Applications in anti-cancer therapy have demonstrated the clinical proof of concept for Polymer Therapeutics, considered the first polymeric nanomedicines. Seventeen polymer therapeutics have met market approval, and two polymer therapeutics found themselves within the US top-ten best selling drugs (Copaxone and Neulasta). However, even in the face of many new advances, the multiple challenges that still lie ahead will provide opportunities for the development of this exciting technological platform and the generation of novel nanomedicines to treat primary cancer development and metastasis.
Our research activity focuses on the design of specific and effective second-generation polymer-drug conjugates as nanosized therapeutics and molecular diagnostic tools. Research lines within the Polymer Therapeutics laboratory at the CIPF include i) the development of single or combination of anti-cancer drugs via biodegradable polymer conjugation targeted at novel molecular targets, ii) the development of innovative polymeric materials with defined architectures, and iii) the treatment of conditions beyond cancer, such as Alzheimer's disease, skin disorders, and spinal cord injury.
We mainly base our polymeric systems on L-glutamic acid, and our design strategies allow us to investigate the influence of spatial conformation on intracellular trafficking, pharmacokinetics and whole body biodistribution of bioactive agents, thereby permitting the exploration of a broad range of therapeutic applications. To his end, we have implemented an impressive array of quantitative tools for the in vitro and in vivo study of nanomedicine fate. Of note, the multivalency afforded by L-glutamic acid polymers fosters the development of nanomedicines containing multiple drug combinations alongside targeting moieties (e.g., antibodies or peptides) and/or diagnostic moieties, thereby facilitating the creation of hybrid nanomedicines with enhanced therapeutic value.
Our MyNano project is funded by an Horizon 2020 European Research Council Consolidator Grant (ERC-2014-CoG). See here for more details.