Research ArticleNANOBIOLOGY

Therapeutic Inflammatory Monocyte Modulation Using Immune-Modifying Microparticles

Science Translational Medicine  15 Jan 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 219, pp. 219ra7
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3007563

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A New Frontier in Immune Modulation

Inflammatory monocytes markedly potentiate the immune pathology observed in many diseases, yet no therapy exists that specifically inhibits these cells. The therapeutic accessibility of monocytes in the bloodstream and their inherent propensity to engulf particulate material suggest that highly negatively charged microparticles might provide a readily translatable solution to this problem. These microparticles, referred to as immune-modifying microparticles (IMPs), may be derived from numerous compounds, including the biodegradable polymer poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA-IMP), already used in humans for inter alia dissolvable sutures. Getts et al. now show that upon infusion, IMPs bind to a receptor with a positive domain on inflammatory monocytes, resulting in monocyte sequestration in the spleen and apoptosis through a similar pathway observed for senescing leukocytes. This safe monocyte clearance pathway culminated in substantially reduced inflammatory tissue damage in mouse models of West Nile virus encephalitis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, peritonitis, colitis, and myocardial infarction. Together, the data suggest that IMPs could transform the treatment of acute inflammation. Indeed, phase 1/2 testing is planned to begin in 2014, with rapid translation supported by the availability of clinical-grade PLGA.