Nanomedicine has emerged as a field of medicine that exploits nanomaterials either in development of drug formulations or in tissue engineering. In the core of bionanotechnology as a field is the exploration of the interactions between engineered nanostructure with biomolecules and cells.
Pancreatic cancer cells (cell membrane in red, nucleus in blue) with drug nano carrier ( in green).
Within a large collaborative project funded by UK Research Council we are developing drug nanocarriers for hard-to-treat cancers such as pancreatic and lung cancer, characterised by dense, heterogenous tumour tissue known as stroma. Our approach involves use of biopolymer carriers decorated with anti-stromal and targeting species for improved drug delivery.
We also explore therapeutic and diagnostic strategies for ageing (senescent) cells, particularly those aged as a result of the chemotherapeutic treatment (with our collaborator Daniel Munoz Espin), use our nanostructured biopolymers to design a new generation of DNA nanocarriers (work done in collaboration with Astra Zeneca), and develop functionalised silicon nanowires for neuronal rewiring in collaboration with Ballerini and Tian labs.
In the heart of drug carrier design is the identification of suitable biomarkers to enable precise targeting of diseased cells and tissues. Such work requires collaboration with cancer biologist and clinicians, as well as use of multiple detection and validation strategies.