Delivery Systems

Schematic of targeted nanoparticle delivery to dendritic cells

Theme leader: Professor Chris Porter, Monash University

The primary focus of the Delivery systems theme is to examine, understand and ultimately quantify, the nanoscale interactions between delivery systems and the cells, tissues and organs of the body that define patterns of drug activity and toxicity.

Our researchers span disciplines including polymer, materials, biological and pharmaceutical sciences and collaborate at the interface of chemistry, biology and engineering. This interdisciplinary background provides a foundation to:

  • map the relationships between nanostructure and cellular and subcellular processing pathways;
  • encapsulate drugs, vaccines and imaging agents in delivery systems that respond to biological stimuli to release their cargo in specific locations;
  • harness ligand-receptor interactions that target drugs to specific cells and organs;
  • promote gene silencing, turning off aberrant and potentially pathological process; and
  • promote delivery across mucosal or epithelial barriers, enhancing the absorption of molecules that might otherwise require injection.

Our ultimate goal is to harness an understanding of the fundamental basis of these nanoscale interactions to inform the development of more selective, less toxic and more effective therapeutics.

CBNS Annual Reports provide details of  the major areas of research activity:

  • the evaluation of the complex map of interactions between novel nanomaterials and the biological environment, setting the framework for rational and deliberate delivery system design
  • the identification of novel nanomaterials, and in particular nanomaterials that respond to specific biological stimuli, providing a means to release drug at a particular location, or in response to a particular condition
  • understanding the determinants of the use of nanostructured materials as delivery systems to promote gene silencing and gene therapy
  • employing the unique properties of nanomaterials, especially surface modified nanomaterials, to promote site specific delivery to organs, cells and subcellular locations that are specifically associated with disease
  • the use of nanostructured materials, including microprojection arrays and microemulsions to facilitate transepithelial and transmucosal drug delivery.