Biomimetic Nanoparticles for Enhanced Drug Delivery Efficacy in Solid and Secondary Tumors
The delivery of therapeutically active nanomaterials to solid tumors has been found to be very challenging. Many physical and pharmacological attempts have been made to try and increase blood circulation times, by reducing removal of the nanomaterials by immune cells, and to try and get the nanomaterials more specifically towards the tumor itself, but thus far, these attempts have only resulted in minor improvements. Here, we aim to focus on a different approach, called biomimicry, in which we will coat the nanomaterials with cell-derived membranes. By using cells that naturally have long blood circulation times or possess a clear intrinsic ability to migrate towards tumors, the membrane-coated nanomaterials can avoid immune clearance and result in more specific localization in tumors. The project itself will focus on the development of optical imaging methods that are able to monitor nanomaterial biodistribution and successful delivery to tumors at high sensitivity and speed in a non-invasive manner. Furthermore, different cells will be used to obtain membranes for coating the nanomaterials. Cells will also be stimulated and genetically modified to increase the level of cell surface receptors that maximize cell migration. This approach will then be tested in two challenging models, being therapeutically resistant pancreatic cancer and animals with primary tumor and secondary metastases where therapeutic efficacy will be compared to common approaches.