OBJECTIVE Drug clearance may be a limiting factor in the clinical application of convection-enhanced delivery (CED). Peptide-based nanofibers (NFPs) have a high aspect ratio, and NFPs loaded with drugs could potentially maintain effective drug concentrations for an extended period sufficient for cancer therapy. The objective of this study was to assess the volume of distribution (Vd) and clearance of variable lengths of NFPs when administered using CED. METHODS NFPs composed of multiple methoxypolyethylene glycol (mPEG)-conjugated constructs (mPEG2000-KLDLKLDLKLDL-K( FITC)-CONH2, for which FITC is fluorescein isothiocyanate) were assembled in an aqueous buffer. The NFPs were approximately 5 nm in width and were formulated into different lengths: 100 nm (NFP-100), 400 nm (NFP-400), and 1000 nm (NFP-1000). The NFP surface was covalently conjugated with multiple Cy5.5 fluorophores as the optical reporters to track the post-CED distribution. Forty-two 6- to 8-week-old Ntv-a;p53fl/fl mice underwent CED to the striatum. Animals were killed immediately, 24 hours or 72 hours after CED. The brains were extracted and sectioned for assessing NFP Vd to volume of infusion (Vi) ratio, and clearance using fluorescence microscopy. RESULTS CED of NFPs was well tolerated by all the animals. The average Vd/Vi ratios for NFP-100, NFP-400, NFP-1000, and unconjugated positive control (free Cy5.5) were 1.87, 2.47, 1.07, and 3.0, respectively, which were statistically different (p = 0.003). The percentages remaining of the original infusion volume at 24 hours for NFP-100, -400, and -1000 were 40%, 90%, and 74%, respectively. The percentages remaining at 72 hours for NFP-100, -400, and -1000 were 15%, 30%, and 46%, respectively. Unconjugated Cy5.5 was not detected at 24 or 72 hours after CED. CONCLUSIONS CED of NFPs is feasible with Vd/Vi ratios and clearance rates comparable to other nanocarriers. Of the 3 NFPs, NFP-400 appears to provide the best distribution and slowest clearance after 24 hours. NFP provides a dynamic theranostic platform, with the potential to deliver clinically efficacious drug payload to brain tumor after CED.
Keywords: CED = convection-enhanced delivery; DIPG = diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma; FITC = fluorescein isothiocyanate; NFP = peptide-based nanofiber; PBS = phosphate-buffered saline; PFA = paraformaldehyde; PLGA = poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid); TEM = transmission electron microscopy; Vd = volume of distribution; Vi = volume of infusion; convection-enhanced delivery; drug clearance; glioma; mPEG = methoxypolyethylene glycol; mouse; oncology; peptide-based nanofiber.