HCR.20.072 – Anti-inflammatory drug delivery using nanoparticles

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 102 How can we develop new drugs and treatment methods that will keep us as healthy and vigorous as possible?

The clinical use of most anti-inflammatory drugs, which are used against immune-related disorders, such as allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, auto-immune diseases and rejection after organ transplantation, is severely limited by their side effects. In this project we aim to enhance the therapeutic effects and reduce the adverse effects of these drugs by specifically targeting them to inflamed tissues using novel nanoparticle-based formulations. As a proof-of-principle, we will develop novel formulations of glucocorticoid drugs such as prednisolone to increase their therapeutic ratio. Different types of nanoparticles will be studies, ranging from lipid-based particles (liposomes, micelles) to inorganic (silica-based) nanocarriers. As a first (rapid) screening, the novel formulations will be tested in zebrafish larvae, which allow for in vivo visualization of the liposomes and the drug, as well as in vivo readouts for the anti-inflammatory effects and their side effects. Subsequently, formulations selected in this first screening round will be studied in rodent models for immune-related diseases. At the end of this project, a specific nanoparticle-based formulation for targeting of anti-inflammatory glucocorticoid drugs should be available for testing in clinical studies. This formulation may in future studies be utilized for targeting of other anti-inflammatory drugs.
Persons involved: Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Leiden University (Prof. Dr. Alexander Kros) (LEI); Leiden University Medical Center (Dr. Joris I. Rotmans) (LUMC); Enceladus (Dr. Bart Metselaar)


Anti-inflammatory drugs, drug delivery, drug targeting, glucocorticoids, immune suppression, inflammation, liposomes, micelles, nanoparticles

Other organisations

Enceladus, Leiden Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC), Leiden University (LEI)


Organisation Institute of Biology, Leiden university (LEI)
Name Dr. M.J.M. (Marcel) Schaaf
E-mail m.j.m.schaaf@biology.leidenuniv.nl
Website https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/marcel-schaaf#tab-1