Therapeutic modulation of myeloid immune cells

Myeloid immune cells are efficient in clearing foreign materials from the body. Particularly macrophages can be reached efficiently using nano-szed carreries. Nanotechnology holds an enormous potential to become the most important scientific discipline of the current century. Nanomedicines nowadays represent the most frequently used chemotherapeutic drug. In general, nanomedicine offers the possibility of reducing side effects based on improved drug delivery. Rising in parallel with nanomedicine, immunotherapy of cancer has experienced a major breakthrough in cancer immunotherapeutics targeting programmed cell death (PD1). The next big episode is expected to depend on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells which can be instructed to selectively kill lymphatic B cells. While lymphoid cells are already being engaged, modulation of myeloid cells is far less explored. It is certain that cell therapy and nucleic acid delivery will further gain importance in future. We thus focus our research on the interactions between immune cells and different drugs and various drug carriers. It is our vision to steadily improve molecular tools for myeloid cell activation, i.e. small molecular, antibodies, and nanomedicines.

In the past, we have successfully treated acute liver disease using liposomal carriers for corticosteroids which induced M2-MΦ:

Two representative projects

Novel treatment options for inflammatory liver disease

Our lab studies the effects of nanomaterials on immune cell activation, especially with the intention to reprogram macrophages in diseases, since 2007. Recent groundbreaking studies include successful treatment of acute liver disease using encapsulated corticosteroids (Bartneck et al. 2015, Biomaterials). Nanocarriers to engage macrophage subpopulations are being explored with Dr. Ruchi Bansal of Biomaterials Science and Technology- Targeted Therapeutics at Twente University in the Netherlands. Comprehensive modulation of myeloid cell migration is a project currently performed with Dr. Isabella Tavernaro from Saarland University. In 2019, our group began to study small non-coding RNA to modulate the activation of macrophages

Targeting myeloid cells in hepatocellular carinoma

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) typically arises in fibrotic or cirrhotic livers that exhibit a pathologic angiogenesis. Myeloid immune cells, specifically tumor-associated macrophages (TAM), may represent potential novel therapeutic targets in HCC, complementing current ablative or immune therapies, because macrophages can contribute to fibrosis, angiogenesis, HCC development and progression. Yet, the detailed functions of TAM subsets, especially their hepatic localization and molecular activation, in these processes have remained obscure. We analyze the localizations of different macrophage subsets in human liver sections and perform experimental models to study innovative interventions.

Recent book chapters

Current and rising concepts in immunotherapy: biopharmaceuticals vs. nanomedicines. Dr. Matthias Bartneck (Author). R. Bawa, J. Szebeni, T. Webster and G. F. Audette (Editors). Book title: Immune Aspects of Biopharmaceuticals and Nanomedicines, Pan Stanford Publishing, Singapore (2018) [ISBN 978-981-4774-52-9 (Hardbound), 978-0-203-73153-6 (eBook)]


Editorial activities