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Edjah K. Nduom, Stuart Walbridge and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Although pulsatile and continuous infusion paradigms have been described for convective delivery of drugs, the effectiveness and properties of each flow paradigm are unknown. To determine the effectiveness and properties of pulsatile and continuous convective infusion paradigms, the authors compared these convective flow methods in the gray and white matter of primates.

Methods

Six primates (Macaca mulatta) underwent convective infusion of Gd-DPTA (5 mM) into the cerebral gray matter (thalamus) or white matter (frontal lobe) using pulsed (intermittent pulses of 15 μl/min) or continuous (1 μl/min) convective flow. Results were assessed by clinical MRI and histological analyses.

Results

Distribution of Gd-DTPA infusate in gray and white matter by pulsed and continuous flow was clearly identified using MRI, which revealed that both convective flow methods demonstrated an increase in the volume of distribution (Vd) with increasing volume of infusion (Vi) in the surrounding gray and white matter. Although the mean (± SD) gray matter Vd:Vi ratio for the pulsed infusions (4.2 ± 0.5) was significantly lower than the mean Vd:Vi ratio for continuous infusions (5.4 ± 0.5; a 22% difference [p = 0.0006]), the difference between pulsed (3.8 ± 0.4) and continuous (4.3 ± 1.2) infusions in white matter was not significantly different (p = 0.3). Pulsed infusions were associated with more leakback (12.3% ± 6.4% of Vi) than continuous infusions (3.9% ± 7.8%), although this difference was not significant (p = 0.2). All animals tolerated the infusions and there was no histological evidence of tissue injury at the infusion sites.

Conclusions

Although pulsed and continuous infusion flow paradigms can be safely and effectively used for convective delivery into both gray and white matter, continuous infusion is associated with a higher Vd:Vi ratio than pulsatile infusion in gray matter. High rates of infusion (15 μl/min) can be used to deliver infusate without any significant leakback and without any clinical or histological evidence of injury.

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Walter A. Hall, Marsha J. Merrill, Stuart Walbridge and Richard J. Youle

✓ Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and transferrin receptor levels were determined in 14 intracranial neoplasms (four glioblastomas multiforme, four medulloblastomas, four ependymomas, one cerebellar astrocytoma, and one acoustic neurinoma) and in four samples of “normal” brain tissue. A competitive radioreceptor assay with 125I-epidermal growth factor and 125I-transferrin was performed using the primitive neuroectodermal tumor-derived TE-671 tissue-culture cell line as a standard. Epidermal growth factor receptors were present on TE-671 cells, all four ependymomas, and two of the four glioblastomas multiforme. The number of EGFR's per cell for ependymomas were estimated to range from 1000 to 6000. Transferrin receptors were detected on TE-671 cells, two of the four medulloblastomas, and one of the four glioblastomas multiforme. A cell surface binding assay, performed directly on the rat ependymal cell monolayer, was also analyzed.

The identification of EGFR's on ependymomas and TR's on medulloblastomas suggests that malignant central nervous system tumors that spread by cerebrospinal fluid pathways may be treatable by intrathecal antibody-toxin conjugates. The presence of EGFR's on all of the ependymomas may reflect a role of the receptor in the malignant phenotype of this tumor.

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Ashok R. Asthagiri, Stuart Walbridge, John D. Heiss and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Accurate real-time imaging of coinfused surrogate tracers can be used to determine the convective distribution of therapeutic agents. To assess the effect that a concentration of a Gd-based surrogate tracer has on the accuracy of determining the convective distribution, the authors infused different concentrations of Gd-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA) in primates during MR imaging.

Methods

Five nonhuman primates underwent convective infusion (1 or 5 mM, 21–65 μl) of Gd-DTPA alone, Gd-DTPA and 14C-sucrose, or Gd-DTPA and 14C-dextran into the bilateral striata. Animals underwent real-time MR imaging during infusion (5 animals) and autoradiographic analysis (2 animals).

