The Department of Biological Models raised from the need of chemical experts working at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry (IMC) to properly answer questions from medical scientists via tailor-made macromolecular solutions. The Department’s research objective is therefore to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical practice, serving as a translational research, with the use of wide variety of biological methods specifically designed for work with polymer systems, which are developed at the IMC. Specific research fields accompany and follow research interests of other cooperating departments at the Institute. Within the frame of this cooperation, there are several projects with a great potential for clinical practice. The projects described below are the basis of research of the Department.
Polymeric Systems for Cancer Immunology
This project is focused on molecular biology research of newly designed water-soluble polymer systems with specific ligands, which are able to bind cancer molecules in tumor microenvironment and deactivate them. Cancer molecules cause death of T-cells, which are part of healthy anticancer immunity-processes, and consequently, the cancer molecules weaken immuno-defense mechanism of the body against tumors. A combination of polymer immunotherapeutics and specific cancerostatics blocks cancer-associated molecules, and consequently helps regeneration of anticancer immune response of the organism after the polymer cancerostatics are brought, released and activated by specific tumor stimuli in situ.
Biomaterials for Bacterial Infection Treatment
Bacterial infections still persist to be a worldwide problem, despite great progress in medicine and higher availability of antibiotics. Established bacterial infection treatment is often complicated by antibiotics resistance or tolerance, or uniqueness of bacteria lifestyle, such as biofilm formation or intracellular infection (e.g. tuberculosis). For this reason, the Department of Biological Models studies materials with potential to improve bacterial infection treatment, such as antibacterial surfaces or polymer nanoparticles with ability to bring conventional antibiotics into infected cells. Polymer nanoparticles developed at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry are significantly increasing effectiveness of antibiotics treatment, by improvement of pharmacokinetics and also by enhanced bioavailability of used antibiotics.
|J. Control. Release (2020)|
Polymer Systems for Inflammation Treatment
This project is focused on investigation of newly developed polymer systems intended as treatment for both acute and chronic inflammation using in vitro and in vivo methods of molecular biology. Unfortunately, despite ongoing progress in medicine, a treatment of inflammation, especially chronic one, is still very limited. Due to increased blood vessels penetrability affected by inflammatory processes, polymer drug carriers seem to be great candidates for targeted transport of anti-inflammatory drugs into inflamed tissue regions. Use of polymer drug carriers allows drug molecules to accumulate in the inflamed tissue and reach higher concentrations, without adverse effects of the drug in another part of the organism.
Polymer Systems for Diagnostic Methods
The goal of this cooperation is the development and scientific examination of functionality and efficacy of fluorescent polymer probes, which are brought to neovascular tumor tissue or cancer cells via specific ligands. Consequently, fluorescence-labelled tumors could be removed more effectively with endoscopic fluorescence-guided surgery.
Polymeric Systems for Radiation Therapy
The focus of this cooperation is on self-assembled polymer systems sensitive to external stimuli, which combine β radiation with immunomodulating agents and therefore are adapted for effective tumor elimination. By virtue of physical properties of β radiation, which has a short-range impact, this system is able to eliminate even a single tumor cell and could serve as a potential micro-metastasis therapy.
Polymer Systems for Tissue Engineering
The cooperation is based on research of biological compatibility and applicability of newly synthetized biomimetic materials with precise physico-chemical properties suitable for use in tissue engineering. Polymer materials, which mimic a function of extracellular matrix proteins (collagen, fibronectin) or polysaccharides with hydrating properties (hyaluronic acid) are designed as supporting environment for mesenchymal stem cells growth and their differentiation. Implementation of specific biomimetic ligands into polymer matrix allows interaction of polymer material surface with cell transmembrane proteins, leading to improvement of cell adhesion, specific cell differentiation, as well as better integration of biomimetic replacement into the local native tissue.