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Russell R. Lonser, Stuart Walbridge, Kayhan Garmestani, John A. Butman, Hugh A. Walters, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Paul F. Morrison, Martin W. Brechbiel, and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. Intrinsic disease processes of the brainstem (gliomas, neurodegenerative disease, and others) have remained difficult or impossible to treat effectively because of limited drug penetration across the blood—brainstem barrier with conventional delivery methods. The authors used convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of a macromolecular tracer visible on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to examine the utility of CED for safe perfusion of the brainstem.

Methods. Three primates (Macaca mulatta) underwent CED of various volumes of infusion ([Vis]; 85, 110, and 120 µl) of Gd-bound albumin (72 kD) in the pontine region of the brainstem during serial MR imaging. Infusate volume of distribution (Vd), homogeneity, and anatomical distribution were visualized and quantified using MR imaging. Neurological function was observed and recorded up to 35 days postinfusion. Histological analysis was performed in all animals. Large regions of the pons and midbrain were successfully and safely perfused with the macromolecular protein. The Vd was linearly proportional to the Vi (R2 = 0.94), with a Vd/Vi ratio of 8.7 ± 1.2 (mean ± standard deviation). Furthermore, the concentration across the perfused region was homogeneous. The Vd increased slightly at 24 hours after completion of the infusion, and remained larger until the intensity of infusion faded (by Day 7). No animal exhibited a neurological deficit after infusion. Histological analysis revealed normal tissue architecture and minimal gliosis that was limited to the region immediately surrounding the cannula track.

Conclusions. First, CED can be used to perfuse the brainstem safely and effectively with macromolecules. Second, a large-molecular-weight imaging tracer can be used successfully to deliver, monitor in vivo, and control the distribution of small- and large-molecular-weight putative therapeutic agents for treatment of intrinsic brainstem processes.

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Russell R. Lonser, Stuart Walbridge, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Svetlana D. Pack, Tung T. Nguyen, Nitin Gogate, Jeffery J. Olson, Aytac Akbasak, R. Hunt Bobo, Thomas Goffman, Zhengping Zhuang, and Edward H. Oldfield

Object. To determine the acute and long-term effects of a therapeutic dose of brain radiation in a primate model, the authors studied the clinical, laboratory, neuroimaging, molecular, and histological outcomes in rhesus monkeys that had received fractionated whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT).

Methods. Twelve 3-year-old male primates (Macaca mulatta) underwent fractionated WBRT (350 cGy for 5 days/week for 2 weeks, total dose 3500 cGy). Animals were followed clinically and with laboratory studies and serial magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. They were killed when they developed medical problems or neurological symptoms, lesions appeared on MR imaging, or at study completion. Gross, histological, and molecular analyses were then performed.

Nine (82%) of 11 animals that underwent long-term follow up (> 2.5 years) developed neurological symptoms and/or enhancing lesions on MR imaging, which were defined as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), 2.9 to 8.3 years after radiation therapy. The GBMs were categorized as either unifocal (three) or multifocal (six), and were located in the supratentorial (six), infratentorial (two), or both (one) cranial regions. Histological examination revealed distant, noncontiguous tumor invasion within the white matter of all nine animals harboring GBMs. Novel interspecies comparative genomic hybridization (three animals) uniformly showed deletions in the GBMs that corresponded to chromosome 9 in humans.

Conclusions. The high rate of GBM formation (82%) following a therapeutic dose of WBRT in nonhuman primates indicates that radioinduction of these neoplasms as a late complication of this therapy may occur more frequently than is currently recognized in human patients. The development of these tumors while monitoring the monkeys' conditions with clinical and serial MR imaging studies, and access to the tumor and the entire brain for histological and molecular analyses offers an opportunity to gather unique insights into the nature and development of GBMs.

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Jeffrey W. Degen, Stuart Walbridge, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Edward H. Oldfield, and Russell R. Lonser

Object. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) can be used safely to perfuse regions of the central nervous system (CNS) with therapeutic agents in a manner that bypasses the blood—brain barrier (BBB). These features make CED a potentially ideal method for the distribution of potent chemotherapeutic agents with certain pharmacokinetic properties to tumors of the CNS. To determine the safety and efficacy of the CED of two chemotherapeutic agents (with properties ideal for this method of delivery) into the CNS, the authors perfused naive rats and those harboring 9L gliomas with carboplatin or gemcitabine.