Results

Gadolinium-DTPA could be seen filling the striata at either concentration (1 or 5 mM) on real-time MR imaging. While the volume of distribution (Vd) increased linearly with the volume of infusion (Vi) for both concentrations of tracer (1 mM: R2 = 0.83; 5 mM: R2 = 0.96), the Vd/Vi ratio was significantly (p < 0.0001) less for the 1-mM (2.3 ± 1.0) as compared with the 5-mM (7.4 ± 1.9) concentration. Autoradiographic and MR volumetric analysis revealed that the 5-mM concentration most accurately estimated the Vd for both small (sucrose [359 D], 12% difference between imaging and autoradiographic distribution) and large (dextran [70 kD], 0.2% difference) molecules compared with the 1-mM concentration (sucrose, 65% difference; dextran, 68% difference).

Conclusions

The concentration of infused Gd-DTPA plays a critical role in accurately assessing the distribution of molecules delivered by CED. A 5-mM concentration of Gd-DTPA most accurately estimated the Vd over a wide range of molecular sizes.

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John D. Heiss, Stuart Walbridge, Ashok R. Asthagiri and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Muscimol is a potent γ-aminobutyric acid-A receptor agonist that temporarily and selectively suppresses neurons. Targeted muscimol suppression of neuronal structures could provide insight into the pathophysiological processes and treatment of a variety of neurological disorders. To determine if muscimol delivered to the brain by convection-enhanced delivery could be monitored using a coinfused surrogate MR imaging tracer, the authors perfused the striata of primates with tritiated muscimol and Gd–diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA).

Methods

Three primates underwent convective coinfusion of 3H-muscimol (0.8 μM) and Gd-DTPA (5 mM) into the bilateral striata. Primates underwent serial MR imaging during infusion, and the animals were killed immediately after infusion. Postmortem quantitative autoradiography and histological analysis was performed.

Results

Real-time MR imaging revealed that infusate (tritiated muscimol and Gd-DTPA) distribution was clearly discernible from the noninfused parenchyma. Real-time MR imaging of the infusion revealed the precise region of anatomical perfusion in each animal. Imaging analysis during infusion revealed that the distribution volume (Vd) of infusate linearly increased (R = 0.92) with volume of infusion (Vi). Overall, the mean (± SD) Vd/Vi ratio was 8.2 ± 1.3. Autoradiographic analysis revealed that MR imaging of Gd-DTPA closely correlated with the distribution of 3H-muscimol, and precisely estimated its Vd (mean difference in Vd, 7.4%). Quantitative autoradiograms revealed that muscimol was homogeneously distributed over the perfused region in a square-shaped concentration profile.

Conclusions

Muscimol can be effectively delivered to clinically relevant volumes of the primate brain. Moreover, the distribution of muscimol can be tracked using coinfusion of Gd-DTPA and MR imaging. The ability to perform accurate monitoring and to control the anatomical extent of muscimol distribution during its convection-enhanced delivery will enhance safety, permit correlations of muscimol distribution with clinical effect, and should lead to an improved understanding of the pathophysiological processes underlying a variety of neurological disorders.

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Stephen C. Saris, Paul Spiess, Daniel M. Lieberman, Shan Lin, Stuart Walbridge and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Methods have recently been described for the isolation and expansion of lymphocytes that have trafficked into animal and human tumors. These CD8-positive tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL's) have exceptional trafficking ability to, and efficacy against, tumor targets in extracranial sites. Prior to Phase I clinical trials for patients with gliomas, adoptive immunotherapy with TIL's was studied in a mouse model of primary brain tumors to determine if intracerebral tumors have a similar response.

