The whole network shares the goal of governing the ability of nanoparticles to escape or to target immune cells on demand.
Escaping for best biocompatibility and pharmacokinetics profile and targetting for vaccine or anti cancer-therapy.
Wouldn’t it be gorgeous to build very small objects capable to avoid body defenses and carry drugs to cure cancer cells or other tissues, or to reveal the presence of diseases?
And, contrarywise, wouldn’t it be marvelous to guide similar particles, now loaded with immunizing agents, straight into the mouth of immune cells to get safe and more and more effective vaccines against microbes or even cancer cells? Or to dump incurable and painful autoinflammatory chronic diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis?
Sure, it would be, but it looks like …. science fiction!
Well… not really, this is not a tale and we indeed took this challenge seriously in our DIRNANO project to make it …happen in the real world!
In this project we will deeply study how nanoparticles interact with the body defense lines, in other words the immune system, and we will learn how to guide nanoparticles to their target. The key element of our project is the coating of the nanoparticles, which plays several fundamental roles. Indeed, it shields the nanoparticles from the outer environment, determining both their stability but also their detection by the host organism. Hence, “stealth” coatings allow the nanoparticles to bypass the immune system and target the diseased tissues, while “stimulating” coatings increase the capture by the immune system and stimulate a targeted response. The DIRNANO goal is exactly this, understand how the coating controls the biological fate of nanoparticles and how we can exploit it to fulfill our needs.