Methods. Dose-escalation toxicity studies were performed by perfusing the striatum (10 µl, 24 rats) and brainstem (10 µl, 16 rats) of naive rats with carboplatin (0.1, 1, and 10 mg/ml) or gemcitabine (0.4, 4, and 40 mg/ml) via CED. Efficacy trials involved the intracranial implantation of 9L tumor cells in 20 Fischer 344 rats. The tumor and surrounding regions were perfused with 40 µl of saline (control group, four rats), 1 mg/ml of carboplatin (four rats), or 4 mg/ml of gemcitabine (four rats) 7 days after implantation. Eight rats harboring the 9L glioma were treated with the systemic administration of 60 mg/kg of carboplatin (four rats) or 150 mg/kg of gemcitabine (four rats) 7 days postimplantation. Clinical, gross, and histological analyses were used to determine toxicity and efficacy.

Toxicity occurred in rats that had received only the highest dose of the CED of carboplatin or gemcitabine. Among rats with 9L gliomas, all control and systemically treated animals died within 26 days of tumor implantation. Long-term survival (120 days) and eradication of the tumor occurred in both CED-treated groups (75% of rats in the carboplatin group and 50% of rats in the gemcitabine group). Furthermore, animals harboring the 9L glioma and treated with intratumoral CED of carboplatin or gemcitabine survived significantly longer than controls treated with intratumoral saline (p < 0.01) or systemic chemotherapy (p < 0.01).

Conclusions. The perfusion of sensitive regions of the rat brain can be accomplished without toxicity by using therapeutic concentrations of carboplatin or gemcitabine. In addition, CED of carboplatin or gemcitabine to tumors in this glioma model is safe and has potent antitumor effects. These findings indicate that similar treatment paradigms may be useful in the treatment of glial neoplasms in humans.

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David Croteau, Stuart Walbridge, Paul F. Morrison, John A. Butman, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Dennis Johnson, Edward H. Oldfield, and Russell R. Lonser

Object. Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is increasingly used to distribute therapeutic agents to locations in the central nervous system. The optimal application of convective distribution of various agents requires the development of imaging tracers to monitor CED in vivo in real time. The authors examined the safety and utility of an iodine-based low-molecular-weight surrogate tracer for computerized tomography (CT) scanning during CED.

Methods. Various volumes (total volume range 90–150 µ1) of iopamidol (MW 777 D) were delivered to the cerebral white matter of four primates (Macaca mulatta) by using CED. The distribution of this imaging tracer was determined by in vivo real-time and postinfusion CT scanning (≤ 5 days after infusion [one animal]) as well as by quantitative autoradiography (14C-sucrose [all animals] and 14C-dextran [one animal]), and compared with a mathematical model. Clinical observation (≤ 5 months) and histopathological analyses were used to evaluate the safety and toxicity of the tracer delivery.

Real-time CT scanning of the tracer during infusion revealed a clearly definable region of perfusion. The volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly (r2 = 0.97) with an increasing volume of infusion (Vi). The overall Vd/Vi ratio was 4.1 ± 0.7 (mean ± standard deviation) and the distribution of infusate was homogeneous. Quantitative autoradiography confirmed the accuracy of the imaged distribution for a small (sucrose, MW 359 D) and a large (dextran, MW 70 kD) molecule. The distribution of the infusate was identifiable up to 72 hours after infusion. There was no clinical or histopathological evidence of toxicity in any animal.

Conclusions. Real-time in vivo CT scanning of CED of iopamidol appears to be safe, feasible, and suitable for monitoring convective delivery of drugs with certain features and low infusion volumes.

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Gabriel C. Tender, Stuart Walbridge, Zoltan Olah, Laszlo Karai, Michael Iadarola, Edward H. Oldfield, and Russell R. Lonser

Object. Neuropathic pain is mediated by nociceptive neurons that selectively express the vanilloid receptor 1 (VR1). Resiniferatoxin (RTX) is an excitotoxic VR1 agonist that causes destruction of VR1-positive neurons. To determine whether RTX can be used to ablate VR1-positive neurons selectively and to eliminate hyperalgesia and neurogenic inflammation without affecting tactile sensation and motor function, the authors infused it unilaterally into the trigeminal ganglia in Rhesus monkeys.

