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Polymersomes decorated with transferrin and evaluation of their stability and drug release behavior

Grant number: 19/08549-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2019
Effective date (End): June 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Biomedical Engineering
Principal Investigator:André Moreni Lopes
Grantee:Mayra Caroline Cunha Câmara
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCF). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/10789-1 - Combinatorial therapy using polymersomes decorated with transferrin and incorporated into chitosan hydrogels as smart drug delivery systems for melanoma tumor cells, AP.JP


The combinatorial approach of drugs (co-therapy) has been widely used in cancer therapy. Recent clinical studies have shown that treatments that combine free drugs may increase tumor regression rates compared to individual administration. However, a relevant aspect to be considered is related to the dose-dependent toxicity of the co-therapeutic administration of drugs. Moreover, this obstacle can be overcome by using the co-encapsulation of drugs in nanostructures (NEs). In this case, polymersomes (Ps) can provide the co-encapsulation of drugs (hydrophilic and hydrophobic) and provide not only decrease of the chances of cellular resistance to any of the drugs but also possible side effects. Although promising results are achieved using this approach, some limitations may occur primarily because of the low specificity of NEs to tumor cells, resulting in delivery in areas distant from the target site (with low therapeutic effect). On the other hand, drug delivery to target cells can be improved by employing site-directed delivery strategies. Human serum transferrin (Tf) has been employed in the decoration of NEs as a powerful targeting agent for tumor cells, since the transferrin receptor (TfR) is overexpressed in different types of tumor cells, including melanoma, glioblastoma, breast carcinoma, among others. In this context, the objective of this project will be to investigate the conjugation of Tf to Ps (Ps-Tf), as well as to study the stability and behavior of drug release (individually and simultaneously) in vitro from Ps-Tf, as well as to evaluate the physicochemical characteristics of the Ps decorated with Tf.

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