Our research interests are focused on nanomaterials for biomedical applications, especially Drug & gene delivery. Our group has been among the first ones to create nano-bottles, by sealing the opened ends of nanocarriers after loading molecules inside. This strategy, based on the nanocarriers’ interior with favorable energy towards molecules’ adsorption, protects drugs from premature deactivation and non-specific interactions.
Concurrently, we have been developing some nano-needle devices and nanoformulations for transdermal delivery of drugs. Our purpose is to exploit some of our nanoformulations and to apply them to different pathological conditions, ranging from cancer, chronic inflammatory diseases, immunotherapy, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.
In the last few years, our interest has shifted from synthetic materials (e.g. carbon nanotubes) to explore cell-derived nanovesicles (CDNs). These nanovesicles retain the natural targeting properties of parent cells (while conventional drug delivery systems require artificial insertions of targeting moieties) and utilize innate mechanisms of internalization and trafficking, which enhance permeability into target cells and might be further exploited to deliver drugs and/or genetic material.
A small project is also devoted to the synthesis, characterization and structure-activity-relationship profile of new chemical entities for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.