• Tofacitinib Loaded Squalenyl Nanoparticles for Targeted Follicular Delivery in Inflammatory Skin Diseases.

      Christmann, Rebekka; Ho, Duy-Khiet; Wilzopolski, Jenny; Lee, Sangeun; Koch, Marcus; Loretz, Brigitta; Vogt, Thomas; Bäumer, Wolfgang; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Lehr, Claus-Michael; et al. (MDPI, 2020-11-24)
      Tofacitinib (TFB), a Janus kinase inhibitor, has shown excellent success off-label in treating various dermatological diseases, especially alopecia areata (AA). However, TFB's safe and targeted delivery into hair follicles (HFs) is highly desirable due to its systemic adverse effects. Nanoparticles (NPs) can enhance targeted follicular drug delivery and minimize interfollicular permeation and thereby reduce systemic drug exposure. In this study, we report a facile method to assemble the stable and uniform 240 nm TFB loaded squalenyl derivative (SqD) nanoparticles (TFB SqD NPs) in aqueous solution, which allowed an excellent loading capacity (LC) of 20%. The SqD NPs showed an enhanced TFB delivery into HFs compared to the aqueous formulations of plain drug in an ex vivo pig ear model. Furthermore, the therapeutic efficacy of the TFB SqD NPs was studied in a mouse model of allergic dermatitis by ear swelling reduction and compared to TFB dissolved in a non-aqueous mixture of acetone and DMSO (7:1 v/v). Whereas such formulation would not be acceptable for use in the clinic, the TFB SqD NPs dispersed in water illustrated a better reduction in inflammatory effects than plain TFB's aqueous formulation, implying both encouraging good in vivo efficacy and safety. These findings support the potential of TFB SqD NPs for developing a long-term topical therapy of AA.
    • Decoding (patho-)physiology of the lung by advanced in vitro models for developing novel anti-infectives therapies.

      Montefusco-Pereira, Carlos Victor; Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane de Souza; Seeger, Johanna; Kloft, Charlotte; Michelet, Robin; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-11-21)
      Advanced lung cell culture models provide physiologically-relevant and complex data for mathematical models to exploit host-pathogen responses during anti-infective drug testing.
    • A hydrogel-based assay for the fast prediction of antibiotic accumulation in Gram-negative bacteria.

      Richter, Robert; Kamal, Mohamed A M; García-Rivera, Mariel A; Kaspar, Jerome; Junk, Maximilian; Elgaher, Walid A M; Srikakulam, Sanjay Kumar; Gress, Alexander; Beckmann, Anja; Grißmer, Alexander; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-11-02)
      The pipeline of antibiotics has been for decades on an alarmingly low level. Considering the steadily emerging antibiotic resistance, novel tools are needed for early and easy identification of effective anti-infective compounds. In Gram-negative bacteria, the uptake of anti-infectives is especially limited. We here present a surprisingly simple in vitro model of the Gram-negative bacterial envelope, based on 20% (w/v) potato starch gel, printed on polycarbonate 96-well filter membranes. Rapid permeability measurements across this polysaccharide hydrogel allowed to correctly predict either high or low accumulation for all 16 tested anti-infectives in living Escherichia coli. Freeze-fracture TEM supports that the macromolecular network structure of the starch hydrogel may represent a useful surrogate of the Gram-negative bacterial envelope. A random forest analysis of in vitro data revealed molecular mass, minimum projection area, and rigidity as the most critical physicochemical parameters for hydrogel permeability, in agreement with reported structural features needed for uptake into Gram-negative bacteria. Correlating our dataset of 27 antibiotics from different structural classes to reported MIC values of nine clinically relevant pathogens allowed to distinguish active from nonactive compounds based on their low in vitro permeability specifically for Gram-negatives. The model may help to identify poorly permeable antimicrobial candidates before testing them on living bacteria.
    • Editorial EJPB - Biobarriers 2018.

      Fuhrmann, Gregor; Loretz, Brigitta; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-11-02)
      [No abstract available]
    • Controlling Supramolecular Structures of Drugs by Light.

      Wiest, Johannes; Kehrein, Josef; Saedtler, Marco; Schilling, Klaus; Cataldi, Eleonora; Sotriffer, Christoph A; Holzgrabe, Ulrike; Rasmussen, Tim; Böttcher, Bettina; Cronin-Golomb, Mark; et al. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2020-10-29)
      Controlling physicochemical properties of light-unresponsive drugs, by light, prima facie, a paradox approach. We expanded light control by ion pairing light-unresponsive salicylate or ibuprofen to photoswitchable azobenzene counterions, thereby reversibly controlling supramolecular structures, hence the drugs' physicochemical and kinetic properties. The resulting ion pairs photoliquefied into room-temperature ionic liquids under ultraviolet light. Aqueous solutions showed trans-cis-dependent supramolecular structures under a light with wormlike aggregates decomposing into small micelles and vice versa. Light control allowed for permeation through membranes of cis-ibuprofen ion pairs within 12 h in contrast to the trans ion pairs requiring 72 h. In conclusion, azobenzene ion-pairing expands light control of physicochemical and kinetic properties to otherwise light-unresponsive drugs.
    • Synthesis and Biopharmaceutical Characterization of Amphiphilic Squalenyl Derivative Based Versatile Drug Delivery Platform.

      Ho, Duy-Khiet; Christmann, Rebekka; Murgia, Xabier; de Rossi, Chiara; Frisch, Sarah; Koch, Marcus; Schaefer, Ulrich F; Loretz, Brigitta; Desmaele, Didier; Couvreur, Patrick; et al. (Frontiers, 2020-10-19)
      Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has no animal reservoir, infecting only humans. To investigate species barrier determinants limiting infection of rodents, murine liver complementary DNA library screening was performed, identifying transmembrane proteins Cd302 and Cr1l as potent restrictors of HCV propagation. Combined ectopic expression in human hepatoma cells impeded HCV uptake and cooperatively mediated transcriptional dysregulation of a noncanonical program of immunity genes. Murine hepatocyte expression of both factors was constitutive and not interferon inducible, while differences in liver expression and the ability to restrict HCV were observed between the murine orthologs and their human counterparts. Genetic ablation of endogenous Cd302 expression in human HCV entry factor transgenic mice increased hepatocyte permissiveness for an adapted HCV strain and dysregulated expression of metabolic process and host defense genes. These findings highlight human-mouse differences in liver-intrinsic antiviral immunity and facilitate the development of next-generation murine models for preclinical testing of HCV vaccine candidates.
    • Towards a Continuous Manufacturing Process of Protein-Loaded Polymeric Nanoparticle Powders.

      Schiller, Stefan; Hanefeld, Andrea; Schneider, Marc; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2020-10-06)
      To develop a scalable and efficient process suitable for the continuous manufacturing of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles containing ovalbumin as the model protein. PLGA nanoparticles were prepared using a double emulsification spray-drying method. Emulsions were prepared using a focused ultrasound transducer equipped with a flow cell. Either poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) or poloxamer 407 (P-407) was used as a stabilizer. Aliquots of the emulsions were blended with different matrix excipients and spray dried, and the yield and size of the resuspended nanoparticles was determined and compared against solvent displacement. Nanoparticle sizes of spray-dried PLGA/PVA emulsions were independent of the matrix excipient and comparable with sizes from the solvent displacement method. The yield of the resuspended nanoparticles was highest for emulsions containing trehalose and leucine (79%). Spray drying of PLGA/P-407 emulsions led to agglomerated nanoparticles independent of the matrix excipient. PLGA/P-407 nanoparticles pre-formed by solvent displacement could be spray dried with limited agglomeration when PVA was added as an additional stabilizer. A comparably high and economically interesting nanoparticle yield could be achieved with a process suitable for continuous manufacturing. Further studies are needed to understand the robustness of a continuous process at commercial scale.
    • Micro-rheological properties of lung homogenates correlate with infection severity in a mouse model of Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection.

