Experimental Therapy Unit

Genova, Italy

Experimental Therapy Unit

Genova, Italy

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Di Paolo D.,Experimental Therapy Unit | Brignole C.,Experimental Therapy Unit | Pastorino F.,Experimental Therapy Unit | Carosio R.,Experimental Therapy Unit | And 11 more authors.
Molecular Therapy | Year: 2011

RNA interference molecules have some advantages as cancer therapeutics, including a proved efficacy on both wild-type (WT) and mutated transcripts and an extremely high sequence-specificity. The most significant hurdle to be overcome if exogenous small interfering RNAs (siRNA) is to be used therapeutically is the specific, effective, nontoxic delivery of siRNA to its intracellular site of action. At present, human applications are confined almost exclusively to targets within the liver, where the delivery systems naturally accumulate, and extra-hepatic targets remain a challenge. Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that has recently been shown to contribute to the cell growth and progression of human neuroblastoma (NB). We investigated its potential as a therapeutic target in NB by generating anti-GD 2-targeted nanoparticles that carry ALK-directed siRNA, which are specifically and efficiently delivered to GD 2-expressing NB cells. Relative to free ALK-siRNA, anti-GD 2-targeted liposomal formulations of ALK-siRNA had low plasma clearance, increased siRNA stability, and improved binding, uptake, silencing and induction of cell death, and specificity for NB cells. In NB xenografts, intravenous (i.v.) injection of the targeted ALK-siRNA liposomes showed gene-specific antitumor activity with no side effects. ALK-selective siRNA entrapped in anti-GD 2-targeted nanoparticles is a promising new modality for NB treatment. © The American Society of Gene &Cell Therapy.


Di Paolo D.,Experimental Therapy Unit | Ambrogio C.,University of Turin | Pastorino F.,Experimental Therapy Unit | Brignole C.,Experimental Therapy Unit | And 11 more authors.
Molecular Therapy | Year: 2011

The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a tyrosine kinase receptor that is involved in the pathogenesis of different types of human cancers, including neuroblastoma (NB). In NB, ALK overexpression, or point mutations, are associated with poor prognosis and advanced stage disease. Inhibition of ALK kinase activity by small-molecule inhibitors in lung cancers carrying ALK translocations has shown therapeutic potential. However, secondary mutations may occur that, generate tumor resistance to ALK inhibitors. To overcome resistance to ALK inhibitors in NB, we adopted an alternative RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapeutic strategy that is able to knockdown ALK, regardless of its genetic status mutated, amplified, wild-type (WT). NB cell lines, transduced by lentiviral short hairpin RNA (shRNA), showed reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis when ALK was knocked down. In mice, a nanodelivery system for ALK-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA), based on the conjugation of antibodies directed against the NB-selective marker GD 2 to liposomes, showed strong ALK knockdown in vivo in NB cells, which resulted in cell growth arrest, apoptosis, and prolonged survival. ALK knockdown was associated with marked reductions in vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) secretion, blood vessel density, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) expression in vivo, suggesting a role for ALK in NB-induced neoangiogenesis and tumor invasion, confirming this gene as a fundamental oncogene in NB. © The American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy.

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