Bar-Coded Biomaterials - Designing Self-Authenticating Medicines

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Pharmacy

Abstract

The emerging field of personalised medicine requires a combination of innovative diagnostics, therapeutics and 'point-of-care' use, in order to offer real advantages to industry, clinician and the patient. Materials for detecting and combating disease need be easily assembled, reach their biological targets and release their signals/payloads in precisely controllable and patient-or disease-specific ways. This proposal aims to develop a new class of biomaterial, where the assembly, release and reporting function is explicitly encoded in its structure. These 'Bar-Coded Biomaterials' will have molecular 'ciphers' that can be customised to release signals and drugs according to disease and patient need, and which can also be used to trace and validate the in vivo fate of the drug and carriers. Successful project completion will lead to a new paradigm in functional materials, with impact in future medicine and beyond.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description This research project enabled us to develop a family of materials which are encoded with DNA sequences, and which are able to respond to other 'target' DNA sequences to generate a signal or release a drug. The materials typically respond by a change in shape, analogous to a spherical 'box' held together by DNA strands but which can be unlocked by a complementary DNA key. When the 'box' is opened either a drug is released, or some dye molecules move so that the system changes colour. In this way, we have a platform technology which allows us to look for specific DNA sequences or 'keys' and which has an optical or medical readout. In turn this could allow us to personalise the boxes for individual patients
Exploitation Route If the price of synthetic DNA or equivalents decreases, there could be use of these materials as sensors and diagnostics, and also as personalised drug delivery systems. The polymers respond to specfic DNA or RNA sequences which can be designed in, so allowing the generation of 'bespoke' sensors and therapeutics.
Sectors Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/news/2014/Pages/molecularnanospies.aspx
 
Description In addition to research, part of this project contributed to the EPSRC Impact Exhibition, and also to YouTube videos which have led to interest in the group and incoming researchers. A number of international conference invitations have arisen, new EU and international networks established and now membership of a large Australian led- transnational Bionanotechnology conmsortium. In addition, a new EPSRC-funded Fellowship will take on components of this work with AstraZeneca. Although too early for specific non-academic impacts, the new links with AstraZeneca are likely to make an easier path to therapeutic translation.We have had several productive meetings with AstraZeneca, improved our links and numbers of collaborators in AZ. In turn this is helping inform our research so that it is more industry and patient focused.
Sector Chemicals,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Appointment to Chair of EPSRC Physical Sciences Strategic Advisory Team for Physical Sciences
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Membership of a guideline committee
 
Description Programme Grant
Amount £5,365,958 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N006615/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2015 
End 11/2020
 
Description Radiotherapy activated materials for enhanced cancer treatments
Amount £539,154 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/N03371X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2016 
End 11/2018
 
Description NanoFar 
Organisation Catholic University of Louvain
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK host site for NanoFar, the first pan-European Joint Doctorate site in Nanomedicine. We are co-supervising at least 10 PhD projects over the 8 year period of the grant, offering research training linked to our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Therapeutics and Nanomedicines.
Collaborator Contribution Finance is from the EU via the continental lead, Frank Boury at the University of Angers. Partners provide co-supervision of PhD students, training, access to facilities and instrumentation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration, linking chemistry, pharmacy, biology and engineering. A number of papers are in preparation from projects, and multiple new personal collaborations are developing.
Start Year 2011
 
Description NanoFar 
Organisation University of Angers
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK host site for NanoFar, the first pan-European Joint Doctorate site in Nanomedicine. We are co-supervising at least 10 PhD projects over the 8 year period of the grant, offering research training linked to our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Therapeutics and Nanomedicines.
Collaborator Contribution Finance is from the EU via the continental lead, Frank Boury at the University of Angers. Partners provide co-supervision of PhD students, training, access to facilities and instrumentation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration, linking chemistry, pharmacy, biology and engineering. A number of papers are in preparation from projects, and multiple new personal collaborations are developing.
Start Year 2011
 
Description NanoFar 
Organisation University of Liege
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK host site for NanoFar, the first pan-European Joint Doctorate site in Nanomedicine. We are co-supervising at least 10 PhD projects over the 8 year period of the grant, offering research training linked to our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Therapeutics and Nanomedicines.
Collaborator Contribution Finance is from the EU via the continental lead, Frank Boury at the University of Angers. Partners provide co-supervision of PhD students, training, access to facilities and instrumentation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration, linking chemistry, pharmacy, biology and engineering. A number of papers are in preparation from projects, and multiple new personal collaborations are developing.
Start Year 2011
 