Glioma 261 (GL261) tumors were grown in the subcutaneous space of C57BL/6 mice. After enzymatic digestion, the cells were incubated in vitro with interleukin-2 (IL-2) until a confluent population of T lymphocytes was present. The in vitro efficacy of these TIL's was tested against fresh GL261 targets with a chromium release assay; the in vivo efficacy was tested against GL261 tumors in the liver and against irradiated and nonirradiated GL261 tumors in the brain. Mice received one of the following: intraperitoneal saline; intraperitoneal IL-2 (7500 to 50,000 U three times daily for 5 days); IL-2 plus intravenous TIL's (1 to 3 × 107 cells); 10 Gy cranial irradiation; irradiation plus IL-2; or irradiation plus IL-2 plus TIL's.

The TIL preparation killed 77% of tumor targets in 4 hours at an effector:target ratio of 100:1. In animals with GL261 tumors in the liver, at 2 weeks there were 93 ± 37, 128 ± 45, and 21 ± 14 liver metastases in the control, IL-2, and IL-2 plus TIL groups, respectively. However, in animals with GL261 tumors in the brain, no treatment group had an increased survival rate compared to the control group.

It is concluded that, although TIL and IL-2 immunotherapy can be used effectively to treat brain tumors in vitro and at sites outside the central nervous system, it is ineffective against the same type of tumor in the brain. Different methods of delivery or different combinations of these immunomodulators may be more effective; however, based on these findings, treatment of patients with IL-2 and TIL cannot be recommended until efficacy has been demonstrated in an animal model.

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Zvi Ram, Kenneth W. Culver, Stuart Walbridge, Joseph A. Frank, R. Michael Blaese and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Retroviral-mediated transfer of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSVtk) gene into malignant tumors confers drug susceptibility to the antiviral drug ganciclovir. The authors have recently shown that in situ transduction of the rat 9L brain tumor following HSVtk-producer cell implantation led to tumor regression after ganciclovir administration in treated rats. A wide spectrum of potential adverse effects may, however, be associated with the application of this approach to treat brain tumors, including dissemination of the retroviral vector to nontumoral tissues within or outside the central nervous system, proliferation of the injected murine vector-producer cells at the injection site, immune-mediated responses to the implantation of xenogeneic cells, and damage to the brain from toxic by-products of the HSVtk-ganciclovir interaction. These possibilities were investigated using intracerebral and systemic injections of retroviral vector-producer cells carrying the HSVtk or the lacZ gene in mice, rats, and nonhuman primates.

Using the lacZ gene as a reporter gene, no evidence of β-galactosidase activity consistent with vector transduction was detected in any major body organ in the treated mice or rats. Similarly, the HSVtk gene transfer did not result in toxicity, with or without ganciclovir administration. In studies using rat and monkey models, no proliferation of the vector-producer cells occurred after intracerebral injection. Vector-producer cell survival was limited to 7 to 14 days. High-dose steroid therapy did not appear to extend the survival of these xenogeneic cells in rats. No significant inflammatory response was observed in the meninges or brain parenchyma. Endothelial cells were occasionally transduced in brain capillaries adjacent to the injected site of the vector-producer cells. Injection of producer cells into brain tissue elicited mild edema and reactive gliosis surrounding the injection site, which were probably the cause of a transient toxic response arising 4 to 5 days following injection of the producer cells; short-term administration of dexamethasone eliminated that response. No neurological deficits were observed in the rats or primates treated with the HSVtk vector-producer cells, with or without ganciclovir. In primates injected with producer cells, magnetic resonance imaging before, during, and after ganciclovir administration showed minimal and localized breakdown of the blood-brain barrier without significant edema or mass effect. Similarly, histological examination of the monkeys' brains showed no damage to neurons, astroglia, or myelin. Long-term clinical (> 9 months) and radiological (3 months) assessment of the primates has revealed no evidence of toxicity. The results of these studies indicate that intratumoral implantation of HSVtk-producer cells can be attempted for the treatment of brain tumors, without anticipating significant adverse toxicity to normal brain or remote proliferating tissues.

