eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) eCM Open Access Scientific Journal
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2024   Volume No 47 – pages 152-169

Title: Development of an 'off-the-shelf' gene therapeutic nanoparticle formulation for incorporation into biomaterials for regenerative medicine applications

Authors:  DG O'Shea, T Hodgkinson, JE Dixon, CM Curtin, FJ O'Brien

Address: Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG), RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, 123 St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland

E-mail: fjobrien at

Abstract: Traumatic musculoskeletal injuries require advanced therapeutic intervention to heal effectively. Regenerative medicine research has aimed to address this by using biomaterials to deliver gene therapeutic nanoparticles (NPs) to the injury site to direct healing. However, clinical translation has proven challenging due to the short shelf-life of NPs and requirements for cold storage conditions. Thus, this study aimed to investigate lyophilisation as a process to formulate 'off-the-shelf' NPs that can be incorporated into biomaterial scaffolds at the point of use and can be stored and transported at ambient temperatures. To this end, NPs consisting of a non-viral delivery vector, glycosaminoglycan-enhanced transduction (GET) peptide, complexed with plasmid DNA (pDNA), were formulated at three charge ratios (CRs - 6, 9, 12) and lyophilised. Firstly, the effects of lyophilisation on NP physicochemical properties were investigated; it did not affect NP size, polydispersity or charge. Next, the ability of the lyophilised NPs to express the pDNA cargo in mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) 2D monolayer culture was assessed. Transfection with lyophilised NPs at each CR promoted stable transgene expression and furthermore, once lyophilised, transgene expression could be maintained following long-term storage at room temperature. Transfection with lyophilised GET-pSOX9 NPs also significantly increased MSC-mediated articular cartilage matrix deposition in methacrylated hyaluronic acid (MeHA)-collagen type II (Col II) injectable hydrogel scaffolds, highlighting the therapeutic potential of this NP formulation. In conclusion, this study outlines an effective method for formulating 'off-the-shelf' NPs for regenerative medicine applications that could be applied to the musculoskeletal system as well as other tissues.

Keywords: Regenerative medicine, gene therapy, non-viral gene delivery, lyophilisation, gene-activated scaffolds, gene-activated hydrogels.

Publication date: May 23th 2024

Copyright policy: © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Forum Multimedia Publishing, LLC. This article is distributed in accordance with Creative Commons Attribution Licence (

Article download: Pages 152-169 (PDF file)

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