A microfluidics-based scalable approach to generate extracellular vesicles with enhanced therapeutic microRNA loading

Extracellular vesicles (EVs), including exosomes and microvesicles derived from different cell sources, are used as promising nanovesicles for delivering therapeutic microRNAs (miRNAs) and drugs in cancer therapy. However, their clinical translation is limited by the quantity, size heterogeneity, and drug or small RNA loading efficiency. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a scalable microfluidic platform that can load therapeutic miRNAs (antimiRNA-21 and miRNA-100) and drugs while controlling the size of microfluidically processed EVs (mpEVs) using a pressure-based disruption and reconstitution process. The researchers prepared mpEVs of optimal size using microvesicles isolated from neural stem cells engineered to overexpress CXCR4 receptor and characterized them for charge and miRNA loading efficiency. Since the delivery of therapeutic miRNAs to brain cancer is limited by the blood-brain barrier (BBB), they adopted intranasal administration of miRNA-loaded CXCR4-engineered mpEVs in orthotopic GBM mouse models and observed a consistent pattern of mpEVs trafficking across the nasal epithelia, bypassing the BBB into the intracranial compartment. In addition, the CXCR4-engineered mpEVs manifested selective tropism toward GBMs by stromal-derived factor-1 chemotaxis to deliver their miRNA cargo. The delivered miRNAs sensitized GBM cells to temozolomide, resulting in prominent tumor regression, and improved the overall survival of mice. A simple and efficient approach of packaging miRNAs in mpEVs using microfluidics, combined with a noninvasive nose-to-brain delivery route presents far-reaching potential opportunities to improve GBM therapy in clinical practice.

Wang K, Kumar US, Sadeghipour N, Massoud TF, Paulmurugan R. (2021) A Microfluidics-Based Scalable Approach to Generate Extracellular Vesicles with Enhanced Therapeutic MicroRNA Loading for Intranasal Delivery to Mouse Glioblastomas. ACS Nano [Epub ahead of print]. [abstract]

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