With our expertise in polymer synthesis, the researchers at IBM Research-Almaden are actively working on several approaches (block copolymer and dendritic polymers) to impact the area of nanomedicine.
Multifunctional polymer micelles and/or dendrimers are being designed, synthesized and tested for the co-delivery of therapeutic agents to combat drug-resistance and improve cancer therapy, as well as for simultaneous therapy and diagnostics. Elegant chemistry approaches are needed to synthesize biodegradable and biocompatible polymers with defined molecular structure, well-controlled molecular weight and functionalities in both hydrophobic and hydrophilic blocks so that micelles and dendrimers with narrow size distribution can be fabricated with increased drug loading capacity and a capability of active targeting and binding of macromolecular therapeutics. Control over geometry of polymer micelles and dendrimers can also provide many exciting opportunities for enhancing cellular uptake and intracellular targeting and as well as loading of multiple therapeutic agents.
Researchers from IBM and the Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology published a nanomedicine breakthrough in Nature Chemistry, demonstrating the first biodegradable antimicrobial polymer nanoparticles to combat drug-resistant bacteria and infectious diseases like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA. Unlike conventional antibiotics, these nanostructures target infected cells without destroying healthy red blood cells. Read the IBM Press Release.