According to statistics from the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour every day. These patients make an average of 52 visits to their health care team to monitor, control and or/remove the tumour. Moreover, patients diagnosed with glioblastoma, also referred to as glioblastoma multiforme or GBM, have an average survival time of 12-14 months. These devastating statistics underlie the desperate need for therapeutic progress in this field. Adequate tumor control is complicated by poor drug penetration into the brain as well as heterogeneity of the tumour mass including populations of stem-like, therapy resistant cells capable of causing relapse, referred to as ‘tumour initiating cells’ (TICs).
Conjugated Polymer Nanoparticles (CPNs). CPNs are a family of nanomaterials generated from the nanoprecipitation of semiconducting polymers with various amphiphilic surfactants. Like other nanoparticle systems, CPNs have been demonstrated to possess most of the requirements to pass through the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB). Additionally, CPNs can be synthetically designed to be molecularly directed so that they can deliver targeted therapies directly to the TIC population of a tumor. This combination of features is unique, and CPNs represent a new road to therapeutic approaches to GBM.
The overall goal of the the proposed research project is to establish a HA-CPN nano-system that will provide a novel and effective therapeutic strategy against glioblastoma.