The blood-brain barrier (BBB) presents a significant obstacle to delivery of targeted therapies to brain tumors. In this issue of the JCI, Staquicini and colleagues apply an in vivo phage-displayed library of random peptides to identify differentially expressed peptides that can be used to transport targeted agents across the intact BBB. The authors uncover a non-canonical, peptide-mediated iron-mimicry mechanism to induce transport of the transferrin/transferrin receptor complex across the BBB. They then demonstrate the ability of phage-targeting approaches to deliver therapeutic cargo and molecular imaging reporters across the BBB in an intracranial glioblastoma mouse model.
David Nathanson, Paul S. Mischel
Peptide-mediated iron mimicry transports the transferrin/TfR complex across the BBB, delivering therapeutic and imaging cargo.