      Murgia, Xabier; Kany, Andreas M; Herr, Christian; Ho, Duy-Khiet; de Rossi, Chiara; Bals, Robert; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Hirsch, Anna K H; Hartmann, Rolf W; Empting, Martin; et al. (Nature publishing group (NPG), 2020-10-05)
      Lung infections caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa pose a serious threat to patients suffering from, among others, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or bronchiectasis, often leading to life-threatening complications. The establishment of a chronic infection is substantially related to communication between bacteria via quorum-sensing networks. In this study, we aimed to assess the role of quorum-sensing signaling molecules of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) and to investigate the viscoelastic properties of lung tissue homogenates of PA-infected mice in a prolonged acute murine infection model. Therefore, a murine infection model was successfully established via intra-tracheal infection with alginate-supplemented Pseudomonas aeruginosa NH57388A. Rheological properties of lung homogenates were analyzed with multiple particle tracking (MPT) and quorum-sensing molecules were quantified with LC-MS/MS. Statistical analysis of bacterial load and quorum-sensing molecules showed a strong correlation between these biomarkers in infected lungs. This was accompanied by noticeable changes in the consistency of lung homogenates with increasing infection severity. Furthermore, viscoelastic properties of the lung homogenates strongly correlated with bacterial load and quorum sensing molecules. Considering the strong correlation between the viscoelasticity of lung homogenates and the aforementioned biomarkers, the viscoelastic properties of infected lungs might serve as reliable new biomarker for the evaluation of the severity of P. aeruginosa infections in murine models.
    • Tobacco Smoke and Inhaled Drugs Alter Expression and Activity of Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein-1 (MRP1) in Human Distal Lung Epithelial Cells .

      Selo, Mohammed Ali; Delmas, Anne-Sophie; Springer, Lisa; Zoufal, Viktoria; Sake, Johannes A; Clerkin, Caoimhe G; Huwer, Hanno; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Nickel, Sabrina; et al. (Frontiers, 2020-09-08)
      Multidrug resistance-associated protein-1 (MRP1/ABCC1) is highly expressed in human lung tissues. Recent studies suggest that it significantly affects the pulmonary disposition of its substrates, both after pulmonary and systemic administration. To better understand the molecular mechanisms involved, we studied the expression, subcellular localization and activity of MRP1 in freshly isolated human alveolar epithelial type 2 (AT2) and type 1-like (AT1-like) cells in primary culture, and in the NCI-H441 cell line. Moreover, the effect of cigarette smoke extract (CSE) and a series of inhaled drugs on MRP1 abundance and activity was investigated in vitro. MRP1 expression levels were measured by q-PCR and immunoblot in AT2 and AT1-like cells from different donors and in several passages of the NCI-H441 cell line. The subcellular localization of the transporter was studied by confocal laser scanning microscopy and cell surface protein biotinylation. MRP1 activity was assessed by bidirectional transport and efflux experiments using the MRP1 substrate, 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein [CF; formed intracellularly from 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein-diacetate (CFDA)] in AT1-like and NCI-H441 cell monolayers. Furthermore, the effect of CSE as well as several bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids on MRP1 abundance and CF efflux was investigated. MRP1 protein abundance increased upon differentiation from AT2 to AT1-like phenotype, however, ABCC1 gene levels remained unchanged. MRP1 abundance in NCI-H441 cells were comparable to those found in AT1-like cells. The transporter was detected primarily in basolateral membranes of both cell types which was consistent with net basolateral efflux of CF. Likewise, bidirectional transport studies showed net apical-to-basolateral transport of CF which was sensitive to the MRP1 inhibitor MK-571. Budesonide, beclomethasone dipropionate, salbutamol sulfate, and CSE decreased CF efflux in a concentration-dependent manner. Interestingly, CSE increased MRP1 abundance, whereas budesonide, beclomethasone dipropionate, salbutamol sulfate did not have such effect. CSE and inhaled drugs can reduce MRP1 activity in vitro, which implies the transporter being a potential drug target in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Moreover, MRP1 expression level, localization and activity were comparable in human AT1-like and NCI-H441 cells. Therefore, the cell line can be a useful alternative in vitro model to study MRP1 in distal lung epithelium.
    • Itaconic Acid Increases the Efficacy of Tobramycin against Biofilms.