Methods. Either RTX (three animals) or vehicle (one animal) was directly infused (20 µl) into the right trigeminal ganglion in Rhesus monkeys. Animals were tested postoperatively at 1, 4, and 7 weeks thereafter for touch and pain perception in the trigeminal distribution (application of saline and capsaicin to the cornea). The number of eye blinks, eye wipes, and duration of squinting were recorded. Neurogenic inflammation was tested using capsaicin cream. Animals were killed 4 (one monkey) and 12 (three monkeys) weeks postinfusion. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses were performed.

Throughout the duration of the study, response to high-intensity pain stimulation (capsaicin) was selectively and significantly reduced (p < 0.001, RTX-treated compared with vehicle-treated eye [mean ± standard deviation]): blinks, 25.7 ± 4.4 compared with 106.6 ± 20.8; eye wipes, 1.4 ± 0.8 compared with 19.3 ± 2.5; and squinting, 1.4 ± 0.6 seconds compared with 11.4 ± 1.6 seconds. Normal response to sensation was maintained. Animals showed no neurological deficit or sign of toxicity. Neurogenic inflammation was blocked on the RTX-treated side. Immunohistochemical analysis of the RTX-treated ganglia showed selective elimination of VR1-positive neurons.

Conclusions. Nociceptive neurons can be selectively ablated by intraganglionic RTX infusion, resulting in the elimination of high-intensity pain perception and neurogenic inflammation while maintaining normal sensation and motor function. Analysis of these findings indicated that intraganglionic RTX infusion may provide a new treatment for pain syndromes such as trigeminal neuralgia as well as others.

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Gabriel C. Tender, Stuart Walbridge, Zoltan Olah, Laszlo Karai, Michael Iadarola, Edward H. Oldfield, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Neuropathic pain is mediated by nociceptive neurons that selectively express the vanilloid receptor 1 (VR1). Resiniferatoxin (RTX) is an excitotoxic VR1 agonist that causes destruction of VR1-positive neurons. To determine whether RTX can be used to ablate VR1-positive neurons selectively and to eliminate hyperalgesia and neurogenic inflammation without affecting tactile sensation and motor function, the authors infused it unilaterally into the trigeminal ganglia in Rhesus monkeys.

Methods

Either RTX (three animals) or vehicle (one animal) was directly infused (20 μl) into the right trigeminal ganglion in Rhesus monkeys. Animals were tested postoperatively at 1, 4, and 7 weeks thereafter for touch and pain perception in the trigeminal distribution (application of saline and capsaicin to the cornea). The number of eye blinks, eye wipes, and duration of squinting were recorded. Neurogenic inflammation was tested using capsaicin cream. Animals were killed 4 (one monkey) and 12 (three monkeys) weeks postinfusion. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses were performed.

Throughout the duration of the study, response to high-intensity pain stimulation (capsaicin) was selectively and significantly reduced (p < 0.001, RTX-treated compared with vehicle-treated eye [mean ± standard deviation]): blinks, 25.7 ± 4.4 compared with 106.6 ± 20.8; eye wipes, 1.4 ± 0.8 compared with 19.3 ± 2.5; and squinting, 1.4 ± 0.6 seconds compared with 11.4 ± 1.6 seconds. Normal response to sensation was maintained. Animals showed no neurological deficit or sign of toxicity. Neurogenic inflammation was blocked on the RTX-treated side. Immunohistochemical analysis of the RTX-treated ganglia showed selective elimination of VR1-positive neurons.

Conclusions

Nociceptive neurons can be selectively ablated by intraganglionic RTX infusion, resulting in the elimination of high-intensity pain perception and neurogenic inflammation while maintaining normal sensation and motor function. Analysis of these findings indicated that intraganglionic RTX infusion may provide a new treatment for pain syndromes such as trigeminal neuralgia as well as others.

