• Process optimization and biocompatibility of cell carriers suitable for automated magnetic manipulation.

      Krejci, I; Piana, C; Howitz, S; Wegener, T; Fiedler, S; Zwanzig, M; Schmitt, D; Daum, N; Meier, K; Lehr, C M; et al. (2012-03)
      There is increasing demand for automated cell reprogramming in the fields of cell biology, biotechnology and the biomedical sciences. Microfluidic-based platforms that provide unattended manipulation of adherent cells promise to be an appropriate basis for cell manipulation. In this study we developed a magnetically driven cell carrier to serve as a vehicle within an in vitro environment. To elucidate the impact of the carrier on cells, biocompatibility was estimated using the human adenocarcinoma cell line Caco-2. Besides evaluation of the quality of the magnetic carriers by field emission scanning electron microscopy, the rate of adherence, proliferation and differentiation of Caco-2 cells grown on the carriers was quantified. Moreover, the morphology of the cells was monitored by immunofluorescent staining. Early generations of the cell carrier suffered from release of cytotoxic nickel from the magnetic cushion. Biocompatibility was achieved by complete encapsulation of the nickel bulk within galvanic gold. The insulation process had to be developed stepwise and was controlled by parallel monitoring of the cell viability. The final carrier generation proved to be a proper support for cell manipulation, allowing proliferation of Caco-2 cells equal to that on glass or polystyrene as a reference for up to 10 days. Functional differentiation was enhanced by more than 30% compared with the reference. A flat, ferromagnetic and fully biocompatible carrier for cell manipulation was developed for application in microfluidic systems. Beyond that, this study offers advice for the development of magnetic cell carriers and the estimation of their biocompatibility.
    • Telomerase as an emerging target to fight cancer--opportunities and challenges for nanomedicine.

      Philippi, C; Loretz, B; Schaefer, U F; Lehr, C M; Department of Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. (2010-09-01)
      Telomerase as an enzyme is responsible for the renewal of the chromosomal ends, the so-called telomeres. By preventing them from shortening with each cell cycle, telomerase is able to inhibit cellular senescence and apoptosis. Telomerase activity, which is detectable in the majority of cancer cells, allows them to maintain their proliferative capacity. The thus obtained immortality of those cells again is a key to their malignancy. Based on these discoveries, it is obvious that telomerase inhibitors would represent an innovative approach to fight cancer, and a variety of such candidate molecules are currently in the pipeline. Telomerase inhibitors largely fall in two classes of compounds: small synthetic molecules and nucleotide-based biologicals. For several candidates, some proof of concept studies have been demonstrated, either on cell cultures or in animal models. But the same studies also revealed that inefficient delivery is largely limiting the translational step into the clinic. The most appealing feature of telomerase inhibitors, which distinguishes them from conventional anticancer drugs, is probably seen in their intrinsic non-toxicity to normal cells. Nevertheless, efficient delivery to the target cells, i.e. to the tumor, is still required. Here, some well-known biopharmaceutical problems such as insufficient solubility, permeability or even metabolic stability are frequently encountered. To address these challenges, there is a clear need for adequate delivery technologies, for example by using nanomedicines, that would allow to overcome their biopharmaceutical shortcomings and to warrant a sufficient bioavailability at the target side. This review first briefly explains the concept of telomerase and telomerase inhibition in cancer therapy. It secondly aims to provide an overview of the different currently known telomerase inhibitors. Finally, the biopharmaceutical limitations of these molecules are discussed as well as the possibilities to overcome those limits by novel drug carrier systems and formulation approaches.