Targeting peripheral immune organs with self-assembling prod
Organ transplantation has become a mainstay of therapy for patients with end-stage organ diseases. However, long-term administration of immunosuppressive agents, a scheme for improving the survival of transplant recipients, has been compromised by severe side effects and posttransplantation complications.

Therapeutic delivery targeting immune organs has the potential to address these unmet medical issues. Here, through screening of a small panel of mammalian targets of rapamycin complex kinase inhibitor (TORKinib) compounds, a TORKinib PP242 is identified to be able to inhibit T-cell function.

Further chemical derivatization of PP242 using polyunsaturated fatty acids (i.e., docosahexaenoic acid, DHA) transforms this water-insoluble hydrophobic agent into a self-assembling nanoparticle (DPNP). Surface PEGylation of DPNP with amphiphilic copolymers renders the nanoparticles aqueously soluble for preclinical studies.

Systemically administered DPNP shows tropism for macrophages within peripheral immune organs. Furthermore, DPNP regulates differentiation of adoptively transferred T cells in a macrophage-dependent manner in Rag1-/- mouse model. In an experimental model of heart transplantation, DPNP significantly extends the survival of grafts through inducing immune suppression thus reducing the inflammatory response of the recipients.

These findings suggest that targeted delivery of TORKinibs exploiting prodrug-assembled nanoparticle scaffolds may provide a therapeutic option against organ rejection.

American Journal of Transplant