Ongoing Projects

Targeted Liposomes (tLip) (Bernasconi/Rössler)
By ‘decorating’ nanosized liposomes encapsulating VCR, a first-line chemotherapeutic for RMS, we aim to improve the efficacy of existing chemotherapies and minimize long-lasting side effects. We will characterize the leakiness of the vasculature in different RMS xenografts, to assess the characteristics and impact the EPR effect can have in our system. The pharmaceutical properties of liposomes targeted to RMS with peptides or nanobodies, and of control liposomes will be characterized both in vitro and in vivo. In particular we will compare the therapeutic efficacy of our novel formulations with that of the clinically approved VCR formulation Marqibo. The biodistribution and antitumoral activity of the drug loaded liposomal formulations will be investigated in a preclinical model of alveolar and embryonal RMS.

Targeted porous Silicon Nanoparticles (tpSiNP) (Rössler/Bernasconi)
We aim to target and cure the very aggressive pediatric ARMS tumor with a highly specific nanomedicine approach, something that has never been achieved before.

In order to target MRD in disseminated ARMS tumor stages, we will use the recently developed multifunctional porous silicon nanoparticles (pSiNP) modified with targeting peptides to deliver chemotherapeutic agents, as well as siRNA against the PAX3-FOXO-1 fusion transcript.

In a very innovative approach, we will combine the delivery of chemotherapeutic drugs and siRNA in one NP

CAR T cells (Bernasconi/Rössler)
CAR T cell therapy for solid tumors is hampered by the availability of ideal targets, by the hostile tumor microenvironment that hinder tumor infiltration, suppress T cell activation and proliferation, and induce T cell exhaustion.

In this research project, we aim to address these different points for CAR T cell therapy of rhabdomyosarcoma.