The Nanomedicine group was created in 2014 after being positively accredited by the External Scientific Committee of the ISCiii-IDIVAL Institute. The group is composed by scientists specialised in the fields of medicine, molecular/cellular biology, biotechnology, pharmacy, physics and chemistry at the IDIVAL institute, but we have several close external collaborators, mostly clinicians. The group has two functional units, the physicochemical subgroup, that self-finances (Directed by Rafael Valiente) that is specialised in the fields of spectroscopy, nanomaterial synthesis and characterisation, and the biomedical group, located at the Faculty of Medicine. Both groups belong to the IDIVAL-Nanomedicine group. The biomedical group directed by ML Fanarraga has so far participated in two consecutive AES projects dedicated to the use of carbon nanotubes in cancer PI13/01074 and PI16/00496. The mission of our research is to understand the interactions between nanomaterials and proteins/cells/tissues -at the in vitro and in vivo levels to obtain products with a “high added value” for biomedicine and biotechnology, and to develop therapeutic solutions for diseases where traditional therapies are inefficient.
Thus far, major contributions of the Fanarraga group have been achieved in the field of nanotechnology against cancer. In 2012, we first demonstrated the intrinsic anti-tumoral properties of CNT. We have demostrated how CNTs interact with cell membrane receptors, are phagocytosed finally invading the cellular cytoplasm where they biomimetically interact with the microtubules, assembling biosynthetic tubulin polymers (ACS Nano 2012;6:6614). This interaction triggers important cellular biomechanical changes in highly proliferate cells interfering with microtubule dynamics resulting in “taxol-like” effects. We have pioneer the studies demonstrating how this “intrinsic” property of CNTs leads to anti-proliferative, anti-migratory and cytotoxic effects in different cancer cells in vitro, and significant anti-tumoral effects in vivo, even in in solid melanoma models produced with taxol-resistant cells (Adv Healthc Mater. 2014;3:424; Nanomed 2014;9:1581-8; Curr Pharm Des. 2015;21:1920; Adv Healthc Mater. 2015;4:1640; Adv Healthc Mater. 2016;5:1080; Nanoscale. 2016; 8;10963; Biomaterials. 2017;114:62; Int J Nanomed 2017;12:6317; etc). Recently we have developed a method to bio-compatibilize CNTs, improving in vivo degradation by the local tumour associated macrophages (Nanoscale 2018; 10:11013). Our recent results support a role of CNTs as active-by-design nanocarriers significantly boosting the effect of classical chemotherapy, preventing resistance (Oncotarget, 2019 in press). Finally, in the context of our las project we have designed interesting CNTs coated nanomaterials to control the subcellular destiny of the nanocarrier systems (Angew.Chem.Int. Ed.2017;56:13736).