Chemical structures of exemplary polymers and schematic illustration of cellular entry and mitochondrial localization of biodegradable CPNs.
Florida International University (FIU) is seeking a business partner to develop and commercialize Conjugated polymer nanoparticles for target organelle specific labeling and drug delivery. FIU inventors have designed and synthesized biodegradable conjugated polymers nanoparticles (CPNs) that can be taken up by the cells as nanoparticles and degraded into small fluorescent molecules that label intracellular organelles.
Labeling and monitoring of biological substances and activities in live cells are crucial for understanding complex biological systems, and can permit development of biological/biomedical sensors or therapeutic means for various diseases. Some techniques employ small fluorescent molecules for labeling and sensing cellular substances. Unfortunately, since these small molecular weight compounds often enter the cells through passive diffusion mechanisms, high concentrations are required, increasing the likeliness of non-specific labeling and cellular toxicity. Polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) can improve the limitation of concentration of small molecules; however, due to their high molecular weights, these nanoparticles are inefficient for labeling intracellular molecules and organelles.
Researchers at FIU have been able to combine the intracellular targeting advantages of both small molecules and nanoparticles by creating conjugated polymer nanoparticles comprising poly(p-phenyleneethynylene)s (PPEs) having a flexible linker between a portion of phenylene units. The flexible linkers can be sites for biodegradability of the PPEs into relatively small oligomers. The polymers can be tailored to a specific application through the modulation of their physical, biological and optical properties by structural modifications of the rigid conjugated backbone and the pendant side-chains.
- Imaging of live cells including disease cells and tissues
- Sensing and monitoring of biological events at targeted organelles
- Targeted in vivo drug/gene delivery
- Offers an efficient one-pot synthesis that saves time, regents and eliminates the need for multiple production steps
- Provides a customizable, biocompatible, and biodegradable delivery system
- Allows for controlled release of molecules at target site and specific labelling