Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Non-invasive nanotransducer for in vivo gene therapy (NINVE) - Publishable Executive Summary

Project ID: 33378
Funded under: FP6-NMP


A European research team led by researchers from the CRIM laboratory of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy commenced work in December 2006 on the important framework-6 EC project 'NINIVE' (NMP4-CT-2006-033378). The multidisciplinary team involved in the project also includes scientists from the Center for Drug Delivery Research of the ULSOF (UK), the MPI-FKF fuer Festkoerperforschung (D), Thales research & technology (F), the Institute of Neuroscience from CNR (I) and Nanothinx S.A. (GR).
The main objective of the NINIVE project is the development of a non-viral vector for a safe and efficient gene transfection and Targeted drug delivery. The system proposed by NINIVE is based on use of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) which consist exclusively of carbon atoms arranged in a series of condensed benzene rings rolled-up to form single or multi-walled tubular structures. This novel nanomaterial belongs to the family of fullerenes, an allotropic form of carbon. CNTs have nanometric dimensions and unique physicochemical properties which make CNTs unique materials with several potential applications especially in the biomedical field. In the NINIVE project CNTs will act as transporters of genes in addition to being functionalized with appropriate ligands to enable specific binding to receptors over-expressed by the cells targeted for transfection. A solution containing a myriad of these coated and functionalized nano-vectors will be administered by local injection in the target tissue. These nano vectors will home on and bind to the intended target cells. In the NINIVE project, two strategies of cell transfection will be investigated: (i) cell up-take of the gene-carrying nano-vectors by endocytosis and (ii) genes from the nano-vectors will be transferred in the recipient cells via electroporation (i.e., permeabilization of cell membrane by application of short-duration electric pulses). With this mechanism, cell permeabilization will be induced by CNTs on exposure to exter

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