As we advance our understanding of diseases Biology and we learn how to target the dysfunctional parts using adequate drugging, we come to the realisation that getting the therapeutic payload to the right site is more critical than ever. Targeted delivery increases therapy efficiency and minimise side-effects often enabling completely new medical approaches. How to achieve this is a human body is not a trivial problem and requires the spousing of several disciplines ranging from Biology, Physiology, Chemistry and Physics. The ideal scenario is the design of a vector able to cross the different biological barriers and interact with them to achieve the most effective targeted delivery. Such a somanaut (In Greek, “soma,” means “body,” and “nautes” means “sailor) has to comprise the necessary elements to deal with complex biological environment(s) and operate within it. From molecular to cellular to tissual to whole body we can classify different levels of interaction and consequently map out the different structure/function relations. As this happens the result leads to more effective therapy.
- I will discuss how we can borrow structural information and design rules from Biology and how to integrate them using fully synthetic materials into nanoscopic units that can operate as somanauts
- I will show how using biological-inspired compartmentalisation and positional self-assembly we can engineer components with high level of precision that can interact with living systems and navigate into them
- I will show how this approach can be applied in several field of Medicine, ranging from Oncology, to Neuroscience to Immunology to enhance existing therapies or facilitate new ones.