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…
One year and a half of CUPIDO

One year and a half of CUPIDO

One year and a half passed since CUPIDO project has started - it's time to wrap up the main outcomes collected so far within the project. The Cupido researchers had previously developed biocompatible and biodegradable calcium phosphate nanoparticles composed of a material that closely resembles bone and teeth. During the past year, they demonstrated that inhalation of such nanoparticles, when loaded with a known drug, succeed in restoring cardiac function in small animals (rodents) without causing any major adverse effects (publication in Science Translation Medicine). This preliminary result proves that the nanoparticle can readily translocate from the pulmonary tree to the heart, where the drug cargo is finally released. Furthermore, after inhalation, the nanoparticles rapidly accumulate in the heart of healthy pigs, encouraging the application of Cupido approach in large…
Guidance to the heart

Guidance to the heart

CUPIDO aims to improve the specificity to the heart by using a chemical-based targeting system. To achieve this aim, on the surface of the nanoparticles have been included aptamers that should enhance the internalization into myocardial cells. Aptamers, which are short single-stranded oligonucleotides of modified DNA or RNA, are emerging as very interesting molecules that can fold into complex tertiary structures and bind with high affinity to a cell-selective target. If the target is undergoing receptor-mediated cell internalization, it can serve as a carrier for intracellular delivery too. In CUPIDO the CNR-IRGB identified promising aptamers that target the myocardium and promote the internalization while the CNR-ISTEC functionalized and characterized the nanoparticles with the selected aptamers. Once the nanoparticle-aptamer systems were ready, the CNR-IRGB tested their behavior in vitro and confirmed…
The nanoparticle biodistribution

The nanoparticle biodistribution

During the last year, BET Solutions has managed to radiolabel the nanoparticles in order to follow their distribution in the body after administration. So far, the intravenous administration route was used as a reference since it represents the most commonly-used path to deliver pharmaceuticals into the body. The in vivo fate of the NPs was assessed through planar Single Photon Emission Tomography (SPECT) imaging, in combination with x-ray imaging. While the SPECT imaging provides a semi-quantitative picture of the accumulation of the nanoparticles in the organs throughout time, the x-ray imaging instead provides an anatomical image at very high resolution, that can act as an anatomical map. The combination of the two methods provides a detailed and clear biodistribution of the tracked nanoparticles up to 24 hours. In the future,…
In vitro biocompatibility with the lung

In vitro biocompatibility with the lung

The Lung Cell Biology group at the Imperial College London is performing a preliminary in vitro assessment of the nanoparticles behavior with the lungs cells, the first target that the nanoparticles encounter before translocating to the heart. In order to study the biocompatibility, a broad range of concentrations of nanoparticles have been applied to alveolar type 1 cells and analyzed after 24 hours, looking in particular for cell survival rates and a sign of inflammation. Overall, these preliminary studies indicate that the nanoparticles did not induce cell death when applied to the alveolar epithelial type 1-like model. Further studies are required to quantify particle uptake and to complete the bioreactivity studies in more physiological-like conditions that take into account the air exposure and blood flow dynamics. For this reason, the…
News on “Circulation”

News on “Circulation”

CUPIDO has been featured in the cardiology news section of the journal Circulation "From the Literature". The article "Inhalation Therapy May Help Treat Heart Failure" highlights the recent discoveries published in Science Translational Medicine journal. You can read the full article here.
CUPIDO workshop

CUPIDO workshop

During the last project meeting, held in Sanofi offices near Paris, CUPIDO hosted a workshop focused on the present state of the regulations in nanomedicine. Among the speakers, Patrick Boisseau by ETP Nanomedicine gave a clear overview of the European ecosystem in nanomedicine (here the presentation) and Simon Baconnier from EU-NCL provided useful tips on the European infrastructure to improve translation in nanomedicine (here the presentation).  Thanks to all the participants to make the workshop successful, it was a great chance to network with other interesting initiatives in nanomedicine in Europe.
CUPIDO News Digest

CUPIDO News Digest

Here a selection of some interesting recent scientific papers related to CUPIDO's research. BIOMATERIALS TO FIGHT CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES: FROM BENCH TO BEDSIDE  This review of Materials Today highlights how nanomedicines (i.e. nanoparticles and drugs) offer interesting perspectives in the treatment of atherosclerosis and heart ischemia, potentially affording new tools in the fight against cardiovascular diseases. The authors, however, notice a gap between the preclinical findings and their validation in clinical trials, due to difficulties in translating the tests in animal models to patients. They suggest several solutions to bridge the gap of nanomedicine from bench to bedside: The modes of administrations tested in preclinical models such as the direct myocardium injection should be better evaluated with human physiology in mind; The physicochemical characteristics of nanomedicines and its potential toxicity should be…
Publication on Science Translational Medicine

Publication on Science Translational Medicine

A new study, carried out by the group of Daniele Catalucci from the CNR-IRGB (Milan, Italy), one of the key partners of the EU-funded project CUPIDO, demonstrated that nanoparticle-encapsulated pharmacologically active peptides can be efficiently delivered to the heart via inhalation. These results, published in the journal “Science Translational Medicine”, represent the first proof-of-concept for an unconventional and pioneering approach exploiting inhalable nanoparticle properties to improve diseased cardiac conditions. As Michele Miragoli, first author of the paper explains: “Nanomedicine, meaning the application of nanotechnology to the health sector, represents a promising approach for near future health care. Indeed, several nanopharmaceuticals have 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…