New Tools for Visualising Nanoparticle Delivery to Promote Healthy Remyelination

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry


Poly (lactide-co-glycolide) (PLGA) is a biocompatible FDA approved polymer that can be used for industrial biomedical applications. Work in the Williams group at the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine has shown that PLGA nanoparticles (NPs) can be used to deliver leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) directly to oligodentrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) to induce their maturation into oligodentrocytes. The delivery was targeted by functionalising the surface of the NPs with antibodies to maximise the delivery and reduce off target effects. Mature oligodentrocytes cause remyelination of damaged neurones making this a relevant therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS).
Visualisation of the NPs in vivo is problematic as they are below the limit of optical resolution. In this project Raman spectroscopy will be used to visualise the distribution, uptake and degradation of the NPs in vivo. The PLGA polymer will be synthesised with carbon-deuterium bonds (Raman active) which would provide a strong and quantifiable signal in the cell silent region of the Raman spectrum. This Raman-based approach to NP visualisation is essentially label free and it is predicted that the isotopic C-D substitution will not have a major impact on the properties of the NPs or their cellular toxicity.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M010996/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1651952 Studentship BB/M010996/1 01/09/2015 31/08/2019 Sarah Vanden-Hehir
Description Raman labelled polymers have been synthesised to allow imaging of polymer nanoparticles inside cells. I have developed routes to two Raman active polymers and optimised their fabrication into nanoparticles which have been fully characterised. I have then imaged theses particles in cells with stimulated Raman scattering microscopy.
Exploitation Route The ability to image polymer nanoparticles in a biological environment could be useful for may drug delivery purposes
Sectors Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology