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Arman Jahangiri, Aaron T. Chin, Patrick M. Flanigan, Rebecca Chen, Krystof Bankiewicz and Manish K. Aghi

Glioblastoma is the most common malignant brain tumor, and it carries an extremely poor prognosis. Attempts to develop targeted therapies have been hindered because the blood-brain barrier prevents many drugs from reaching tumors cells. Furthermore, systemic toxicity of drugs often limits their therapeutic potential. A number of alternative methods of delivery have been developed, one of which is convection-enhanced delivery (CED), the focus of this review. The authors describe CED as a therapeutic measure and review preclinical studies and the most prominent clinical trials of CED in the treatment of glioblastoma. The utilization of this technique for the delivery of a variety of agents is covered, and its shortcomings and challenges are discussed in detail.

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Toshio Kikuchi, Ryuta Saito, Shin-ichirou Sugiyama, Yoji Yamashita, Toshihiro Kumabe, Michal Krauze, Krystof Bankiewicz and Teiji Tominaga

Object

The characteristics of polyethylene glycol–coated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD), the only liposomal drug now clinically available for intravenous injection, were investigated after convection-enhanced delivery (CED) into the rat brain parenchyma.

Methods

The distribution, tissue retention, and toxicity profile were evaluated after CED into the rat brain parenchyma. The antitumor efficacy was also determined in rodent intracranial U-251MG and U-87MG glioma models.

Results

Convection-enhanced delivery of PLD achieved wider distributions and delayed onset of toxicity in the brain parenchyma compared with CED of free doxorubicin infusion. Fluorescence generated from doxorubicin infused as PLD was detected until at least 30 days after infusion. Local toxicity was not observed when a 10% dilution of the commercially available PLD solution was used (0.2 mg/ml doxorubicin), but was significant at higher concentrations. Results after 10% PLD was delivered locally with CED demonstrated significant survival prolongation in both intracranial U-251MG and U-87MG xenograft models.

Conclusions

Convection-enhanced delivery of PLD achieved extensive tissue distribution and sustained drug release. Convection-enhanced delivery of PLD is a promising chemotherapy for the treatment of malignant gliomas.

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Vanja Varenika, Peter Dickinson, John Bringas, Richard LeCouteur, Robert Higgins, John Park, Massimo Fiandaca, Mitchel Berger, John Sampson and Krystof Bankiewicz

Object

The authors have shown that convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of gadoteridol-loaded liposomes (GDLs) into different regions of normal monkey brain results in predictable, widespread distribution of this tracking agent as detected by real-time MR imaging. They also have found that this tracking technique allows monitoring of the distribution of similar nanosized agents such as therapeutic liposomes and viral vectors. A limitation of this procedure is the unexpected leakage of liposomes out of targeted parenchyma or malignancies into sulci and ventricles. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of CED after the onset of these types of leakage.

Methods

The authors documented this phenomenon in a study of 5 nonhuman primates and 7 canines, comprising 54 CED infusion sessions. Approximately 20% of these infusions resulted in leakage into cerebral ventricles or sulci. All of the infusions and leakage events were monitored with real-time MR imaging. The authors created volume-distributed versus volume-infused graphs for each infusion session. These graphs revealed the rate of distribution of GDL over the course of each infusion and allowed the authors to evaluate the progress of CED before and after leakage.

Results

The distribution of therapeutics within the target structure ceased to increase or resulted in significant attenuation after the onset of leakage.

Conclusions

An analysis of the cases in this study revealed that leakage undermines the efficacy of CED. These findings reiterate the importance of real-time MR imaging visualization during CED to ensure an accurate, robust distribution of therapeutic agents.

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Michal T. Krauze, Ryuta Saito, Charles Noble, Matyas Tamas, John Bringas, John W. Park, Mitchel S. Berger and Krystof Bankiewicz

Object. Clinical application of the convection-enhanced delivery (CED) technique is currently limited by low infusion speed and reflux of the delivered agent. The authors developed and evaluated a new step-design cannula to overcome present limitations and to introduce a rapid, reflux-free CED method for future clinical trials.

Methods. The CED of 0.4% trypan blue dye was performed in agarose gel to test cannula needles for distribution and reflux. Infusion rates ranging from 0.5 to 50 µl/minute were used. Agarose gel findings were translated into a study in rats and then in cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) by using trypan blue and liposomes to confirm the efficacy of the reflux-free step-design cannula in vivo.

Results of agarose gel studies showed reflux-free infusion with high flow rates using the step-design cannula. Data from the study in rats confirmed the agarose gel findings and also revealed increasing tissue damage at a flow rate above 5-µl/minute. Robust reflux-free delivery and distribution of liposomes was achieved using the step-design cannula in brains in both rats and nonhuman primates.

Conclusions. The authors developed a new step-design cannula for CED that effectively prevents reflux in vivo and maximizes the distribution of agents delivered in the brain. Data in the present study show reflux-free infusion with a constant volume of distribution in the rat brain over a broad range of flow rates. Reflux-free delivery of liposomes into nonhuman primate brain was also established using the cannula. This step-design cannula may allow reflux-free distribution and shorten the duration of infusion in future clinical applications of CED in humans.

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Piotr Hadaczek, Hanna Mirek, Mitchel S. Berger and Krystof Bankiewicz

Object. Low efficacy of gene transfer, transient gene expression, and toxicity of viral vectors are the major hurdles in successful anticancer gene therapy. The authors conducted in vitro (U87MG cell line) and in vivo (xenograft, tumor-bearing rodent model) studies to address the stability of transduction by using the adenoassociated virus serotype-2 (AAV2)—thymidine kinase (TK) vector over time.

Methods. Standard methods for cell growth and a ganciclovir (GCV) cytotoxicity assay were applied. The AAV2-TK was infused into implanted tumors in athymic rats via convection-enhanced delivery (CED). Thymidine kinase expression was evaluated through immunohistochemical analysis, and the distribution volumes of the transduced tumors were calculated. Twenty-four hours following the viral infusions, animals were treated with GCV (50 mg/kg intraperitoneally every day for 10 days; six rats) or phosphate-buffered saline (six rats).

A rapid decrease in TK expression over time was observed both in vitro and in vivo. A large volume of the tumor (up to 39%) was transduced with AAV2-TK following CED. Administration of GCV resulted in limited therapeutic effects (survival of 25.8 compared with 21.3 days).

Conclusions. Rapid elimination of TK expression from dividing tumor cells and focal transduction of the brain tumor were most likely responsible for the limited bystander effect in this approach. Immediate administration of GCV is crucial to assure maximal efficacy in the elimination of cancer cells. In addition, the complete or diffused transduction of a brain tumor with TK may be required for its total eradication.