      Ho, Duy-Khiet; de Rossi, Chiara; Loretz, Brigitta; Murgia, Xabier; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-07-22)
      The search for novel therapeutics against pulmonary infections, in particular Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) biofilm infections, has been intense to deal with the emergent rise of antimicrobial resistance. Despite the numerous achievements in drug discovery and delivery strategies, only a limited number of therapeutics reach the clinic. To allow a timely preclinical development, a formulation should be highly effective, safe, and most importantly facile to produce. Thus, a simple combination of known actives that enhances the therapeutic efficacy would be a preferential choice compared to advanced drug delivery systems. In this study, we propose a novel combination of an anti-inflammatory agent-itaconic acid (itaconate, IA)-and an approved antibiotic-tobramycin (Tob) or ciprofloxacin (Cipro). The combination of Tob and IA at a molar ratio of 1:5 increased the biofilm eradicating efficacy in the strain PA14 wild type (wt) by ~4-fold compared to Tob alone. In contrast, such effect was not observed for the combination of IA with Cipro. Subsequent studies on the influence of IA on bacterial growth, pyocyanin production, and Tob biofilm penetration indicated that complexation with IA enhanced the transport of Tob through the biofilm. We recommend the simple and effective combination of Tob:IA for further testing in advanced preclinical models of PA biofilm infections.
    • Squalenyl Hydrogen Sulfate Nanoparticles for Simultaneous Delivery of Tobramycin and an Alkylquinolone Quorum Sensing Inhibitor Enable the Eradication of P. aeruginosa Biofilm Infections.

      Ho, Duy-Khiet; Murgia, Xabier; de Rossi, Chiara; Christmann, Rebekka; Hüfner de Mello Martins, Antonio G; Koch, Marcus; Andreas, Anastasia; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Empting, Martin; et al. (Wiley, 2020-04-03)
      Elimination of pulmonary Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections is challenging to accomplish with antibiotic therapies, mainly due to resistance mechanisms. Quorum sensing inhibitors (QSIs) interfering with biofilm formation can thus complement antibiotics. For simultaneous and improved delivery of both active agents to the infection sites, self-assembling nanoparticles of a newly synthesized squalenyl hydrogen sulfate (SqNPs) were prepared. These nanocarriers allowed for remarkably high loading capacities of hydrophilic antibiotic tobramycin (Tob) and a novel lipophilic QSI at 30 % and circa 10 %, respectively. The drug-loaded SqNPs showed improved biofilm penetration and enhanced efficacy in relevant biological barriers (mucin/human tracheal mucus, biofilm), leading to complete eradication of PA biofilms at circa 16-fold lower Tob concentration than Tob alone. This study offers a viable therapy optimization and invigorates the research and development of QSIs for clinical use.
    • Coupling quaternary ammonium surfactants to the surface of liposomes improves both antibacterial efficacy and host cell biocompatibility