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Gregory J. A. Murad, Stuart Walbridge, Paul F. Morrison, Nicholas Szerlip, John A. Butman, Edward H. Oldfield, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

To determine if the potent antiglioma chemotherapeutic agent gemcitabine could be delivered to the brainstem safely at therapeutic doses while monitoring its distribution using a surrogate magnetic resonance (MR) imaging tracer, the authors used convection-enhanced delivery to perfuse the primate brainstem with gemcitabine and Gd–diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA).

Methods

Six primates underwent convective brainstem perfusion with gemcitabine (0.4 mg/ml; two animals), Gd-DTPA (5 mM; two animals), or a coinfusion of gemcitabine (0.4 mg/ml) and Gd-DTPA (5 mM; two animals), and were killed 28 days afterward. These primates were observed over time clinically (six animals), and with MR imaging (five animals), quantitative autoradiography (one animal), and histological analysis (all animals). In an additional primate, 3H-gemcitabine and Gd-DTPA were coinfused and the animal was killed immediately afterward.

In the primates there was no histological evidence of infusate-related tissue toxicity. Magnetic resonance images obtained during infusate delivery demonstrated that the anatomical region infused with Gd-DTPA was clearly distinguishable from surrounding noninfused tissue. Quantitative autoradiography confirmed that Gd-DTPA tracked the distribution of 3H-gemcitabine and closely approximated its volume of distribution (mean volume of distribution difference 13.5%).

Conclusions

Gemcitabine can be delivered safely and effectively to the primate brainstem at therapeutic concentrations and at volumes that are higher than those considered clinically relevant. Moreover, MR imaging can be used to track the distribution of gemcitabine by adding Gd-DTPA to the infusate. This delivery paradigm should allow for direct therapeutic application of gemcitabine to brainstem gliomas while monitoring its distribution to ensure effective tumor coverage and to maximize safety.

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Russell R. Lonser, Katherine E. Warren, John A. Butman, Zenaide Quezado, R. Aaron Robison, Stuart Walbridge, Raphael Schiffman, Marsha Merrill, Marion L. Walker, Deric M. Park, David Croteau, Roscoe O. Brady, and Edward H. Oldfield

✓Recent preclinical studies have demonstrated that convection-enhanced delivery (CED) can be used to perfuse the brain and brainstem with therapeutic agents while simultaneously tracking their distribution using coinfusion of a surrogate magnetic resonance (MR) imaging tracer. The authors describe a technique for the successful clinical application of this drug delivery and monitoring paradigm to the brainstem. Two patients with progressive intrinsic brainstem lesions (one with Type 2 Gaucher disease and one with a diffuse pontine glioma) were treated with CED of putative therapeutic agents mixed with Gd–diethylenetriamene pentaacetic acid (DTPA). Both patients underwent frameless stereotactic placement of MR imaging–compatible outer guide–inner infusion cannulae. Using intraoperative MR imaging, accurate cannula placement was confirmed and real-time imaging during infusion clearly demonstrated progressive filling of the targeted region with the drug and Gd-DTPA infusate. Neither patient had clinical or imaging evidence of short- or long-term infusate-related toxicity. Using this technique, CED can be used to safely perfuse targeted regions of diseased brainstem with therapeutic agents. Coinfused imaging surrogate tracers can be used to monitor and control the distribution of therapeutic agents in vivo. Patients with a variety of intrinsic brainstem and other central nervous system disorders may benefit from a similar treatment paradigm.

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Nicholas J. Szerlip, Stuart Walbridge, Linda Yang, Paul F. Morrison, Jeffrey W. Degen, S. Taylor Jarrell, Joshua Kouri, P. Benjamin Kerr, Robert Kotin, Edward H. Oldfield, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Despite recent evidence showing that convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of viruses and virus-sized particles to the central nervous system (CNS) is possible, little is known about the factors influencing distribution of these vectors with convection. To better define the delivery of viruses and virus-sized particles in the CNS, and to determine optimal parameters for infusion, the authors coinfused adeno-associated virus ([AAV], 24-nm diameter) and/or feru-moxtran-10 (24 nm) by using CED during real-time magnetic resonance (MR) imaging.

