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Structure Department of Biology
Telephone 0498276282
Qualification Ricercatore a tempo determinato di tipo A
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Proposals for thesis
Evaluation of strategies to enhance the delivery of biocompatible nanoparticles (NPs) and transported drugs to cancer differentiated and stem cells.

The proposed projects aim at studying new strategies to increase the selective uptake of NPs and their transported payloads (chemotherapeutics and/or photosensitizers) in order to eradicate tumors in the whole (differentiated cancer cells plus cancer stem cells) thus eliminating the possibility of cancer recurrence.
To reach the goal it will be exploited: i) active targeting capabilities of NPs vs. cancer stem cells (CSCs) by their conjugation with molecules (e.g hyaluronic acid) able to be recognized selectively by CSCs and using CSC-specific drugs combined with photosensitizers to be light-activated to perform photodynamic therapy (PDT),
ii) the use of human adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as NP delivery systems on the basis of their innate tumor-homing capability. The feasibility of the approaches described above will be test in in vitro mono-dimensional and tridimensional cancer cell cultures before the in vivo translation of the investigations in Zebrafish embryos.

Curriculum Vitae

Lecturer's Curriculum (PDF): 9E86CA0DF91EF7D000AF434C95C2F448.pdf

Research areas
Main research area: Nanomedicine in cancer, drug delivery in Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), cancer therapy combination (e.g. chemotherapy + PDT), tridimensional cell cultures as tools for study drug penetration in malignancies, targeted drug delivery, cancer stem cells (CSCs) targeted therapies, mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) applications in drug delivery.

In particular, our efforts are directed toward the in vitro and in vivo evaluation of the potentiality of nanoformulations (polymeric nanoparticles, protein-based nanoparticles, liposomes, gold nanoparticles) specifically designed for the selective delivery of chemotherapeutics and/or photosensitizers to tumors.
Ongoing research project:
- Hyaluronic acid-targeted double layer nanoparticles for combination of docetaxel-chemotherapy and PDT. Study of combination therapy synergism (Chou and Talalay method, median-effect principle) in monolayers cell culture, tridimensional tumor spheroids and mammospheres (spheroids enriched in CSCs).
- Anticancer and anti-angiogenic activity of PLGA-based nanoparticles decorated with folate and aFLT1 anti-angiogenic peptide. Evaluation of the nanoformulations in cancer and endothelial cells, cancer spheroids, human cancer cells xenotransplanted zebrafish embryos.
- Study of MSC nanoparticle-loaded tropism toward differentiated and stem cancer cells in 3D in vitro models and in vivo zebrafish embryos.
- Exploiting wool extracted keratin-based nanoparticles for the multiple delivery of drugs. Studies of synergism of chemotherapy and PDT.
- Folate targeted PEGylated gold nanoparticles as Doxorubucin delivery vehicles: extent of nanocarrier and drug penetration into multicellular tumor spheroids.


Lecturer's Publications (PDF): 9E86CA0DF91EF7D000AF434C95C2F448.pdf

List of taught course units in A.Y. 2019/20
Degree course code (?) Degree course track Course unit code Course unit name Credits Year Period Lang. Teacher in charge
SC1161 COMMON SC02100882 8 1st Year (2019/20) Second
IF1839 COMMON SCN1036885 8 1st Year (2019/20) First