The main research interest of our group is focused on the development of pharmaceutical preparations for nucleic acids and peptide drugs based on new approaches of pharmaceutical nanotechnology. Biopharmaceutical investigations are focused on the oral uptake route. Further solid state properties of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are under investigation on thin films.
Nucleic acid drugs such as oligonucleotides, siRNA, microRNA are representing a new class of substances used for several therapeutic targets including metabolic diseases, viral infections and cancer. In contrast to the approach of gene therapy which involves the replacement and substitution of genetic material, antisense drugs or siRNA do not alter or substitute the endogenous genetic material during the antisense therapy. These oligonucleotides are effective blocking agents of the protein expression with a high sequence specificity. Single stranded modified DNA oligonucleotides, siRNA and microRNA are often used in our trials.
The latest improvements in drug delivery and drug targeting are Protamine-Oligonucleotide-Particles - so called Proticles. These colloids are potent transport vehicles for oligonucleotides as well as for peptides and proteins. Several co-operations are initiated with other research groups to investigate the purpose of these promising nanoparticles.
Biopharmaceutical investigations include permeability and cytotoxicity studies of nanomaterials across the oral mucosa including the GI tract. Further, thin films of APIs are prepared on surfaces to manipulate the APIs solid state properties including dissolution behavior and stability. Surfaces under investigation include state of the art biodegradable films like cellulose or chitosan as well as model substrates like single crystal mica or single crystal NaCl allowing to answer fundamental and application relevant questions. API deposition techniques involve solution casting as well as physical vapor deposition. Atomic force microscopy and gracing incidence diffraction are employed besides standard techniques on these thin films which may be as thin as a molecular monolayer up to large crystal domain.