherapeutic agents is well established; however, many of these are associated with undesirable side effects, including high toxicity and instability. Furthermore, the development of drug resistant cancers makes the search for new anticancer lead compounds a priority. In this study, the extraction of an Ircinia sp. sponge resulted in the isolation of an inseparable mixture of (7E,12E,20Z)-variabilin (1) and (7E,12Z,20Z)-variabilin (2) and structural assignment was established using standard 1D and 2D NMR experiments. The cytotoxic activity of the compound against three solid tumour cell lines displayed moderate anti-cancer activity through apoptosis, together with a general lack of selectivity among the cancer cell lines studied. Structural assignment and cytotoxic evaluation of variabilin was complicated and further aggravated by its inherent instability. Variabilin was therefore incorporated into solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) and the stability and cytotoxic activity evaluated. Encapsulation of variabilin into SLNs led to a marked improvement in stability of the natural product coupled with enhanced cytotoxic activity, particularly against the prostate (PC-3) cancer cell line, with IC50 values of 87.74 μM vs. 8.94 μM for the variabilin alone and Var-SLN, respectively. Both variabilin and Var-SLN revealed comparable activity to Ceramide against the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line, revealing IC50 values of 34.8, 38.1 and 33.6 μM for variabilin, Var-SLN and Ceramide, respectively. These samples revealed no activity (>100 μM for all) against HT-29 (colon) cell lines and MCF-12 (normal breast) cell lines. Var-SLNs induced 47, 48 and 59% of apoptosis in HT-29, MCF-7 and PC-3 cells, respectively, while variabilin alone revealed 38, 29 and 29% apoptotic cells for HT-29, MCF-7 and PC-3 cell lines, respectively. The encapsulation of natural products into SLNs may provide a promising approach to overcome some of the issues hindering the development of new anticancer drugs from natural products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Precision Nanomedicine for Cancer)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Phage Display-Based Nanotechnology Applications in Cancer Immunotherapy
Molecules 2020, 25(4), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25040843 - 14 Feb 2020
Abstract
Phage display is a nanotechnology with limitless potential, first developed in 1985 and still awaiting to reach its peak. Awarded in 2018 with the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, the method allows the isolation of high-affinity ligands for diverse substrates, ranging from recombinant proteins [...] Read more.
Phage display is a nanotechnology with limitless potential, first developed in 1985 and still awaiting to reach its peak. Awarded in 2018 with the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, the method allows the isolation of high-affinity ligands for diverse substrates, ranging from recombinant proteins to cells, organs, even whole organisms. Personalized therapeutic approaches, particularly in oncology, depend on the identification of new, unique, and functional targets that phage display, through its various declinations, can certainly provide. A fast-evolving branch in cancer research, immunotherapy is now experiencing a second youth after being overlooked for years; indeed, many reports support the concept of immunotherapy as the only non-surgical cure for cancer, at least in some settings. In this review, we describe literature reports on the application of peptide phage display to cancer immunotherapy. In particular, we discuss three main outcomes of this procedure: (i) phage display-derived peptides that mimic cancer antigens (mimotopes) and (ii) antigen-carrying phage particles, both as prophylactic and/or therapeutic vaccines, and (iii) phage display-derived peptides as small-molecule effectors of immune cell functions. Preclinical studies demonstrate the efficacy and vast potential of these nanosized tools, and their clinical application is on the way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Precision Nanomedicine for Cancer)
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Open AccessReview
Nanomedicine and Immunotherapy: A Step Further towards Precision Medicine for Glioblastoma
Molecules 2020, 25(3), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25030490 - 23 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Owing to the advancement of technology combined with our deeper knowledge of human nature and diseases, we are able to move towards precision medicine, where patients are treated at the individual level in concordance with their genetic profiles. Lately, the integration of nanoparticles [...] Read more.
Owing to the advancement of technology combined with our deeper knowledge of human nature and diseases, we are able to move towards precision medicine, where patients are treated at the individual level in concordance with their genetic profiles. Lately, the integration of nanoparticles in biotechnology and their applications in medicine has allowed us to diagnose and treat disease better and more precisely. As a model disease, we used a grade IV malignant brain tumor (glioblastoma). Significant improvements in diagnosis were achieved with the application of fluorescent nanoparticles for intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), allowing for improved tumor cell visibility and increasing the extent of the surgical resection, leading to better patient response. Fluorescent probes can be engineered to be activated through different molecular pathways, which will open the path to individualized glioblastoma diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Nanoparticles are also extensively studied as nanovehicles for targeted delivery and more controlled medication release, and some nanomedicines are already in early phases of clinical trials. Moreover, sampling biological fluids will give new insights into glioblastoma pathogenesis due to the presence of extracellular vesicles, circulating tumor cells, and circulating tumor DNA. As current glioblastoma therapy does not provide good quality of life for patients, other approaches such as immunotherapy are explored. To conclude, we reason that development of personalized therapies based on a patient’s genetic signature combined with pharmacogenomics and immunogenomic information will significantly change the outcome of glioblastoma patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Precision Nanomedicine for Cancer)
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