Oral candidiasis is the most common fungal infection in the mouth, caused especially by the yeast Candida albicans. Antifungal drugs are commonly used, but currently the recurrence of the infection is often observed. Thus, it is necessary to develop new approaches, such as new bioactive molecules and effective delivery and targeting systems. Curcumin, extracted from the rhizome of the herb Curcuma longa, is an important natural colorant and has a wide range of pharmacological activities including an anti-microbial one. In addition, curcumin has been studied as a potent photosensitizer in photodynamic therapy. The latter has been established as a powerful alternative approved by health agencies of several countries for treatment of various diseases such as cancerous and precancerous lesions. The great pharmacological potential of curcumin and its therapeutic applications are mainly limited by its physical and chemical characteristics, such as low water solubility. A liquid crystal precursor mucoadhesive system (LCPMS) has been shown to be a good alternative as drug delivery vehicle for hydrophobic drugs. However, in addition to toxic effects on microbes, curcumin-loaded LCPMS may present cytotoxicity, therefore needs be studied. The International Standard Organization recommends that the evaluation of biocompatibility of materials must first be demonstrated via in vitro cytotoxicity assays. So, it is indispensable to evaluate the toxicity as well as the internalization mechanism of the developed system in cells, in order to provide the basis for in vivo analysis and future clinical application. This evaluation shall be carried out in the present project.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: