If nanoparticles are to be used in medical applications, especially if they are administered systemically, the requirements are particularly severe. The particle hydrodynamic size must be as small as possible and the particle surface has to be modified in order to ensure colloidal stability in the blood compartment and long plasma half-lives by minimizing or delaying the opsonization processes. In recent years, it has become clear that our understanding of the interaction of nanoscale objects with living matter, even at the level of single cells, has not kept pace with the explosive development of nanoscience in the past. In general, material surfaces are modified by the adsorption of biomolecules such as proteins in a biological environment, and it is hypothesized that cellular responses to materials in a biological medium reflect the adsorbed biomolecule layer, rather than the material itself.
It is our goal to obtain a better understanding of the biological effects of nanoparticles. This requires not only the identification of adsorbed molecules but a better knowledge of binding properties of proteins (and other molecules) that associate with the particles as a function of the particle properties such as size and/or surface.
Molecular and nanoparticles organelle targeting in live cells is generating widespread interest because of the prospect of developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. Therefore, the development of new novel materials and tools at the nanoscale range for the targeting and identification of specific biomolecular interactions within living systems is not only of great interest, but also a major challenge in the fields of systems biology, target and drug identification, drug delivery, and diagnostics.
In this project, we have successfully developed highly multifunctional SPIONs for organelle targeting. Subsequently, interaction partners have been identified using ESI+ LC-MS/MS.
Swiss National Science Foundation (205321-111908) - “Advanced magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical application”.
The project, which is about to start, will investigate many aspects ranging from model particle synthesis, colloidal properties investigations and protein profiling in environments of varying complexity, to kinetic adsorption studies and possible future applications. The project demonstrates that the challenge is ultimately to determine the final surface of a particle in a complex biological environment. In the future it seems that nanoparticles will have to be classified in part by the manner in which they interact with proteins. The need to understand this new surface is gradually accepted and constitutes a serious, maybe even the most serious, limitation in the field. More information available soon!
Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P2_123373/1) - “Advances in Nanoparticle Engineering with a focus on stability, surface, and particle-cell interaction”.