Engineering and study of peptide-based hydrogels for the sustained release of therapeutic proteins.

01 November 2019 → 28 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Synthesis of materials
    • Bio-organic chemistry
    • Organic chemical synthesis
therapeutic proteins
Project description

In today’s world, proteins are remarkable therapeutic agents that allow the treatment of severe, chronic and life-threatening diseases, such as hepatitis, diabetes, atopic dermatitis. From a therapeutic perspective, they are highly potent and offer the distinct advantage of specific mechanisms of action. To overcome the hurdles posed by high molecular weight, short half-lives, instability, surface charge distribution and immunogenicity due to repeated injections, we want to develop an appealing peptide hydrogelator that is injectable, biocompatible, non-cytotoxic and biodegradable, that can be used for the sustained delivery of two proteins of therapeutic interest. We will focus on Galectine 10, a protein important in airway inflammations, on the one hand and a TSLPR-IL-7Rα fusion protein, relevant for the treatment of asthma and atopic dermatitis. In order to achieve this, we will try to optimize the currently developed hexapeptide hydrogelator, by linking two hydrogelator sequences together, directly or via the use of a deoxycholic acid derivative as rigid scaffold. Subsequently, also linkage of the proteins of interest to the peptide hydrogelator, will be evaluated. We will evaluate the success of this biogel approach and compare it to a co-formulation strategy where the proteins will be non-covalently loaded into the hydrogel. In this way we hope to gather data that underscore the beneficial properties of our recently developed hydrogel platform.