Micro-syringe chip-guided intratumoral administration of lipid nanoparticles for targeted anticancer therapy

Jeongrae Kim, Sunejeong Song, Minjun Gwak, Hanhee Cho, Wan Su Yun, Namcheol Hwang, Jinseong Kim, Jun Seo Lee, Dong Hwee Kim, Hyuncheol Kim, Seong Ik Jeon, Tae il Kim, Kwangmeyung Kim

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Background: Nano-sized drug delivery system has been widely studied as a potential technique to promote tumor-specific delivery of anticancer drugs due to its passive targeting property, but resulting in very restricted improvements in its systemic administration so far. There is a requirement for a different approach that dramatically increases the targeting efficiency of therapeutic agents at targeted tumor tissues. Methods: To improve the tumor-specific accumulation of anticancer drugs and minimize their undesirable toxicity to normal tissues, a tumor-implantable micro-syringe chip (MSC) with a drug reservoir is fabricated. As a clinically established delivery system, six liposome nanoparticles (LNPs) with different compositions and surface chemistry are prepared and their physicochemical properties and cellular uptake are examined in vitro. Subsequently, MSC-guided intratumoral administration is studied to identify the most appropriate for the higher tumor targeting efficacy with a uniform intratumoral distribution. For efficient cancer treatment, pro-apoptotic anticancer prodrugs (SMAC-P-FRRG-DOX) are encapsulated to the optimal LNPs (SMAC-P-FRRG-DOX encapsulating LNPs; ApoLNPs), then the ApoLNPs are loaded into the 1 μL-volume drug reservoir of MSC to be delivered intratumorally for 9 h. The tumor accumulation and therapeutic effect of ApoLNPs administered via MSC guidance are evaluated and compared to those of intravenous and intratumoral administration of ApoLNP in 4T1 tumor-bearing mice. Results: MSC is precisely fabricated to have a 0.5 × 4.5 mm needle and 1 μL-volume drug reservoir to achieve the uniform intratumoral distribution of LNPs in targeted tumor tissues. Six liposome nanoparticles with different compositions of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-glycero-3-phosphocholine (PC), 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-L-serine (PS), 1,2-dioleoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane (DOTAP), and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine-N-[methoxy (polyethylene glycol)2000] (PEG2000-DSPE) are prepared with average sizes of 100–120 nm and loaded into the 1 μL-volume drug reservoir in MSC. Importantly negatively charged 10 mol% of PS-containing LNPs are very slowly infused into the tumor tissue through the micro-syringe of the MSC over 6 h. The intratumoral targeting efficiency of MSC guidance is 93.5%, effectively assisting the homogeneous diffusion of LNPs throughout the tumor tissue at 3.8- and 2.7-fold higher concentrations compared to the intravenous and intratumoral administrations of LNPs, respectively. Among the six LNP candidates 10 mol% of PS-containing LNPs are finally selected for preparing pro-apoptotic SMAC-P-FRRG-DOX anticancer prodrug-encapsulated LNPs (ApoLNPs) due to their moderate endocytosis rate high tumor accumulation and homogenous intratumoral distribution. The ApoLNPs show a high therapeutic effect specifically to cathepsin B-overexpressing cancer cells with 6.6 μM of IC50 value while its IC50 against normal cells is 230.7 μM. The MSC-guided administration of ApoLNPs efficiently inhibits tumor growth wherein the size of the tumor is 4.7- and 2.2-fold smaller than those treated with saline and intratumoral ApoLNP without MSC, respectively. Moreover, the ApoLNPs remarkably reduce the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) level in tumor tissues confirming their efficacy even in cancers with high drug resistance. Conclusion: The MSC-guided administration of LNPs greatly enhances the therapeutic efficiency of anticancer drugs via the slow diffusion mechanism through micro-syringe to tumor tissues for 6 h, whereas they bypass most hurdles of systemic delivery including hepatic metabolism, rapid renal clearance, and interaction with blood components or other normal tissues, resulting in the minimum toxicity to normal tissues. The negatively charged ApoLNPs with cancer cell-specific pro-apoptotic prodrug (SMAC-P-FRRG-DOX) show the highest tumor-targeting efficacy when they are treated with the MSC guidance, compared to their intravenous or intratumoral administration in 4T1 tumor-bearing mice. The MSC-guided administration of anticancer drug-encapsulated LNPs is expected to be a potent platform system that facilitates overcoming the limitations of systemic drug administration with low delivery efficiency and serious side effects. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
JournalBiomaterials Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Korean Society for Biomaterials.


  • Anticancer therapy
  • Drug delivery system
  • Intratumoral administration
  • Lipid nanoparticle
  • Micro-syringe


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