Biomolecular drugs and nanocarriers

Peptides and proteins play a crucial role in the regulation of brain activity in health and disease conditions. They are therefore promising candidates in the development of new neurotherapeutics. Understanding the use of large molecules and their interaction with the barriers of the CNS is crucial in order to succeed in the clinic.

One promising group of peptides is the cyclic peptides originating from different plant families. These peptides exhibit exceptional stability due to a cyclic cysteine knot forming disulfide bonds. Their cyclic nature makes them less susceptible to degradation by proteases, causing a great interest from a drug development perspective.

Our research focuses on the pharmacokinetics of brain delivery of peptides and the possible quantitative benefits of using nanocarrier systems, including their effect on the pharmacodynamic outcome. In vivo preclinical studies are performed to estimate the modulation of penetration across the BBB using targeted liposomes. For authentication of the principles, physiologically based pharmacokinetics population modeling is applied.

Investigators: Erik Melander, Yang Hu and Margareta Hammarlund-Udenaes in collaboration with Drs Pieter Gaillard and Jaap Rip (to-BBB), and Ulf Göransson (Div Pharmacognosy, UU).