Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Gene therapy with RALAiNOS composite nanoparticles significantly.pdf (1.17 MB)

Gene therapy with RALA/iNOS composite nanoparticles significantly enhances survival in a model of metastatic prostate cancer

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-08-23, 14:51 authored by Cian M. McCrudden, John W. McBride, Joanne McCaffrey, Emma M. McErlean, Nicholas J. Dunne, Vicky L. Kett, Jonathan A. Coulter, Tracy RobsonTracy Robson, Helen O. McCarthy

Background: Recent approvals of gene therapies by the FDA and the EMA for treatment of inherited disorders have further opened the door for assessment of nucleic acid pharmaceuticals for clinical usage. Arising from the presence of damaged or inappropriate DNA, cancer is a condition particularly suitable for genetic intervention. The RALA peptide has been shown to be a potent non-viral delivery platform for nucleic acids. This study examines the use of RALA to deliver a plasmid encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) as an anti-cancer treatment. Methods: The physiochemical properties of the RALA/DNA nanoparticles were characterized via dynamic light scattering and transmission electron microscopy. The nanoparticles were labelled with fuorophores and tracked over time using confocal microscopy with orthogonal sections to determine cellular location. In vitro studies were employed to determine functionality of the nanoparticles both for pEGFP-N1 and CMV-iNOS. Nanoparticles were injected intravenously into C57/BL6 mice with blood and serum samples analysed for immune response. PC3-luc2M cells were injected into the left ventricle of SCID mice followed by treatment with RALA/CMV-iNOS nanoparticles to evaluate the tumour response in a metastatic model of prostate cancer. Results: Functional cationic nanoparticles were produced with gene expression in PC-3 prostate cancer cells. Furthermore, repeated administrations of RALA/DNA nanoparticles into immunocompetent mice did not produce any immunological response: neutralization of the vector or release of infammatory mediators. RALA/CMV-iNOS reduced the clonogenicity of PC-3 cells in vitro, and in an in vivo model of prostate cancer metastasis, systemically delivered RALA/CMV-iNOS signifcantly improved the survival of mice. Conclusion: These studies further validate RALA as a genetic cargo delivery vehicle and iNOS as a potent therapy for the treatment of cancer. Keywords: Prostate cancer, Nitric oxide, Non-viral gene therapy, Amphipathic peptide, iNOS


Cancer Research UK (Grants C17372/A14271 and C17372/A18475)



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McCrudden CM, McBride JW, McCaffrey J, McErlean EM, Dunne NJ, Kett VL, Coulter JA, Robson T, McCarthy HO. Gene therapy with RALA/iNOS composite nanoparticles significantly enhances survival in a model of metastatic prostate cancer. Cancer Nanotechnology. 2018;9(1):5

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  • School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences