Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry

Bioactive Polymers

The department is focused on the development of polymer therapeutics for controlled drug and gene delivery, polymer nano- and microparticles for diagnostics and artificial carriers for cells, all for specific medical applications. Our activities are closely connected with biological and medicinal research within the frame of BIOCEV project or our collaborators from biological and hospital laboratories.

The goal of our research is to find the connection between the chemical composition and morphology of developed types of biomaterials and their biological activity in particular biomedicinal applications.

Polymer groups:

Laboratory of Polymer Nanotherapeutics
Laboratory of Nanomaterials for Diagnostics and Biotechnology Processes
Laboratory of Polymer Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine

Laboratory of Polymer Nanotherapeutics

(under BIOCEV program 4.1.1. Development of Polymer Therapeutics and Diagnostics for Treatment and Diagnostic of Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases )

(Head Ing. Richard Laga, PhD.)

Research Areas

  • Polymer vaccines and immunostimulants
  • Polymer drug delivery systems
  • Polymer systems for nucleic acid delivery

Main Objectives

  • Development of new types of synthetic polymer vaccines consisting of a hydrophilic high-molecular weight or amphiphilic self-assembling polymer carrier, protein-based antigen and synthetic adjuvant for the infectious diseases prophylaxis and cancer diseases immunotherapy
  • Synthesis and characterization of new types of water-soluble and supramolecular stimuli-responsive polymer carriers of drugs for the site-specific treatment of neoplastic and inflammation diseases
  • Development of novel synthetic polycations used for complexation, targeted delivery and controlled release of nucleic acids (plasmid DNA, siRNA, miRNA); synthesis of reactive hydrophilic polymers for shielding of both viral and non-viral gene delivery vectors used for the treatment of cancer diseases

Content of the Research

The research activities of the Laboratory of Polymer Nanotherapeutics are primarily aimed at the study and development of polymer-drug conjugates with diverse biological functions for targeted therapy of infectious, neoplastic and inflammation diseases with a potential utilization in human medicine. The proposed polymer systems are composed of the hydrophilic or amphiphilic polymer carriers with different composition (e.g. polyacrylates, polymethacrylates, polymethacrylamides, polyethylene glycols, polyamino acids, etc.), valency of functional groups (telechelic, semi-telechelic, multivalent) and polymer chain architecture (e.g. linear, star-shaped, comb-like, micellar, etc.) that are covalently or non-covalently conjugated to the biologically active compounds (e.g. drugs, proteins, nucleic acids, etc.) through the stable or (hydrolytically, enzymatically or reductively) biodegradable linkers. Furthermore, the polymer carriers offer a possibility to incorporate the targeting units and/or the fluorescent, radioisotope, or contrast labels to their structures thus facilitating active targeting of the conjugate to the therapeutic site of action or visualization of the conjugate by the imaging techniques, respectively. The Laboratory of Polymer Nanotherapeutics uses modern organic, polymer and bio-conjugation synthetic methods for the preparation of the tailor-made, highly defined materials as well as the sophisticated physiochemical techniques for the precise characterization of the synthesized material.

Potential for Cooperation

The Laboratory of Polymer Nanotherapeutics has established an outstanding cooperation with many internationally-recognized scientific groups led by e.g. Prof. Leonard Seymour (Department of Oncology, Oxford University, UK), Dr. Robert Seder (Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, USA) or Prof. Karsten Mäder (Institute of Pharmacy, Martin-Luther-University, Germany), but it is open for new cooperation with academic and also non-academic subjects. We can offer to our potential partners the knowledges in the field of polymer and organic synthesis, bio-conjugation chemistry and physical chemistry of macromolecules. Our polymer systems can be used for the transport of broad range bioactive compounds. They are able to guarantee prolonged blood circulation time, reduced toxicity and controlled release of the bioactive compound directly in the therapeutic site of the action.

Laboratory of Nanomaterials for Diagnostics and Biotechnology Processes

(under BIOCEV program 4.1.2. Materials for Diagnostics and Biotechnological Processes)

(Head Ing. Michal Babič, PhD.)

