Language:
eu
es
en
Basque Research Elhuyar - Zientzia

BASQUE RESEARCH
 Basque research, development and innovation web site

Contact:
Komunikazio Bulegoa
UPV/EHU
Contact details:
komunikazioa@ehu.es
(+34) 946012065
UPV/EHU

2013/2/28

Researchers show that lipid nanoparticles are ideal for delivering genes and drugs

At the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Basque Public University (UPV/EHU) the Pharmacokinetics, Nanotechnology and Gene Therapy research team is using nanotechnology to develop new formulations that can be applied to drugs and gene therapy.Specifically, they are using nanoparticles todesignsystems for delivering genes and drugs; this helps to get the genes and drugs tothe point of action so that they can produce the desired effect.

The research team has shown that lipid nanoparticles, which they have been working on for several years, are ideal for acting as vectors in gene therapy.Gene therapy is a highly promising alternative for diseases that so far have no effective treatment.It consists of delivering a nucleic acid, for example, a therapeutic gene, to modulate the expression of a protein that is found to be altered in a specific disease, thus reversing the biological disorder.

The main obstacle is that the genetic material cannot be formulated in conventional pharmaceutical ways, because it becomes degraded within the organism and cannot perform its function.To overcome this obstacle, viral vectors are normally used and they are able to deliver the therapeutic gene to the cells in which it has to act.However, as Dr Alicia Rodriguez explains, “viral vectors have a great drawback because they have a great potential to develop tumours.That is why there is a lot of interest in developing non-viral vectors, like vectors based on lipid nanoparticles.”

“In this respect,” adds Dr Rodriguez, “we have for several years been working to develop formulations for treating degenerative retina diseases, diseases for which there is currently no effective curative or palliative treatment and which causes blindness in the patients who in many cases are very young people."The research they have done has borne fruit already, and they have in fact managed to develop a vector capable of making a protein express itself in the eyes of rats after ocular delivery.The work has produced two patents and various papers published in top scientific journals, like Human Gene Therapy.

Aim:to improve drug absorption

Another application of lipid nanoparticles is to develop new formulations to deliver drugs that are not particularly soluble or which are difficult to absorb.Dr Rodriguez explained the problem with these drugs:“40% of the new pharmacologically active molecules are reckoned to be insoluble or not very soluble in water; that prevents many of these potentially active molecules from ever reaching the clinic because of the problems involved in developing a safe, effective formulation.”

The Faculty of Pharmacy’s research team has shown that the strategy of encapsulating drugs of this type in lipid nanoparticles is effective:“They are spheres made of lipids and they have very small particleswhich encase the drug.That way, the absorption of the drug given orally can be increased,” points out Dr Rodriguez.

Part of the research was done in collaboration with the research team led by DrVéroniquePréat, of the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.There they studied the capacity of the nanoparticles to pass through the intestinal barrier and therefore increase the permeability of the drug.The results of this work have been published in the Journal of Controlled Release, a leading journal within the specialty.

Furthermore, while considerable advances have been made in both areas (vectors for gene therapy and improvement in insoluble drug absorption), the researchers in the Pharmacokinetics, Nanotechnology and Gene Therapy team are working in a third area linked to hepatitis C in which they also hope to achieve positive results.

Farmakologia, Bioteknologia Go to top of page
Internet reference
www.ehu.es
Additional information
Images
Documents
Go to top of page

Search

Search in Basque Research [ Advanced search ]

Login

Users data

Navigation

Main menu

Go to top of page

Thesis Prize and International network

Go to top of page Go to top of page

Statistics

Go to top of page

XML RSS Feeds

Go to top of page

Standars and accesibility

Go to top of page

Register

Go to top of page

Menu for registered users

Go to top of page


BR Eraberritzen Bloga


Services

Go to top of page Go to top of page

Sponsors:

Eusko Jaurlaritza

The use of the contents of this website is forbidden without permission.

Copyright © 2007 Elhuyar Fundazioa

basqueresearch@elhuyar.com