Description NanoFar 
Organisation University of Nantes
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK host site for NanoFar, the first pan-European Joint Doctorate site in Nanomedicine. We are co-supervising at least 10 PhD projects over the 8 year period of the grant, offering research training linked to our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Therapeutics and Nanomedicines.
Collaborator Contribution Finance is from the EU via the continental lead, Frank Boury at the University of Angers. Partners provide co-supervision of PhD students, training, access to facilities and instrumentation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration, linking chemistry, pharmacy, biology and engineering. A number of papers are in preparation from projects, and multiple new personal collaborations are developing.
Start Year 2011
 
Description NanoFar 
Organisation University of Santiago de Compostela
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the UK host site for NanoFar, the first pan-European Joint Doctorate site in Nanomedicine. We are co-supervising at least 10 PhD projects over the 8 year period of the grant, offering research training linked to our EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Therapeutics and Nanomedicines.
Collaborator Contribution Finance is from the EU via the continental lead, Frank Boury at the University of Angers. Partners provide co-supervision of PhD students, training, access to facilities and instrumentation.
Impact This is a multidisciplinary collaboration, linking chemistry, pharmacy, biology and engineering. A number of papers are in preparation from projects, and multiple new personal collaborations are developing.
Start Year 2011
 
Description University of Padova 
Organisation University of Padova
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have hosted a number of Masters and PhD students for research stays. We have provided materials, training in polymer synthesis, access to instrumentation and facilities.
Collaborator Contribution Excellent Masters students, of which 6 have stayed on to carry out PhD studies in Nottingham. The Padova group have also hosted our PhD students and PDRAs, giving hem training in pharmaceutical formulation science and pharmacokinetics.
Impact Multiple papers (> 10) EU/EPSRC Grants (Value > 500,000 GBP) Multidisciplinary (pharmacy, pharmacology, chemistry)
Start Year 2006
 
Description University of Queensland 
Organisation University of Queensland
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We have shared data, materials, hosted and sent research students and post-docs for our collaborations
Collaborator Contribution Our partners have provided, expertise, materials and access to high end medical imaging facilities.
Impact Multiple papers > 10 date Grants: DP140100951. ARC Discovery Projects. Multifunctional and Multimodal Theranostics: Manipulating Material Properties for Advanced Diagnostics. Total funding 450,264 $AUS. C Alexander (Nottingham, UK Co-I) CE140100036: ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science and Technology. Led from Monash (Prof T Davis). Total funding 27,996,624 $AUS. C Alexander (Nottingham), UK Co-I and member of proposal lead team. 2014-2021.
Start Year 2008
 
Description EPSRC IMPACT! Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Exhibition or artwork designed by James King based on projects in the "Chell" project and my Leadership Fellowship grant.

Artwork and film to explore concepts in what products from synthetic biology might look like

Requests for articles and participation in further Synthetic Biology dialogues
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Invited talk (Queensland) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited to give a talk on "Responsive Polymers as Site-Activated Nanomediences" at AIBM, University of Queensland on 7th April 2011. Audience of academics and postgraduate students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Invited talk (Sydney) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk given to academics and postgraduate students at the University of Sydney on 'New developments in "Stimuli-Responsive Biomedical Polymers"' on 8th April 2011.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Publication and feature in EPSRC Pioneer Magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Feature article in Pioneer 9 regarding Leadership Fellowship and also leading the EPSRC/AstraZeneca/Nottingham Centre for Doctoral Training in Targeted Therapeutics.





http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/pubs/mags/pioneer/Pages/pioneerdownloads.aspx
.

Queries from journalists and subsequent press releases
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/pubs/mags/pioneer/Pages/pioneerdownloads.aspx
 
Description Royal Society Summer Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Exhibition as part of EPSRC grants in 3D Biomaterials, Bioresorbable materials and Fellowships, to show non-specialists the role of polymers in everyday medicines, and in medicines/medical devices of the future.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/summer-science-exhibition/exhibits/plastic-insi...
 
Description Web videos 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Web-based videos produced and devised by journalist Brady Haran featuring science at Nottingham.

Series of videos describing science and scientists at Nottingham

Journalists asked for interviews
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThgJHeDKsxA
 
Description YouTube videos 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Podcast developed by journalist Brady Haran to disseminate information regarding science at Nottingham.

Ongoing videos as part of Brady Haran's 'Test-Tube' science video series

I received numerous requests to participate in new research programs, and enquiries from potential PhD students.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2010,2012
URL http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Cameron-Alexander-Interview-6394346