Obtaining nanoparticles (NPs) with widely tunable immune-interaction qualities - stealth, long-circulating or immune cells-targeted - through understanding and controlling the mechanisms operating at the nano-host interface

We want to gain a comprehensive understanding of nanomaterials-host interplay to tame body’s defenses and adverse immune reactions to fully therapeutic potential of nanomedicines

  • We will develop strategies to map, study, modulate and exploit nanoparticle (NP)
  • Immune interactions


State-of-the-art approaches will include:

Inception of novel, but simple, coating engineering based on new organic polymers and conjugation chemistry, rational polymer pairing and zwitterionic lipids

Engineering (with a green-chemistry approach) of libraries of host or microbial derived modulators of the innate immunity (particularly of the complement system)

Designing and pre-clinical testing of next generation therapeutic nanovaccines (i.e. NPs with optimized multivalent neo-antigen presentation and immunostimulatory cues) and immune- modulating NPs directly targeting tumor cells or immune suppressive cells.

Specific DIRNANO goals:

Improving NPs stealth efficacy by decoding the logic used by the immune system to discriminate their surface properties

Avoiding misleading preclinical-human extrapolations in NP medical translation by understanding species-specific NP immune recognition mechanisms

Document the therapeutic efficacy of drug and photosensitizer-carrying NPs targeting cancer and tumor microenvironment immunosuppressive cells (e.g. TAM)

Improving the targeting of dendritic cells by tumor neoantigens-coupled NPs and the anti-tumor nanovaccination efficacy

Combining polymer conditioning of nanoparticle surfaces to achieve staple tightly-packed long-chain random-coil configuration to minimize statistical protein intercalation/binding

Introducing new pathway-specific complement inhibitors and developing of new green chemical synthetic methods for sustainable generation of complement inhibitors

Identification of optimized cholesterol analogues improving liposome stability and stealth properties and interfering with tumor metabolism for enhanced tumoricidal efficacy

Bricklaying molecules for nano-building- how does nanotechnology work?

Dirnano counts on experienced nanotechnologists to design innovative curing agents. As the stone-age technology dealt with the ability to work stones to produce more and more sophisticated tools due to defined shapes and material consistence, nanotechnology deals with the ability to produced nanoparticles with a precise geometric design and atomic composition.

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Tiny but smart – What are nanoparticles?

Dirnano exploits nanoparticles. These are not wierd or alien entities, they are around us in the natural word. We humans have learned how to manifacture nps, because they have several applications, especially in medicine.

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Out of the Ivory Tower - Training for science and for spinnig of

DIRNANO is not just doing science; being a MSCA-ITN ETN project it will realize a thorough training program.  Recruited Early Stage Researchers will receive an ample scientific and academic education but also business, ethical, leadership, team-work, communication and social transferable skills.

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Tale or …Future? - Our vision

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.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 956544
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