Methods

Sixteen rats underwent intrastriatal convective coinfusion with 4 μl of 35S-AAV capsids (0.5–1.0 × 1014 viral particles/ml) and increasing concentrations (0.1, 0.5, 1, and 5 mg/ml) of a similar sized iron oxide MR imaging agent (ferumoxtran-10). Five nonhuman primates underwent either convective coinfusion of 35S-AAV capsids and 1 mg/ml ferumoxtran-10 (striatum, one animal) or infusion of 1 mg/ml ferumoxtran-10 alone (striatum in two animals; frontal white matter in two). Clinical effects, MR imaging studies, quantitative autoradiography, and histological data were analyzed.

Results

Real-time, T2-weighted MR imaging of ferumoxtran-10 during infusion revealed a clearly defined hypo-intense region of perfusion. Quantitative autoradiography confirmed that MR imaging of ferumoxtran-10 at a concentration of 1 mg/ml accurately tracked viral capsid distribution in the rat and primate brain (the mean difference in volume of distribution [Vd] was 7 and 15% in rats and primates, respectively). The Vd increased linearly with increasing volume of infusion (Vi) (R2 = 0.98). The mean Vd/Vi ratio was 4.1 ± 0.2 (mean ± standard error of the mean) in gray and 2.3 ± 0.1 in white matter (p < 0.01). The distribution of infusate was homogeneous. Postinfusion MR imaging revealed leakback along the cannula track at infusion rates greater than 1.5 μl/minute in primate gray and white matter. No animal had clinical or histological evidence of toxicity.

Conclusions

The CED method can be used to deliver AAV capsids and similar sized particles to the CNS safely and effectively over clinically relevant volumes. Moreover, real-time MR imaging of ferumoxtran-10 during infusion reveals that AAV capsids and similar sized particles have different convective delivery properties than smaller proteins and other compounds.

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Jay Jagannathan, Stuart Walbridge, John A. Butman, Edward H. Oldfield, and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Convection-enhanced delivery (CED) is increasingly used to investigate new treatments for central nervous system disorders. Although the properties of CED are well established in normal gray and white matter central nervous system structures, the effects on drug distribution imposed by ependymal and pial surfaces are not precisely defined. To determine the effect of these anatomical boundaries on CED, the authors infused low MW and high MW tracers for MR imaging near ependymal (periventricular) and pial (pericisternal) surfaces.

Methods

Five primates underwent CED of Gd-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA; MW 590 D) or Gd-bound albumin (Gd-albumin; MW 72,000 D) during serial real-time MR imaging (FLAIR and T1-weighted sequences). Periventricular (caudate) infusions were performed unilaterally in 1 animal (volume of infusion [Vi] 57 μl) and bilaterally in 1 animal with Gd-DTPA (Vi = 40 μl on each side), and bilaterally in 1 animal with Gd-albumin (Vi = 80 μl on each side). Pericisternal infusions were performed in 2 animals with Gd-DTPA (Vi = 190 μl) or with Gd-albumin (Vi = 185 μl) (1 animal each). Clinical effects, MR imaging, and histology were analyzed.

Results

Large regions of the brain and brainstem were perfused with both tracers. Intraparenchymal distribution was successfully tracked in real time by using T1-weighted MR imaging. During infusion, the volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly (R2 = 0.98) with periventricular (mean Vd/Vi ratio ± standard deviation; 4.5 ± 0.5) and pericisternal (5.2 ± 0.3) Vi, but did so only until the leading edge of distribution reached the ependymal or pial surfaces, respectively. After the infusate reached either surface, the Vd/Vi decreased significantly (ependyma 2.9 ± 0.8, pia mater 3.6 ± 1.0; p < 0.05) and infusate entry into the ventricular or cisternal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was identified on FLAIR but not on T1-weighted MR images.

Conclusions

Ependymal and pial boundaries are permeable to small and large molecules delivered interstitially by convection. Once infusate reaches these surfaces, a portion enters the adjacent ventricular or cisternal CSF and the tissue Vd/Vi ratio decreases. Although T1-weighted MR imaging is best for tracking intraparenchymal infusate distribution, FLAIR MR imaging is the most sensitive and accurate for detecting entry of Gd-labeled imaging compounds into CSF during CED.