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Online seminar by dr. Iris Batalha: 'Towards clinically translatable nanotherapeutics' (Lecture)

Tuesday 24 November 2020Add to my calendar
11:00 to
dr. Iris L. Batalha (Research Associate, University of Cambridge, UK)

Iris L. BatalhaThe nanomedicine landscape continues to rapidly evolve, driven by new technologies, new delivery strategies, new drugs and treatment modalities. Nanotherapeutics must still address many key challenges, such as physicochemical synthesis reproducibility and scalability, but the number and range of nanotherapeutics approved for human clinical use is consistently growing. Since 1995, when Doxil® was approved, 50 nanopharmaceuticals have received FDA approval for a variety of therapeutic indications, with polymeric nanoparticles and liposomes heavily represented amongst approved nanodrugs. First generation nanoformulations focused mainly on improving drug solubility and pharmacokinetic profiles, but the new generation is set to achieve targeted drug delivery.

In this talk, I will present the work I have been developing in the formulation [1] and drug delivery [2] fields (as well as previous work on molecular recognition [3,4]) with a focus on smart nanomaterials for the treatment of bacterial infections. Intracellular pathogens, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which have adapted to outsmart the host immune system and use it as a shelter, are particularly difficult to eradicate (it is estimated that ¼ of the world population is infected with latent TB). My recently published work demonstrates that nanobiotics (antibiotic-polymer conjugate nanoparticles) composed of an isoniazid-conjugated polyester and encapsulated clofazimine efficiently reduced granuloma formation and presented higher efficacy in mycobacterial killing than the equivalent dosage of free drugs in a zebrafish model of mycobacterial infection [2]. However, despite the higher efficacy, these nanobiotics relied on passive targeting, entering both infected and non-infected phagocytes. I now aim to improve this system further by specifically targeting infected cells using affinity ligands that selectively bind to host cell surface receptors that show marked alterations (such as overexpression) during infection. Specifically, I will target the highly conserved Major Histocompatibility Complex class I-related (MR1) antigen-presenting system. If successful, this strategy could be implemented in the study of other infectious diseases and could change global medical paradigms.

[1] Batalha, I.L., Ke, P., Uddin, S., Van der Walle, C.F., Christie, G. (2017) "Dipicolinic acid as a novel spore-inspired excipient for antibody formulation", International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 526 (1-2), 332-338

[2] Batalha, I.L.  et al. (2019) "Polymerized antibiotic nanoparticles as a novel treatment for mycobacterial infections", Journal of Controlled Release, 314, 116–124

[3] Batalha, I.L., Zhou, H., Lilley, K., Lowe, C.R., Roque A.C.A. (2016) "Mimicking nature: Phosphopeptide enrichment using combinatorial libraries of affinity ligands", Journal of Chromatography A, 1457, 76-87

[4] Batalha, I.L., Lychko, I., Branco, R.J.F., Iranzo, O., Roque, A.C.A. (2019) "β-hairpins as peptidomimetics of human phosphoprotein-binding domains", RSC Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry,17, 3996–4004

prof. Ger Pruijn