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Zvi Ram, Stuart Walbridge, Thomas Shawker, Kenneth W. Culver, R. Michael Blaese and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Eradication of malignant brain tumors by in situ intratumoral, retrovirally mediated transfer of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSVtk) gene, which sensitizes the tumor cells to ganciclovir, has recently been demonstrated in animal models. The observation that tumors studied in vitro and in animals can be completely eliminated despite only partial transduction of the tumor suggests a bystander mechanism that affects nontransduced tumor cells. Such a bystander effect is not completely understood and may represent a combination of several factors that lead to tumor eradication. Endothelial cells of the tumor blood vessels were shown to occasionally integrate the retroviral vector and thus become sensitized to ganciclovir. In the presence of vector-producer cells, which continuously release infectious viral particles, diffuse multifocal hemorrhages occurred during ganciclovir administration. When the tumor was composed of cells that had been transduced with the thymidine kinase gene before inoculation, no infectious viral particles were present within the tumor, no transduction of endothelial cells occurred, and no hemorrhages were observed during ganciclovir therapy. These observations suggest that tumor regression may be due, in part, to destruction of in vivo HSVtk-transduced endothelial cells after exposure to ganciclovir, resulting in tumor ischemia as one possible bystander mechanism.

The authors investigated this hypothesis using the subcutaneous 9L gliosarcoma tumor model in Fischer rats. The tumors were evaluated with Doppler color-flow and ultrasound imaging during the various phases of the study. Twenty rats received intratumoral injections of HSVtk retroviral vector-producer cells (6 × 107 cells/ml) 21 days after bilateral flank tumor inoculation. Ten rats were subsequently treated with intraperitoneal ganciclovir (15 mg/kg/ml twice a day) for 14 days starting on Day 7 after producer cell injection; 10 control rats received intraperitoneal saline injections (1 ml twice a day) instead of ganciclovir. Ultrasound and flow images were obtained before cell injection, before and during ganciclovir or saline administration, and after cessation of treatment. The number, location, and ultrasonographic appearance of tumor vessels and the tumor volumes were recorded.

The number of blood vessels in the tumors increased over time in both groups before treatment. Intratumoral cell injection without ganciclovir administration did not influence tumor growth or intratumoral vasculature. However, tumor vasculature decreased after initiation of ganciclovir therapy in the HSVtk-transduced tumors (p < 0.05). Early patchy or diffuse necrotic changes associated with ultrasonographic evidence of scattered intratumoral hemorrhage occurred in tumors treated with ganciclovir. Reduction of the tumor blood supply may be an important feature of HSVtk transduction-mediated tumor regression and may, at least partially, account for the degree of tumor destruction that occurs despite the lack of transduction of all tumor cells.

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Zvi Ram, Stuart Walbridge, John D. Heiss, Kenneth W. Culver, R. Michael Blaese and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ The authors have recently shown the feasibility of eradicating brain tumors using in vivo retroviral-mediated transduction of tumors with the herpes simplex thymidine kinase (HStk) gene and ganciclovir therapy. However, thymidine kinase-transduced subcutaneous tumors in immunocompromised (athymic) mice were less responsive to this therapy than in immunocompetent animals, suggesting a role of the immune system in the process of tumor eradication. Broad suppression of humoral and cell-mediated immunity is found in patients with malignant gliomas. Interleukin-2 (IL-2) production and IL-2 receptor expression are decreased in glioma patients. These findings and the proposed association between lymphocytic infiltration of brain tumors and survival suggest that immune response modifiers may be useful in treating glioma patients.

