The blood-brain barrier (BBB) limits the efficiency of most drugs intended to treat brain diseases. Nanoparticles (NPs) arise as a promising tool to increase the in vivo efficacy of these drugs, but they often need extra modifications such as coating with organic polymers of functionalization with BBB targeting ligands. There is a wide variety of functional NPs, each one usually requiring specific functionalization procedures. Therefore, a general approach that could be used to coat different types of NPs, regardless of their nature, would be very useful for NP-based brain therapies. Herein, we set the bases for the development of a versatile NP coating strategy, based on the combination of catechol-based polymers (which would act as a master key that attaches to different types of NPs) with BBB shuttle peptides (which would enable the passage of the coated NPs across the BBB). As proof of concept, two different catechol-based polymers, i.e. poly(cat-PEG) and catHMDA, were studied; their coating ability was tried on different iron oxide NPs as model. In the future, the candidates that showed better results will be functionalized with different BBB shuttle peptides, i.e. THRre and MiniAp-4, already synthesized and characterized.
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Minor project supervisor