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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C013220/1
Title: PLATFORM: Bioresponsive polymer therapeutics; synthesis and characterisation of novel nanomedicines
Principal Investigator: Griffiths, Professor PC
Other Investigators:
McKeown, Professor N Boulton, Professor M Thomas, Dr RK
Schmaljohann, Dr D Cosgrove, Professor T Roser, Dr S
Lawrence, Professor MJ Caterson, Professor B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr AL Paul
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Cardiff University
Scheme: Platform Grants (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 06 June 2005 Ends: 05 June 2010 Value (£): 418,422
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Drug Formulation & Delivery Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
As scientific advances help us to understand more of the molecular basis of diseases (how and why the cells that make up our body go wrong), there is great hope that many new, and much improved medicines for treating life-threatening diseases and diseases of the ageing population are just around the corner. We need new drugs that will target much more precisely the required site of action and we may even be able to design systems that can simply 'tickle' a cell so that it is able to repair itself.In past work we have been particularly interested in finding new treatments for cancer (in the UK 1 in 3 people get cancer), and have already transferred first systems into clinical trial. Here we will focus mainly on design of new treatments for diseases of the eye that can lead to blindness (two million people in the UK live with a sight problem) and also new treatments for arthritis (arthritis affects 15% of the UK population). In the past, most drugs used were small molecules of synthetic (made in the laboratory) or natural (taken from nature such as from plants) origin. However, many novel drugs are today much larger molecules like proteins and genes. Our work has been developing a new class of medicines called Polymer Therapeutics . Polymers are large molecules made up of many smaller units linked together chemically. They are widely known in everyday life in the form of plastics, nylon in clothes and even those natural polymers in nature (e.g. cellulose). However, synthetic polymer-based systems can now be man-made giving a new set of tools for improved diagnostics and treatments for disease. Such products are called polymer therapeutics or alternatively nanomedicines because of their very small size. As they move around the body in the bloodstream and penetrate into cells, these tiny nanomedicines are continually changing shape and they can even be triggered by the local environment to bind to a target cell or offload a drug payload. In this study we plan to use powerful analytical techniques that will visualise such polymers at the molecular level and study their behaviour as they move around in solution changing shape and interacting with models of the cell surface. The results obtained from the project will help us to design - at the molecular level - more efficient polymer transport systems and polymeric drugs. You might say this is engineering at the molecular level instead of the every-day engineering we know so well that produces the cars and aeroplanes we ourselves use as transport systems. The project will enable us to work together in teams involving chemists - physical chemists and biologists helping us develop revolutionary new ideas for therapy. It will also help us to train a new generation of young scientists so they have the skills to ensure that our ideas are translated into the improved medicines that mankind so urgently needs.
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Organisation Website: http://www.cf.ac.uk