Preterm labor caused by uterine contractions is a major contributor to neonatal morbidity and mortality. Treatment intended to reduce uterine contractions include tocolytic agents, such as indomethacin. Unfortunately, clinically used tocolytics are frequently inefficient and cross the placenta causing fetal side effects. Here we show for the first time in obstetrics the use of a targeted nanoparticle directed to the pregnant uterus and loaded with a tocolytic for reducing its placental passage and sustaining its efficacy. Nanoliposomes encapsulating indomethacin and decorated with clinically used oxytocin receptor antagonist were designed and evaluated in-vitro, ex-vivo and in-vivo. The proposed approach resulted in targeting uterine cells in-vitro, inhibiting uterine contractions ex-vivo, while doubling uterine drug concentration, decreasing fetal levels, and maintaining the preterm birth rate in vivo in a pregnant mouse model. This promising approach opens new horizons for drug development in obstetrics that could greatly impact preterm birth, which currently has no successful treatments.
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