About this research groupRoland Brock’s group focuses on the targeted delivery of molecules such as oligonucleotides, toxins and photosensitizers to modulate cell function and/or induce cell death. This research involves fundamental studies of formulation strategies and uptake mechanisms as well as preclinical applications.
Aims of this research groupResearch of the group aims at the development of targeted nanomedicines for disorders for which either no treatments are available, or the available medicines either lack efficiency or have too high side effects when applied systemically. Examples for the former are oligonucleotide-based therapies which critically depend on delivery strategies that mediate cellular entry, examples for the latter are bacterial toxins which kill cells at very low concentrations. For oligonucleotide delivery, we explore a broad range of approaches ranging from peptide-based approaches such as cell-penetrating peptides to retargeted viruses. For toxins and photosensitizers, we focus on engineered proteins such as DARPins and nanobodies which are smaller than antibodies and therefore possess better tissue penetration.
By using advanced microscopy techniques and innovative tumor-on-the-chip approaches we achieve a detailed understanding on the working mechanism in particular with respect to cell entry and tissue penetration. Based on these insights we identify the most promising molecular candidates for preclinical in vivo research.
This research is very interdisciplinary involving expertise in chemical biology conjugation techniques, protein engineering, microfluidics, advanced fluorescence microscopy and molecular pharmacology. As part of the Radboudumc we engage in numerous collaborations with clinical research groups to provide innovative therapeutic strategies in a broad spectrum of disease areas. Moreover, we bridge even more fundamental research in chemistry and cell biology with the clinic.
Discoveries of this research group
In collaboration with Dr. Johan van der Vlag (Dept. of Nephrology) we surprisingly found that glomerular cells carry a receptor for one of our so-called cell-penetrating peptides which gives the possibility for specific targeting in a range of inflammatory kidney disorders.read more