Polymer Therapeutics: The First Polymeric Nanomedicines
Polymer Therapeutics could be considered the first polymeric nanomedicines. Clinical proof of concept for polymer conjugates has been achieved in anti-cancer therapy, although many challenges and opportunities still lie ahead, providing scope to further develop this technology platform. Delivery of new anti-cancer agents (focusing on novel molecular targets and their combination), development of both new and exciting polymeric materials with defined architectures, and treatment of diseases other than cancer, are the most exciting and promising areas, and are therefore the chosen research lines in the Polymer Therapeutics Laboratory.
In this context, our research activity is focused on the design of second generation polymer conjugates, novel nanomedicines with application in cancer and tissue regeneration as therapeutics, as well as molecular diagnostic tools. The development of novel biodegradable polymeric carriers, the use of combination therapy, or the design of nanoconjugates directed at novel molecular targets, including novel treatments for neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer's Disease and Spinal Cord Injury), are some of the approaches we are following in order to achieve highly specific and effective nanopharmaceuticals.
Our polymeric systems are mainly based on L-glutamic acid and are designed to allow the study of the influence of the spatial conformation on the intracellular trafficking of bioactive agents, allowing for the exploration of a broader range of therapeutic applications. Quantitative tools for the study of cell and in vivo fate of our nanopharmaceuticals are also being implemented. Additionally, polymer multivalency allows the use of combination therapy and even the presence of targeting residues (antibodies or peptides) markedly enhancing the therapeutic value of these hybrid nanoconstructs.
Our MyNano project is funded by an Horizon 2020 European Research Council Consolidator Grant (ERC-2014-CoG). See here for more details.