To evaluate the role of local cytokine expression by tumor cells, alone or combined with HStk gene transfer and ganciclovir therapy, the authors investigated the efficacy of tumor (9L gliosarcoma) eradication in Fischer rats by in vitro and in vivo tumor transduction with the IL-2 gene alone or with a combined vector carrying both the HStk and IL-2 genes. Tumors injected with HStk vector-producer cells alone, with or without ganciclovir, and rats inoculated in the brain and subcutaneously with 9L cells that had previously been transduced in vitro served as controls. Murine vector-producer cells (3 × 106/50 µl) were injected into the brain tumors 7 days after tumor inoculation. Ganciclovir (15 mg/kg) was administered intraperitoneally twice daily for 10 days to animals that received HStk with or without IL-2 vector-producer cells, starting 5 days after producer-cell injection. The experiment was repeated with continuous daily treatment of all rats with oral dexamethasone (0.5 mg/kg). Rats were sacrificed 21 days after tumor inoculation, and the brains were removed for histological and immunohistochemical analysis for IL-2. Within each experimental group, tumors were found in a similar proportion in the dexamethasone-treated and untreated rats. Large brain tumors developed in all 10 rats that had been inoculated with 9L cells which had been pretransduced in vitro with the IL-2 gene, whereas only three of eight rats receiving subcutaneous inoculation of similar cells developed palpable tumors. No enhancement of tumor eradication was observed by adding the IL-2 gene in the HStk vector construct compared to the use of the vector with HStk alone. Lymphocytic infiltration was absent in all dexamethasone-treated rats but was observed in all treatment groups not receiving steroids. The degree of lymphocytic infiltration was not enhanced by intratumoral injection of IL-2 or IL-2/HStk vector-producer cells.

The findings suggest a limited role, if any, for immune enhancement by transduction with IL-2 to eradicate brain tumors, either used alone or in combination with HStk.

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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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Alexander Ksendzovsky, Stuart Walbridge, Richard C. Saunders, Ashok R. Asthagiri, John D. Heiss and Russell R. Lonser

Object

Recent studies indicate that M13 bacteriophage, a very large nanoparticle, binds to β-amyloid and α-synuclein proteins, leading to plaque disaggregation in models of Alzheimer and Parkinson disease. To determine the feasibility, safety, and characteristics of convection-enhanced delivery (CED) of M13 bacteriophage to the brain, the authors perfused primate brains with bacteriophage.

Methods

Four nonhuman primates underwent CED of M13 bacteriophage (900 nm) to thalamic gray matter (4 infusions) and frontal white matter (3 infusions). Bacteriophage was coinfused with Gd-DTPA (1 mM), and serial MRI studies were performed during infusion. Animals were monitored for neurological deficits and were killed 3 days after infusion. Tissues were analyzed for bacteriophage distribution.

Results

Real-time T1-weighted MRI studies of coinfused Gd-DTPA during infusion demonstrated a discrete region of perfusion in both thalamic gray and frontal white matter. An MRI-volumetric analysis revealed that the mean volume of distribution (Vd) to volume of infusion (Vi) ratio of M13 bacteriophage was 2.3 ± 0.2 in gray matter and 1.9 ± 0.3 in white matter. The mean values are expressed ± SD. Immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated mean Vd:Vi ratios of 2.9 ± 0.2 in gray matter and 2.1 ± 0.3 in white matter. The Gd-DTPA accurately tracked M13 bacteriophage distribution (the mean difference between imaging and actual bacteriophage Vd was insignificant [p > 0.05], and was –2.2% ± 9.9% in thalamic gray matter and 9.1% ± 9.5% in frontal white matter). Immunohistochemical analysis revealed evidence of additional spread from the initial delivery site in white matter (mean Vd:Vi, 16.1 ± 9.1). All animals remained neurologically intact after infusion during the observation period, and histological studies revealed no evidence of toxicity.

Conclusions

The CED method can be used successfully and safely to distribute M13 bacteriophage in the brain. Furthermore, additional white matter spread after infusion cessation enhances distribution of this large nanoparticle. Real-time MRI studies of coinfused Gd-DTPA (1 mM) can be used for accurate tracking of distribution during infusion of M13 bacteriophage.