Project: Gut-targeted RNA-based nanoparticles for fibrostenotic Crohn’s Disease: a novel therapeutic approach

Acronym RuNNINg (Reference Number: EURONANOMED2019-131)
Duration 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2022
Project Topic Intestinal fibrosis, i.e. the reaction of intestinal tissue to the damage inflicted by chronic inflammation, is a common and potentially serious complication of Crohn’s Disease (CD) that, to date, has no effective medical treatment. Data on the effect of anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive therapy on stricture formation are scarce and prospective observations are lacking; moreover, no appropriate drug delivery system has been so far successfully generated for the treatment of CD and CD-related complications, such as intestinal fibrosis. We previously observed that a7-Integrin is causally involved in the development of intestinal fibrosis and that calcium phosphate (CaP) nanoparticles conjugated with small interfering RNA (siRNA) against the a7-integrin expressing gene (ITGA7), may represent a valuable drug delivery system and a new therapeutic approach for future treatments of fibrostenotic CD patients. The overall goal of this project is to conceive an innovative nanoparticle-based drug delivery system to the fibrotic gut mucosa, featuring various routes of administration, cell specific targeting, efficient drug release, and maximal retention time in tissues. Furthermore, using a multi-disciplinary approach, we aim at promoting innovation and creativity in ITGA7 siRNA-loaded CaP formulations or preparations, that will be validated both in human primary cell lines derived from fibrotic patients, and in animal model of intestinal fibrosis, thus enhancing the translational aspect of this study. The proposed project is a unique opportunity to make a jump in our understanding of CD-related intestinal fibrosis, possibly opening new ways for more focused therapy. Additionally, the use of nanoparticles is suggested as a possible way for imaging intestinal fibrosis evolution and treatment, which could potentially open the way to new diagnostic and monitoring methods.
Network EuroNanoMed III
Call Joint Transnational Call (2019)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 ICH Coordinator Italy
2 SINTEF Industry Partner Norway
3 BIOEMTECH Partner Greece
4 VAXINANO Partner France
5 CNR Partner Italy