Ústav makromolekulární chemie AV ČR
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Polymerní a koloidní imunoterapeutika

The Department was established in 2021 as a part of the Biomacromolecular and Bioanalogous Systems Center of the IMC CAS. The members of the Department are experts in the field of organic and/or polymer synthesis and materials science with extensive experience in solving many synthetic and physicochemical challenges related to the constructions of polymer- and colloid-based delivery platforms of various bioactive compounds in vivo. The mission of the Department is fundamental and applied research in the field of polymer and colloid imunotherapeutics and diagnostics with potential use in human medicine. Specifically, the research is focused on the design, synthesis and characterization of polymer- and colloid-drug and contrast agent conjugates for the treatment of infectious and neoplastic diseases and for non-invasive imaging of internal body structures

 

Research Scope

The research activities of the Department are mainly focused on the development of new types of polymer, colloid and hybrid polymer-colloid delivery systems of various immunotherapeutics, chemotherapeutics and contrast agents for the treatment and diagnosis of serious human diseases. Special attention is paid namely to the controlled synthesis and detailed physicochemical characterization of biocompatible nanocarriers of variable size, composition and morphology with regard to their biological properties in vivo. Modern synthetic, polymerization and bioconjugation processes as well as sophisticated analytical and instrumental techniques leading to the preparation of highly defined tailored materials are used throughout the research.

Macromolecular vaccines for the treatment of infectious and cancer diseases

One of the research goals is to stimulate the immune system with protein, peptide or gene-encoded antigens and synthetic adjuvants, all conjugated to a hydrophilic, micellar or nanoparticle-forming polymer carrier. These delivery platforms provide immunotherapeutics with higher solubility in body fluids, more effective interaction with immune system cells, and long-lasting effect. The influence of the composition and architecture of the polymer carrier or the type, density and method of conjugation of immunotherapeutics is studied with respect to the immunological properties of the conjugates in vivo. Such macromolecular vaccines can be applicable in the prophylaxis of infectious diseases or in the immunotherapy of cancers.

J. R. Francica, R. Laga, G. M. Lynn, G. Mužíková, L. Androvič et al., Star nanoparticles delivering HIV-1 peptide minimal immunogens elicit near-native Envelope antibody responses in nonhuman primates.
PLOS Biology (2019)

Phosphorous polymer-based nanodiagnostics for 31P/1H-magnetic resonance imaging

Next goal includes using of long-circulating 31P/1H-MRI contrast agents based on water-soluble phosphorous polymer-paramagnetic ion conjugates and hybrid maghemite-phosphorous polymer nanoparticles intended for the direct visualization of organs, tissues (including tumors) and cells. The effects of the composition and architecture of the polymer carrier and methods of their conjugation with paramagnetic ion or superparamagnetic nanoparticles are studied with respect to their MRI detectability in vitro and in vivo.

Nanoparticle materials for photoacoustic tomography

Another part of the research is devoted to the development of contrast agents for photoacoustic imaging based on surface-modified polypyrrole nanoparticles and core-shell nanoparticles with superhydrophobic cores with low refractive index. The particles are designed to generate the photoacoustic signals directly by their matrices or by a special NIR-absorbing dye immobilized in a superhydrophobic core.

M. Paúrová, I. Šeděnková, J. Hromádková, M. Babič., Polypyrrole nanoparticles: control of the size and morphology.
J. Polym. Res. (2020)

 

Cooperation

Due to the research scope of the department, cooperation with external workplaces that have knowledge and equipment in biological, medical and biophysical fields is essential. In the past, we have established and plan to continue developing close cooperation with national and foreign scientific groups, such as:

  • Experimental MR laboratory, IKEM, led by Assoc. Prof. D. Jirák
  • Environmental Electron Microscopy Department, ISI CAS, led by Dr. V. Neděla
  • Department of Neuroregeneration, IEM CAS, led by Assoc. Prof. P. Jendelová
  • Laboratory of Immunotherapy, IMIC CAS led by Dr. L. Vannucci
  • Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, UK, led by Prof. L. Seymour
  • Cellular Immunology Section, NIAID, NIH, USA, led by Dr. R. Seder
  • Avidea Technologies, led by Dr. G. Lynn

Patents

Lynn, Y. Zhu, J. Holechek, D. Wilson, J. Francica, R. Laga, G. Mužíková; Compositions and methods of manufacturing star polymers for ligand display and/or drug delivery, PCT/US20/28586 (2020).

Funding support

  • Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic, New paradigm for functional contrast agent for 31P magnetic resonance imaging (NU20-08-00095)
  • Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic, Advanced macromolecular vaccines for the treatment of infectious and cancer diseases (LTAUSA18173)
  • Czech Science Foundation, Personalized macromolecular vaccines against cancer diseases (19-08176S)