|Abstract:|| Multifunctional nanoconstructs are particle-based nano-scale systems designed for the ‘smart' delivery of therapeutic and imaging agents. The Laboratory of Nanotechnology for Precision Medicine synthesizes polymeric nanoconstructs with different sizes, ranging from a few tens of nanometers to a few microns; shapes, including spherical, cubical and discoidal; surface properties, with positive, negative, neutral coatings; and mechanical stiffness, varying from that of cells to rigid, inorganic materials, such as iron oxide. These are the 4S parameters – size, shape, surface, stiffness – which can be precisely tuned in the synthesis process enabling disease- and patient-specific designs of multifunctional nanoconstructs.
In this lecture, the application of these nanoconstructs to the detection and treatment of cancer lesions and cardiovascular diseases, such as thrombosis and atherosclerosis, is discussed. The contribution of the 4S parameters in modulating nanoconstruct sequestration by the mononuclear phagocyte system, organ specific accumulation, and blood longevity is also critically presented. These polymeric nanoconstructs can be loaded with a variety of therapeutic payloads – anti-cancer molecules (docetaxel, paclitaxel, doxorubicin), anti-inflammatory molecules (curcumin, diclofenac, celecoxib) and small biologicals (peptides, siRNAs, miRNAs); and imaging agents – optical probes; Gd and iron oxide nanoparticles for MR imaging; and radio-isotopes for Nuclear Imaging.
Furthermore, the lecture presents on the fabrication and testing of microfluidic chips for analyzing the vascular and extravascular mass transport, over multiple spatial and temporal scales, of molecules, nanoparticles and cells. These microfluidic-chips can help in elucidating biophysical mechanisms modulating progression and regression of various diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative, as well as in developing organ-on-a-chip systems for rapid drug and nanomedicine screenings and tissue regeneration.