Nanomalaria group: 20 years at IBEC
Xavier Fernàndez-Busques, group leader of the Nanomalaria group at IBEC
We will start by briefly looking at the origins of our group back in 2001 as part of IBEC’s embryo, the Research Center for Bioelectronics and Nanobioscience. Our current activities integrate two decades of cumulative research oriented to the development of targeted nanocarriers for parasitic diseases with focus on malaria but currently expanding to leishmaniasis.
Because eventual antimalarial nanomedicines need to be deployed in low per capita income regions, their final components must take into account this particular economic landscape. Liposomes and polymeric nanocarriers offer advantages and suffer from limitations depending on the severity of the disease in each particular clinical case. Entering erythrocytes, the host cell of Plasmodium
in the blood circulation, is a challenge in itself due to their lack of endocytic processes. Antibodies, polysaccharides like heparin, synthetic polymers and DNA aptamers have been used to target and eventually penetrate red blood cells.
Finally, we have recently launched an effort to discover new antimalarial drugs that should constitute the third and final element in the design of targeted nanocarriers for malaria. The know-how acquired in the development of nanocapsules, targeting elements and drugs has the capacity of being exported to other infectious diseases. Because, no matter how cost-efficient you can make a nanomedicine, clinical trials will significantly increase its cost, we are exploring a radical alternative: designing nanocarriers to target the parasites in their arthropod vectors.
More information about Xavier’s research here
This seminar will be held using the TEAMS app