Effects of inhalable gene transfection as a novel gene therapy for non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma

Scientific Reports 2022 May 23 [Link]

Misa Ichikawa, Naomi Muramatsu, Wataru Matsunaga, Takahiro Ishikawa, Tomoyuki Okuda, Hirokazu Okamoto, Akinobu Gotoh


Gene therapy using vectors has attracted attention in recent years for the treatment of cancers caused by gene mutations. Besides, new treatments are imperative for lung cancer, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), due to its high mortality. We developed a minimally invasive and orally inhalable tumor suppressor gene drug (SFD-p16 and SFD-p53) with non-viral vectors for lung cancer treatment by combining tumor suppressor genes with an inhalant powder that can deliver active ingredients directly to the lung. We used NSCLC (A549 and H1299) and MPM (H2052) cell lines in an air-liquid interface culture. Transfection of A549 and H2052 cells with SFD-p16 significantly increased p16 mRNA expression levels and decreased cell proliferation in both cell lines. Similar results were obtained with transfection of H1299 with the inhalable gene drug SFD-p53. In an in vivo experiment, a mouse model of lung cancer with orthotopically transplanted luciferase-expressing A549 cells was subjected to intratracheal insufflation of SFD-p16. Consequently, SFD-p16 effectively and directly affected lung cancer. This study suggests that inhalable gene drugs are effective treatments for NSCLC and MPM. We expect inhalable gene drugs to present a novel gene therapy agent for lung cancer that patients can self-administer.