Research areas

  • Synthesis, modification, characterisation, biomedical and biotechnological applications of polymer and composite nano- and microparticles

Main objectives

  • To increase the sensitivity and selectivity of particle-based immunoassays via the matrix and shell architecture
  • To develop surface-modified magnetic nanoparticles for diagnostics in vivo
  • To design monodisperse multifunctional microspheres for attaching and separating biomolecules

Content of the research

With the rapid development of biotechnology and nanomedicine, new multifunctional nano- and microparticles with bound ligands are needed for diagnosis and therapy of neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and therapy with cells. The aim fot he project is to design biocompatible particles, optimize their morphology, size, size distribution, charge, and surface, which is decorated with functional groups to ensure colloidal stability in biological fluids, high diagnostics eficiency or simplifaction and efectivity enhancement of biotechnological processes. Particles will be designed also in order to respond to outer magnetic or electromagnetic fields.

Different tailor-made surface modified nano- and microparticles are available for those partners, who are interested.

Laboratory of Polymer Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine

(under BIOCEV program 4.1.3. Polymeric Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine)

(Head Mgr. Dana Kubies, CSc.)

The important factor supporting integration of biomaterials with the tissue of recipient in biomedical applications is immobilization of biologically active substances on the biomaterial surface. Our research activities are focused on development of technologies for surface modifications. The studied coating technologies are tools for controlled introduction of biological active substances (such as specific peptides or growth factors) on the surface of porous as well as nonporous implants. In this way we aim to modulate the interaction of the implant surface with the host tissue in the place of implantation (e.g. adsorption of proteins, adhesion, proliferation or differentiation of cells or surface endothelization). We also focus our activities on preparation of 3D macroporous polymer scaffolds for cell transplantation and for tissue regeneration and replacement applications.

Research areas

  • Surface modification of biomaterials for increase of their bioactivity
  • Preparation of 3D polymer scaffolds for tissue engineering applications

Research projects

  • Deposition of colloid solutions of functionalized block copolymers for introduction of specific peptides and growth factors on polylactide surfaces
  • Deposition of polyelectrolyte multilayers prepared by a layer-by-layer deposition method with subsequent noncovalent immobilization of growth factors and preparation of polyelectrolyte particles loaded with growth factors
  • Preparation of polyelectrolyte particles for growth factor delivery
  • Deposition of organized fibrin nanostructures growing from the surface by a catalytic action of the surface-bound thrombin on the solution containing fibrinogen and subsequent covalent and non-covalent immobilization of growth factors. Surfaces of various biomaterials are coated by fibrin meshes of a thickness adjustable from 40 nm to several micrometers. Fibrin is grown by the catalytic action of thrombin immobilized on the surface to fibrinogen contained in an ambient fluid. Specific biological activities are added to the coating by the attachment of heparin, growth factors, antibodies, and extracellular matrix macromolecules, such as, fibronectin, laminin, collagen, or hyaluronic acid. The coatings have been applied for promoting endothelialization of blood vessel prostheses, colonization of artificial decellularized heart valves with selected cells, and for improving bloodcompatibilityof endovascular stents. Coatings, which are based on polymer brushes grafted from a biomaterial surfaces and subsequently modified with attached bioactive molecules, are being developed.


  • Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM),  Diabetes Center, Czech Republic · Praha (MUDr. Jan Kříž, PhD)
  • Dept. of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering,  Institute of Physiology ASCR, Prague  (Doc. Lucie Bačáková, CSc.)
  • Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, Prague (Prof. Ing.  J. E. Dyr, DrSc.)
  • Institute of Science & Technology in Medicine, Keele University Medical School, Stoke-on -Trent, UK (Prof. Alicia El Haj, Dr. Ying Yang)
  • Department for biomaterials research, Polymer Institute SAS, Bratislava, Slovakia (Ing. Igor Lacík, DrSc.)