ChemNanoCARE - Activities

Polymeric Nanoparticles and Photodynamic Therapy

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is a minimally invasive and localized method of clinical treatment, whereby diseased cells and tissues are destroyed by a combination of light at the right wavelength, a special drug called photosensitizer (PS), and a suitable amount of molecular oxygen. These components, when combined in proper dosage and concentration, generate cytotoxic reactive oxygen species (ROS). Currently, PDT is clinically approved for the treatment of several medical conditions including bacterial infections and cancer.

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Nanoparticles mediated Drug Delivery

Nanotechnology is an enabling technology that deals with nano-meter sized objects. One of the most attractive and promisingapplications of nanotechnology is the use of nanomaterials in biology. Attaching drugs to nano-sized systems has been proved to considerably modify cellular uptake with respect to the free drug.

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Synthesis of Biologically Active Molecules

Despite progress in basic research that has given a better understanding of tumor biology and led to the design of new generations of targeted drugs, recent large clinical trials for cancer, has been able to detect only small differences in treatment outcomes. To this aim, since several years we are engaged in the discovery of new small bioactive molecules. Novel synthetic methodologies have been developed either for the total synthesis of new chemical entities either for the semi-synthetic modification of nature-deriving compounds.

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Nano-supported organocatalysts: a green approach to organic chemistry combined with new purification methodologies

Metal-free organocatalysis has now emerged as a novel synthetic philosophy with the ambition to replace, whenever possible, the traditional transition metal catalysis.Organocatalysts are cheaper than their counterparts containing a precious transition metal coordinated to an expensive ligand, so that there is less economic pressure on the reduction of catalyst loading. Nevertheless, separation of copious quantities of an organocatalyst from the desired organic product is not a trivial task on a large scale and may also become a nuisance in high-throughput parallel chemistry.

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Lipidomics of Biomarkers of Radicals Stress
Free radicals react with unsaturated lipids and induce chemical transformations, which can have a double role, as signal or damage, determining different cellular responses. The lipid double bonds and the conservation of the cis geometry have a crucial significance for cell membrane properties. Together with the peroxidation processes, this reactivity makes part of the lipid remodeling occurring under cellular stress.

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Strategies of DNA damage and repair
The damage caused by free radicals to nucleic acids is indicated as one of the major causes of aging, as well as of human mutation-derived pathologies. Free-radical mechanisms studied by the Bio Free Radicals group have contributed to understand the chemical basis of an important damage of the purine moieties with the formation of purine 5’,8-cyclonucleosides.

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Biomimetic Models and Nanomedicine Applications
The complexity of free radical reactivity in living organisms can be modeled by biomimetic systems, appropriately designed in order to allow chemical and kinetic processes to be studied in an environment, which is simplified but strictly correlated with the real conditions.

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Radiation Studies of Biomolecular System
The interaction of radiations with living organisms is a multidisciplinary field of research, which is attracting interest in life sciences, since it can be correlated with human mutations and pathologies. At low doses, radiations can be also useful to trigger cellular defenses toward stress, and the estimation of these effects are relevant to understand basic processes in life sciences.

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