• 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.
    • Three-dimensional hierarchical cultivation of human skin cells on bio-adaptive hybrid fibers.

      Planz, Viktoria; Seif, Salem; Atchison, Jennifer S; Vukosavljevic, Branko; Sparenberg, Lisa; Kroner, Elmar; Windbergs, Maike; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016-07-11)
      The human skin comprises a complex multi-scale layered structure with hierarchical organization of different cells within the extracellular matrix (ECM). This supportive fiber-reinforced structure provides a dynamically changing microenvironment with specific topographical, mechanical and biochemical cell recognition sites to facilitate cell attachment and proliferation. Current advances in developing artificial matrices for cultivation of human cells concentrate on surface functionalizing of biocompatible materials with different biomolecules like growth factors to enhance cell attachment. However, an often neglected aspect for efficient modulation of cell-matrix interactions is posed by the mechanical characteristics of such artificial matrices. To address this issue, we fabricated biocompatible hybrid fibers simulating the complex biomechanical characteristics of native ECM in human skin. Subsequently, we analyzed interactions of such fibers with human skin cells focusing on the identification of key fiber characteristics for optimized cell-matrix interactions. We successfully identified the mediating effect of bio-adaptive elasto-plastic stiffness paired with hydrophilic surface properties as key factors for cell attachment and proliferation, thus elucidating the synergistic role of these parameters to induce cellular responses. Co-cultivation of fibroblasts and keratinocytes on such fiber mats representing the specific cells in dermis and epidermis resulted in a hierarchical organization of dermal and epidermal tissue layers. In addition, terminal differentiation of keratinocytes at the air interface was observed. These findings provide valuable new insights into cell behaviour in three-dimensional structures and cell-material interactions which can be used for rational development of bio-inspired functional materials for advanced biomedical applications.
    • Towards drug quantification in human skin with confocal Raman microscopy.

      Franzen, Lutz; Selzer, Dominik; Fluhr, Joachim W; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Windbergs, Maike; Biopharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Saarland University, Saarbruecken, Germany. lutz.franzen@mx.uni-saarland.de (2013-06)
      Understanding the penetration behaviour of drugs into human skin is a prerequisite for the rational development and evaluation of effective dermal drug delivery. The general procedure for the acquisition of quantitative drug penetration profiles in human skin is performed by sequential segmentation and extraction. Unfortunately, this technique is destructive, laborious and lacks spatial resolution. Confocal Raman microscopy bares the potential of a chemically selective, label free and nondestructive analysis. However, the acquisition of quantitative drug depth profiles within skin by Raman microscopy is impeded by imponderable signal attenuation inside the tissue. In this study, we present a chemical semi-solid matrix system simulating the optical properties of human skin. This system serves as a skin surrogate for investigation of Raman signal attenuation under controlled conditions. Caffeine was homogeneously incorporated within the skin surrogate, and Raman intensity depth profiles were acquired. A mathematical algorithm describing the Raman signal attenuation within the surrogate was derived from these profiles. Human skin samples were incubated with caffeine, and Raman intensity depth profiles were similarly acquired. The surrogate algorithm was successfully applied to correct the drug profiles in human skin for signal attenuation. For the first time, a mathematical algorithm was established, which allows correction of Raman signal attenuation in human skin, thus facilitating reliable drug quantification in human skin by confocal Raman spectroscopy.
    • Towards nanotechnology regulation – Publish the unpublishable

      Hankin, Steve; Boraschi, Diana; Duschl, Albert; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Lichtenbeld, Hera (2012-10-05)
    • Vitamin D Deficiency Does Not Result in a Breach of Host Defense in Murine Models of Pneumonia.

      Niederstrasser, Julia; Herr, Christian; Wolf, Lisa; Lehr, Claus M; Beisswenger, Christoph; Bals, Robert; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2016-11-01)
      Vitamin D (VitD) has a role in the regulation of calcium and phosphate metabolism and in addition impacts the activity of the immune system. VitD deficiency might be linked to increased susceptibility to respiratory tract infection. The aim of the present study was to characterize the impact of VitD deficiency on the susceptibility to bacterial infection in murine models. C57BL/6N mice were fed a diet with or without VitD for 10 weeks. The VitD-deficient or -sufficient mice were infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Streptococcus pneumoniae The colonization and inflammatory response in the lung were analyzed at defined time points. The serum 25-hydroxy-VitD concentration was significantly lower in mice on the VitD-deficient diet. In infection experiments with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Streptococcus pneumoniae, no differences could be observed in the numbers of viable bacteria or in differential cell counts in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluids. Measurements of inflammatory cytokines (KC and interleukin-1β [IL-1β]) did not show significant differences between the groups. In conclusion, VitD-deficient animals did not show significantly increased susceptibility to infection or an altered course of infection. The immune systems of humans and mice likely respond differently to VitD. Murine models are likely not appropriate for drawing conclusions on the role of VitD in human pulmonary host defense.