      Montefusco-Pereira, Carlos V.; Formicola, Beatrice; Goes, Adriely; Re, Francesca; Marrano, Claudia A.; Mantegazza, Francesco; Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Fuhrmann, Gregor; Caneva, Enrico; Nicotra, Francesco; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2020-04)
      By functionalizing the surface of PEG-liposomes with linkers bearing quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs), we generated novel bacteria disruptors with anti-adhesive properties and reduced cytotoxicity compared to free QACs. Furthermore, QAC-functionalized liposomes are a promising platform for future drug encapsulation. The QAC (11-mercaptoundecyl)-N,N,N-trimethylammonium bromide (MTAB) was attached to maleimide-functionalized liposomes (DSPE-PEG) via thiol linker. The MTAB-functionalized liposomes were physicochemically characterized and their biological activity, in terms of anti-adherence activity and biofilm prevention in Escherichia coli were assessed. The results showed that MTAB-functionalized liposomes inhibit bacterial adherence and biofilm formation while reducing MTAB toxicity.
    • In vitro characterization and in vivo comparison of the pulmonary outcomes of Poractant alfa and Calsurf in ventilated preterm rabbits.

      Guo, Xiaojing; Luo, Siwei; Amidani, Davide; Rivetti, Claudio; Pieraccini, Giuseppe; Pioselli, Barbara; Catinella, Silvia; Murgia, Xabi; Salomone, Fabrizio; Xu, Yaling; et al. (PLOS, 2020-03-13)
      Poractant alfa and Calsurf are two natural surfactants widely used in China for the treatment of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, which are extracted from porcine and calf lungs, respectively. The purpose of this experimental study was to compare their in vitro characteristics and in vivo effects in the improvement of pulmonary function and protection of lung injury. The biophysical properties, ultrastructure, and lipid composition of both surfactant preparations were respectively analysed in vitro by means of Langmuir-Blodgett trough (LBT), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and liquid-chromatography mass-spectrometry (LC-MS). Then, as core pharmacological activity, both head-to-head (100 and 200 mg/kg for both surfactants) and licensed dose comparisons (70 mg/kg Calsurf vs. 200 mg/kg Poractant alfa) between the two surfactants were conducted as prophylaxis in preterm rabbits with primary surfactant deficiency, assessing survival time and rate and dynamic compliance of the respiratory system (Cdyn). Intrapulmonary surfactant pools, morphometric volume density as alveolar expansion (Vv), and lung injury scores were determined post mortem. AFM and LC-MS analysis revealed qualitative differences in the ultrastructure as well as in the lipid composition of both preparations. Calsurf showed a longer plateau region of the LBT isotherm and lower film compressibility. In vivo, both surfactant preparations improved Cdyn at any dose, although maximum benefits in terms of Vv and intrapulmonary surfactant pools were seen with the 200 mg/kg dose in both surfactants. The group of animals treated with 200 mg/kg of Poractant alfa showed a prolonged survival time and rate compared to untreated but ventilated controls, and significantly ameliorated lung injury compared to Calsurf at any dose, including 200 mg/kg. The overall outcomes suggest the pulmonary effects to be dose dependent for both preparations. The group of animals treated with 200 mg/kg of Poractant alfa showed a significant reduction of mortality. Compared to Calsurf, Poractant alfa exerted better effects if licensed doses were compared, which requires further investigation.
    • Advancing human pulmonary disease models in preclinical research: opportunities for lung-on-chips..

      Artzy-Schnirman, Arbel; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Sznitman, Josué; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Taylor&Francis, 2020-03-11)
      [No abstracr available]
    • Safety assessment of excipients (SAFE) for orally inhaled drug products.

