Congratulations to Sahily Reyes-Esteves and Jia Nong for being featured as the inside back cover of the Journal of Controlled Release Volume 356, April 2023!
Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) is one of the most common causes of fatal stroke, yet has no specific drug therapies. Many attempts at passive intravenous (IV) delivery in ICH have failed to deliver drugs to the salvageable area around the hemorrhage. The passive delivery method assumes vascular leak through the ruptured blood-brain barrier will allow drug accumulation in the brain. Here we tested this assumption using intrastriatal injection of collagenase, a well-established experimental model of ICH. Fitting with hematoma expansion in clinical ICH, we showed that collagenase-induced blood leak drops significantly by 4 h after ICH onset and is gone by 24 h. We observed passive-leak brain accumulation also declines rapidly over ∼4 h for 3 model IV therapeutics (non-targeted IgG; a protein therapeutic; PEGylated nanoparticles). We compared these passive leak results with targeted brain delivery by IV monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that actively bind vascular endothelium (anti-VCAM, anti-PECAM, anti-ICAM). Even at early time points after ICH induction, where there is high vascular leak, brain accumulation via passive leak is dwarfed by brain accumulation of endothelial-targeted agents: At 4 h after injury, anti-PECAM mAbs accumulate at 8-fold higher levels in the brain vs. non-immune IgG; anti-VCAM nanoparticles (NPs) deliver a protein therapeutic (superoxide dismutase, SOD) at 4.5-fold higher levels than the carrier-free therapeutic at 24 h after injury. These data suggest that relying on passive vascular leak provides inefficient delivery of therapeutics even at early time points after ICH, and that a better strategy might be targeted delivery to the brain endothelium, which serves as the gateway for the immune attack on the peri-hemorrhage inflamed brain region.