New connections: Therapeutic nanoparticles

Sci. Signal.  21 Jun 2016:
Vol. 9, Issue 433, pp. ec147
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aah3811

Nanoparticles can be made of various molecules or elements and can be used both as therapeutic delivery systems and as experimental tools. In this week’s issue, Yeste et al. describe the generation and application of gold nanoparticles coated with a ligand to induce dendritic cells of the immune system to promote tolerance, a peptide of unprocessed insulin, and a glycan coating to improve stability. When delivered to mice that are a model for type 1 diabetes, these nanoparticles retrained the immune system to be tolerogenic toward the insulin-producing pancreas and reduced disease severity. Morton et al. used lipid-based nanoparticles to encapsulate two anticancer drugs for timed delivery. The drug released first from within the lipid bilayer triggered rewiring of the cancer cells’ signaling pathways such that the cells were more sensitive to the cytotoxic effects of the drug encapsulated in the aqueous center of the liposome, which was released after the first drug. Xenografted tumors regressed in mice receiving the nanoparticles, showing the value of this strategy for staggered delivery of combination therapies. Thus, these papers show the diversity of nanoparticle composition, which expands their potential utility for delivering treatments for different types of diseases.

A. Yeste, M. C. Takenaka, I. D. Mascanfroni, M. Nadeau, J. E. Kenison, B. Patel, A.-M. Tukpah, J. A. B. Babon, M. DeNicola, S. C. Kent, D. Pozo, F. J. Quintana, Tolerogenic nanoparticles inhibit T cell–mediated autoimmunity through SOCS2. Sci. Signal. 9, ra61 (2016). [Abstract]

S. W. Morton, M. J. Lee, Z. J. Deng, E. C. Dreaden, E. Siouve, K. E. Shopsowitz, N. J. Shah, M. B. Yaffe, P. T. Hammond, A nanoparticle-based combination chemotherapy delivery system for enhanced tumor killing by dynamic rewiring of signaling pathways. Sci. Signal. 7, ra44 (2014). [Abstract]