Polymers and Nanomedicines–The Promises and Pitfalls of New Materials
Cameron Alexander, School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
There are many challenges in the development of new drugs, not least of which are the issues relating to controlled release and targeting. Current therapies are suboptimal for diseases ranging from viral and bacterial infection to cancers, and existing carrier materials have not been able to completely address the delivery problems. New materials offer much promise for controlled release, with many spectacular examples of efficacy in laboratory-scale experiments. However, very few proof-of-concept studies have progressed beyond these stages. Dr. Alexander's plenary presentation will deliver examples of recent scientific advances and consider the hurdles to translating these toward the clinic.
Cameron Alexander is an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Leadership Fellow 2009–2014, professor of polymer therapeutics, and head of the Division of Drug Delivery and Tissue Engineering at the School of Pharmacy, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Prof. Alexander received degrees (B.Sc. and Ph.D.) in chemistry from the University of Durham and carried out postdoctoral research at the Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis, University of Cambridge. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has published more than 140 refereed articles. Research in his group centers on responsive materials for drug, gene, and cell delivery and new antimicrobial strategies. Prof. Alexander is also director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Therapeutics and Nanomedicines at the University of Nottingham and University College London with a number of leading pharmaceutical industry partners.
Global Efforts and Successes in Needle-Free Peptide Delivery
María José Alonso, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and coordinator of the TRANS-INT European consortium
Peptide molecules, including drugs and antigens, are gaining increasing space in the pharmaceutical industry pipelines. Despite their high potential, difficulties in crossing epithelial barriers have greatly limited their appropriate exploitation. Globally, there have been significant efforts to overcome these limitations through the design of transmucosal delivery strategies, many relying on the use of nanotechnology. In this plenary presentation, María José Alonso will discuss the results of global, cooperative efforts to accelerate progress on the rational design of peptide nanomedicines: the TRANS-INT European consortium, exploring the potential of nanotechnology for oral peptide delivery; and a Grand Challenges in Global Health Consortium that has resulted in the development of needle-free nanovaccine technologies.
María José Alonso is a full professor of biopharmaceutics and pharmaceutical technology at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. She has made critical contributions to the design of novel nanostructures for the targeted delivery of drugs and vaccines and to the understanding of the interaction of nanoparticles with biological barriers. She is a member of several scientific and editorial boards and a director-at-large of the Controlled Release Society. She has received several awards, among them the Maurice-Marie Janot Award.
Ligand-Directed Therapy and Molecular Imaging Based on In Vivo Phage Display Technology
Renata Pasqualini, University of New Mexico Cancer Center
In this plenary presentation, Dr. Pasqualini will discuss the development of in vivo phage display, a functional peptide screening established in animal models and later in patients. She will present research on how isolation of homing peptides enables subsequent identification of tissue-specific receptors and how systematic implementation of this strategy will lead to the construction of a comprehensive map of vascular markers in each organ, tissue, or disease. Long-term, the broader vision of her research is a large-scale mapping of receptors in human vasculature toward a new ligand-directed pharmacology.
Renata Pasqualini is a professor of internal medicine, the Maralyn S. Budke Endowed Chair in Cancer Experimental Therapeutics, and associate director for translational research and chief of the Division of Molecular Medicine at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center (UNMCC). She is an internationally recognized expert in vascular biology, metastasis, and angiogenesis. She originally co-developed in vivo phage display and has been recognized for her contribution to identifying organ- and tumor-specific ligands to target vascular receptors. Her joint group has been working with all aspects of phage display technology for nearly 15 years and has published extensively in this area. The central working hypothesis in the Arap/Pasqualini program is that differential protein expression in the human vascular endothelium, associated with normal or diseased tissues, offers the potential for developing novel diagnostic, imaging, and therapeutic strategies.