Modelling perfusion in the human heart

Modelling perfusion in the human heart

Heart tissue is perfused by thousands of very small arteries and capillaries branching off the coronary arteries. Obtaining truthful representations of the exact geometries of the perfusion circulation using state-of-the-art imaging techniques is virtually impossible. Despite being the most fundamental process in maintaining organ health and the major pathway for drug delivery, perfusion has, from a computational point of view, received very little attention. Thanks to the work done by SIMULA in CUPIDO, a computationally efficient and accurate model is now available and provides a framework for the simulation of experimentally relevant time frames for pre-clinical research. In CUPIDO, SIMULA has developed a novel particle tracking-based method to simulate the distribution of nanoparticles in the heart mediated by perfusion. To model blood flow through perfused tissue they follow the approach…
Imaging of the nanoparticle’s distribution in animal models

Imaging of the nanoparticle’s distribution in animal models

One of the key issues in CUPIDO is to track where and when the inhaled CaP nanoparticles travel in the body in vivo (biodistribution). As a first approach, the imaging studies, performed by our partner BIOEMTECH, has been focused on the spatio-temporal biodistribution of the unloaded nanoparticles (without the drug) in mice, in particular in lungs, heart, intestine and kidneys. Nanoparticles have been labelled with technetium-99m (99mTc), the most common medical radioisotope used in clinical practice, that allows to track the signal of the nanoparticles inside the body through real-time, dynamic scintigraphy and/or tomography. Thanks to a new protocol, the incorporation of radioisotope in the nanoparticles is very high; furthermore, the size and physicochemical properties of the CaP nanoparticles aren’t altered. The stability of the technetium-99m attached to the nanoparticles…
A dedicated wearable device for minipigs

A dedicated wearable device for minipigs

In CUPIDO, the formulation developed within the project shall be tested for pre-clinical efficacy in large animals. As such, mini pigs are used to test first, i) if the inhaled nanoparticles show sufficient cardiac enrichment and then ii) if the drug-loaded nanoparticles restore the normal cardiac activity in a model of systolic heart failure (heart failure with reduced ejection fraction or HFrEF). All the tests are conducted at the facility of Charité – University Medicine Berlin, while the company LIFE designed and developed a dedicated wearable device to non-invasively measure several physiological parameters on mini-pigs. Partners at Charité and LIFE worked closely to understand the usage scenario and the functional requirements for the device. Together, they have already performed the early tests and the official evaluation of the measurements on…
CUPIDO at European Researchers’ Night

CUPIDO at European Researchers’ Night

The past weekend took place the European Researchers’ Nights: a large program of public events that bring researchers closer to the public. The events promote how researchers contribute to our society by displaying their work in an interactive and engaging forum. CUPIDO couldn't miss the chance to take part in this initiative and promote the work done by our team to develop inhalable nanoparticles that bring a drug to the heart. On Saturday 29th of September, the team of CNR-IRGB / Humanitas Research Hospital was at the science fair organized in Milan by the project MeetMeTonight (http://www.meetmetonight.it/milano/), where they engage the public in the journey of the nanoparticles through the body. The wonder that CUPIDO inspires in people is such a motivation booster!
A lightspot for CUPIDO at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2019

A lightspot for CUPIDO at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2019

This year CUPIDO arouse interest during the European Society of Cardiology Congress, one of the world’s largest and most influential cardiovascular event contributing to global awareness of the latest clinical trials and breakthrough discoveries. ESC Congress 2019 took place 31 August to 4 September at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, Paris - France. Our project coordinator Daniele Catalucci and a representative of our pharma partner SANOFI, were there to present the innovative delivery system to the heart that CUPIDO is developing.  Dr. Catalucci presented the latest results showing that a novel inhaled miR-133-loaded nanoparticle delivery approach can prevent cardiac dysfunction in an experimental model (Abstract 3072). The presentation of Daniele was first highlighted in the Daily Science News distributed to all the participants (available online too), and it was also…
Best Poster Award at the Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials

Best Poster Award at the Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials

Our partner Lorenzo deli Esposti, PhD student at the ISTEC-CNR, won the best poster award at the 30th Annual Conference of the European Society for Biomaterials,  held from September 9 to 13, in Dresden, Germany. The conference covered all aspects of biomaterial research and Lorenzo was there to present his latest results with the innovative biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles developed within Cupido. The presented results demonstrate that the inhalation of small (<50 nm in diameter)  calcium phosphate nanoparticles (CaPs) allows for their rapid translocation from the pulmonary tree to the bloodstream and to the heart, where their drug-cargo is quickly released. The poster won under the category Young Scientists  -  congratulation to Lorenzo for this achievement!  
Cardiovascular nanomedicine: the route ahead

Cardiovascular nanomedicine: the route ahead

What does the future hold for cardiovascular nanomedicine? The Journal of Nanomedicine asked our CUPIDO scientists to share their view on the topic in an editorial article. Cover of the Journal of Nanomedicine featuring the article. As they noticed, there is a huge gap in this area of medicine for novel therapeutics for improved patient outcomes. Nanotechnology may provide a solution to more effective treatment of disease, with better prognoses and a reduced side effect profile. In the review, the authors explore potential solutions to the limited pharmacological therapies currently on the market and the future that lies ahead for the place of nanotechnology within cardiovascular medicine. Indeed, while application of nanomedicine in patients afflicted by cardiovascular diseases is still in its infancy; as CUPIDO demonstrates, biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles…
Electromagnetic-mediated guidance to the heart

Electromagnetic-mediated guidance to the heart

To improve the effective targeting of the heart, CUPIDO is exploring the possibility to employ an electromagnetic-mediated guidance. This promising technique employs magnetically responsive objects that can travel in the blood circulation and that are retained in the target organ by an external magnetic field. In CUPIDO, nanoparticles loaded with a drug become magnetically responsive thanks to the inclusion of iron. The targeted guidance will result into an increase of the drug concentration in the target area, thus minimizing its concentrations in other areas of the body and the related side effects. CUPIDO partners at CNR-ISTEC in collaboration with the company BIOEMTECH have successfully synthetized the magnetic nanoparticles following a new protocol [Adamiano et al. Acta Biomaterialia, 2018]. The studies to assess their behavior with cardiac cells are currently ongoing…
Back to high school for one day

Back to high school for one day

Entering a high-school should have felt like a trip to the past for Maria Barandalla Sobrados, a postdoc in the Signal Transduction in Cardiac Pathologies Lab at CNR-IRGB / Humanitas Clinical and Research Center. This time she was not there to attend lectures and pass exams but to share her experience as a researcher. For two hours, she interacted with a group of 75 last-year students from the scientific high school Italo Calvino in Rozzano, the city that hosts the laboratory where Maria works and conducts her research for CUPIDO. To communicate her research outside the academic walls is one of the duties foreseen in the postdoc fellowship that Maria won last year. The fellowship was awarded by Fondazione Veronesi, a foundation with the aim of promoting scientific research, health…
Nanomedicine to target the heart: the potential impact of CUPIDO

Nanomedicine to target the heart: the potential impact of CUPIDO

Nanomedicine, meaning the application of nanotechnology to the health sector, represents a promising approach for near future health care. Indeed, some nanopharmaceuticals has been approved by the FDA since the late 90s’ leading to remarkable advantages especially in the cancer field. Curiously, only very few attempts have been made to apply nanomedicine to cardiovascular disease area in spite it represents the leading cause of death worldwide. On the other side, inhalation has long been studied for the treatment of pulmonary diseases, but its use for targeting of the heart and management of cardiac failing conditions has not been explored. Inhalation is a viable delivery method to target the heart because oxygenated blood from lungs flows directly there via the pulmonary vein. The first hint on the phenomenon came from combustion-derived ultrafine…