Research Research groups Engineered proteins for drug delivery

About this research group

This research group focuses on designing and investigating engineered proteins that overcome delivery barriers, employing synthetic binding proteins for target recognition. Various (super-resolution) microscopy techniques as well as microfluidic tumor-on-a-chip approaches are used.

read more

About this research group

This research group focuses on designing and investigating engineered proteins that overcome delivery barriers, employing synthetic binding proteins for target recognition. Various (super-resolution) microscopy techniques as well as microfluidic tumor-on-a-chip approaches are used.


Fig 1) Infection of EGFR receptor-retargeted adenoviruses (green) in a co-culture spheroid of tumor cells (cyan) and fibroblasts (red).


Fig 2) Delivery of DARPins (red) targeting the cancer-associated Her2 receptor into a spherical tumor mass of BT474 cells (cyan).


Research group leader

dr. Wouter Verdurmen MSc

contact form

Aims

This group follows three aims that center around engineered proteins in drug delivery: understanding and improving how therapeutic proteins reach the cytosol, establishing methods to investigate tumor-targeted drug delivery in 3D and improving tumor delivery of protein drugs in complex tissues.

read more

Aims

The research performed within this group follows three aims that center around the use of engineered proteins in drug delivery.

Understanding and improving how therapeutic proteins reach the cytosol

Currently, only a minority of intracellular targets can be therapeutically addressed. Most potential intracellular targets have thus remained undruggable. One possible approach is the cytosolic delivery of therapeutic proteins. We aim to understand cytosolic protein translocation and develop effective strategies for cytosolic delivery of therapeutic proteins, utilizing protein domains found in nature to enable membrane translocation.

Establishing methods to investigate tumor-targeted drug delivery in 3D

To investigate how therapeutic proteins reach cells within a tumor, we use microfluidic tumor-on-a-chip devices. These models enable a controlled study of factors involved in drug delivery and will ultimately lead to a better quantitative understanding of the transport processes that occur in and around tumor tissues.

Improving tumor delivery of protein drugs in complex tissues

Following the second aim, my group aims to implement strategies to improve tissue penetration of novel therapeutic agents, focusing either on tuning of drug properties or locally altering the tumor microenvironment.