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Mol Ther. 2016 Apr;24(4):759-69. doi: 10.1038/mt.2015.225. Epub 2015 Dec 21.

Combination wt-p53 and MicroRNA-125b Transfection in a Genetically Engineered Lung Cancer Model Using Dual CD44/EGFR-targeting Nanoparticles.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Bouve College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Current address: Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Nova Southeastern University, Davie, Florida, USA.


Mutations in KRAS and p53 signaling pathways contribute to loss of responsiveness to current therapies and a decreased survival in lung cancer. In this study, we have investigated the delivery and transfection of wild-type (wt-) p53 and microRNA-125b (miR-125b) expressing plasmid DNA, in SK-LU-1 human lung adenocarcinoma cells as well as in Kras(G12D)/p53(fl/fl) (KP) genetically engineered mouse model of lung cancer. Systemic plasmid DNA delivery with dual CD44/EGFR-targeted hyaluronic acid (HA)-based nanoparticles (NPs) resulted in a 2- to 20-fold increase in wt-p53 and miR-125b gene expression in SK-LU-1 cells. This resulted in enhanced apoptotic activity as seen with increased APAF-1 and caspase-3 gene expression. Similarly, in vivo evaluations in KP mouse model indicated successful CD44/EGFR-targeted delivery. Tumor growth inhibition and apoptotic induction were also observed with (wt-p53+miR125b) combination therapy in KP tumor model. Lastly, J774.A1 murine macrophages co-cultured with transfected SK-LU-1 cells showed a 14- to 35-fold increase in the iNOS-Arg-1 ratio, supportive of previous results demonstrating a role of miR-125b in macrophage repolarization. Overall, these results show tremendous promise of wt-p53 and miR-125b gene therapy using dual CD44/EGFR-targeting HA NP vector for effective treatment of lung cancer.

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