      Metz, Julia K; Scharnowske, Lara; Hans, Fabian; Schnur, Sabrina; Knoth, Katharina; Zimmer, Horst; Limberger, Markus; Groß, Henrik; Lehr, Claus Michael; Hittinger, Marius; et al. (Springer, 2020-01-29)
      The development of new orally inhaled drug products requires the demonstration of safety which must be proven in animal experiments. New in vitro methods may replace, or at least reduce, these animal experiments provided they are able to correctly predict the safety or eventual toxicity in humans. However, the challenge is to link human in vitro data to human in vivo data. We here present a new approach to the safety assessment of excipients (SAFE) for pulmonary drug delivery. The SAFE model is based on a dose response curve of 23 excipients tested on the human pulmonary epithelial cell lines A549 and Calu-3. The resulting in vitro IC50 values were correlated with the FDA-approved concentration in pharmaceutical products for either pulmonary (if available) or parenteral administration. Setting a threshold of 0.1% (1 mg/mL) for either value yielded four safety classes, allowed to link IC50 data as measured on human cell cultures in vitro with the concentrations of the same compounds in FDA-approved drug products. The necessary in vitro data for novel excipients can be easily generated while the SAFE approach allows putting them in the context for eventual use in human pulmonary drug products. Excipients, that are most likely not safe for use in humans, can be early excluded from further pharmaceutical development. The SAFE approach helps thus to avoid unnecessary animal experiments.
    • Novel anti-ulcer phytosomal formulation of ethanol extract of pentaclethra macrophylla stem-bark

      Nnamani, Petra O.; Kenechukwu, Franklin C.; Asogwa, Francis O.; Momoh, Mumuni A.; Lehr, Claus Michael; Attama, Anthony A.; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria., 2020-01-01)
      Pentaclethra macrophylla, a medicinal plant widely used for ulcer treatment in Nigeria by herbal practitioners, is limited by poor lipid solubility, resulting in poor absorption and bioavailability. Phytosomes, a novel dosage form that are better absorbed and produce better results than conventional herbal extracts, could be employed to enhance its antiulcer activity. The objective of this study was to formulate Pentaclethra macrophylla stem-bark extract as phytosomes by forming complexes with phospholipid and compare the antiulcer activity with omeprazole, a standard anti-ulcer drug. Phytosomal formulations of ethanol extract of Pentaclethra macrophylla stem-bark and Phospholipon® 90G (P90G) (extract:P90G ratios of 1:1, 1:3, 1:5) were prepared following established method. Their physicochemical properties, in vitro drug release in simulated intestinal fluid (SIF, pH=7.4) and simulated gastric fluid (SGF, pH=1.2) and anti-ulcer properties on aspirin-induced ulcer using Wistar rats were determined and compared with omeprazole. Phytosomes with spherical smooth particles with size range 0.106-0.217 µm and good encapsulation efficiencies (range = 67.61-72.8%) were obtained. Drug release increased with time irrespective of phospholipid concentration or dissolution medium. The extract possessed antiulcer activity (23.33%) which was increased to 33.33, 43.33 and 56.67% by formulating it as phytosomal formulations containing extract:P90G ratios of 1:1, 1:3, 1:5, respectively. However, omeprazole and its formulations gave significantly (p<0.05) greater antiulcer activity when compared with both the ethanol extract and phytosomes. Pentaclethra macrophylla stem-bark possessed antiulcer activity, which was improved via phytosomal formulation. This would serve as potential safer and cheaper alternative therapeutics for ulcer given the side-effects associated with omeprazole.
    • PLGA nanocapsules improve the delivery of clarithromycin to kill intracellular Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium abscessus.

      Anversa Dimer, Frantiescoli; de Souza Carvalho-Wodarz, Cristiane; Goes, Adriely; Cirnski, Katarina; Herrmann, Jennifer; Schmitt, Viktoria; Pätzold, Linda; Abed, Nadia; de Rossi, Chiara; Bischoff, Markus; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-11-18)
      Drug delivery systems are promising for targeting antibiotics directly to infected tissues. To reach intracellular Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium abscessus, we encapsulated clarithromycin in PLGA nanocapsules, suitable for aerosol delivery by nebulization of an aqueous dispersion. Compared to the same dose of free clarithromycin, nanoencapsulation reduced 1000 times the number of intracellular S. aureus in vitro. In RAW cells, while untreated S. aureus was located in acidic compartments, the treated ones were mostly situated in non-acidic compartments. Clarithromycin-nanocapsules were also effective against M. abscessus (70-80% killing efficacy). The activity of clarithromycin-nanocapsules against S. aureus was also confirmed in vivo, using a murine wound model as well as in zebrafish. The permeability of clarithromycin-nanocapsules across Calu-3 monolayers increased in comparison to the free drug, suggesting an improved delivery to sub-epithelial tissues. Thus, clarithromycin-nanocapsules are a promising strategy to target intracellular S. aureus and M. abscessus.
    • The synergistic effect of chlorotoxin-mApoE in boosting drug-loaded liposomes across the BBB.

