Minimizing the non-specific binding of nanoparticles to the brain enables active targeting of Fn14-positive glioblastoma cells

Craig S. Schneider, Jimena G. Perez, Emily Cheng, Clark Zhang, Panagiotis Mastorakos, Justin Hanes, Jeffrey A. Winkles, Graeme F. Woodworth, Anthony J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


A major limitation in the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM), the most common and deadly primary brain cancer, is delivery of therapeutics to invading tumor cells outside of the area that is safe for surgical removal. A promising way to target invading GBM cells is via drug-loaded nanoparticles that bind to fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14), thereby potentially improving efficacy and reducing toxicity. However, achieving broad particle distribution and nanoparticle targeting within the brain remains a significant challenge due to the adhesive extracellular matrix (ECM) and clearance mechanisms in the brain. In this work, we developed Fn14 monoclonal antibody-decorated nanoparticles that can efficiently penetrate brain tissue. We show these Fn14-targeted brain tissue penetrating nanoparticles are able to (i) selectively bind to recombinant Fn14 but not brain ECM proteins, (ii) associate with and be internalized by Fn14-positive GBM cells, and (iii) diffuse within brain tissue in a manner similar to non-targeted brain penetrating nanoparticles. In addition, when administered intracranially, Fn14-targeted nanoparticles showed improved tumor cell co-localization in mice bearing human GBM xenografts compared to non-targeted nanoparticles. Minimizing non-specific binding of targeted nanoparticles in the brain may greatly improve the access of particulate delivery systems to remote brain tumor cells and other brain targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-51
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Brain tissue penetration
  • Fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14)
  • Glioblastoma (GBM)
  • Multiple particle tracking (MPT)
  • Surface plasmon resonance (SPR)
  • Targeted nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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