      Formicola, Beatrice; Dal Magro, Roberta; Montefusco-Pereira, Carlos V; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Koch, Marcus; Russo, Laura; Grasso, Gianvito; Deriu, Marco A; Danani, Andrea; Bourdoulous, Sandrine; et al. (BMC, 2019-11-11)
      We designed liposomes dually functionalized with ApoE-derived peptide (mApoE) and chlorotoxin (ClTx) to improve their blood-brain barrier (BBB) crossing. Our results demonstrated the synergistic activity of ClTx-mApoE in boosting doxorubicin-loaded liposomes across the BBB, keeping the anti-tumour activity of the drug loaded: mApoE acts promoting cellular uptake, while ClTx promotes exocytosis of liposomes.
    • Advanced in vitro lung-on-chip platforms for inhalation assays: From prospect to pipeline.

      Artzy-Schnirman, Arbel; Hobi, Nina; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Guenat, Olivier T; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Sznitman, Josué; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-09-06)
      With rapid advances in micro-fabrication processes and the availability of biologically-relevant lung cells, the development of lung-on-chip platforms is offering novel avenues for more realistic inhalation assays in pharmaceutical research, and thereby an opportunity to depart from traditional in vitro lung assays. As advanced models capturing the cellular pulmonary make-up at an air-liquid interface (ALI), lung-on-chips emulate both morphological features and biological functionality of the airway barrier with the ability to integrate respiratory breathing motions and ensuing tissue strains. Such in vitro systems allow importantly to mimic more realistic physiological respiratory flow conditions, with the opportunity to integrate physically-relevant transport determinants of aerosol inhalation therapy, i.e. recapitulating the pathway from airborne flight to deposition on the airway lumen. In this short opinion, we discuss such points and describe how these attributes are paving new avenues for exploring improved drug carrier designs (e.g. shape, size, etc.) and targeting strategies (e.g. conductive vs. respiratory regions) amongst other. We argue that while technical challenges still lie along the way in rendering in vitro lung-on-chip platforms more widespread across the general pharmaceutical research community, significant momentum is steadily underway in accelerating the prospect of establishing these as in vitro "gold standards"
    • Challenges and Strategies in Drug Delivery Systems for Treatment of Pulmonary Infections.

      Ho, Duy-Khiet; Nichols, Brittany L B; Edgar, Kevin J; Murgia, Xabier; Loretz, Brigitta; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-09-04)
      Inhalation therapy has been reported as the most effective treatment for respiratory bacterial infections due to the increasing relevance of drug bioavailability. Drug delivery systems (DDS) have the capacity to overcome pulmonary biological barriers limiting the bioavailability of inhaled anti-infectives. This is important to eradicate bacterial infections and to prevent the development of bacterial resistance. Despite substantial efforts in the field, the current state-of-the-art often fails to achieve those goals, and we still observe increasing bacterial resistance. We give a brief insight on benefits and challenges in pulmonary delivery of anti-infectives. In the context of drug delivery development for pulmonary infections, particularly focusing on Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections, this mini review will critically discuss the main requirements, as well as the recent strategies of drug delivery system synthesis and preparation. Finally, interaction of DDS with crucial pulmonary biological barriers will be of great importance for the success of future applications of the developed DDS.