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Projects. Life and Earth Sciences

Nanotechnologically reprogrammed cellular medicines

Lead Researcher:
Marcos García Fuentes

Research Centre:
Centro Singular de Investigación en Medicina Molecular y Enfermedades Crónicas. Universidad de Santiago de Compostela.

Synopsis: 

Marcos García Fuentes The use of stem cells as therapeutic tools is associated with the regeneration of complex tissues and organs. However, these applications are currently restricted in clinical terms due to the lack of availability of stem cells, together with the difficulty of inducing conversion to target lines safely and efficiently. This proposal involves a cellular medicine platform based on priming lines with the potential characteristics of efficacy, safety and logistic convenience, turning them into tools for clinical use. The technology presented is based on the concept of directly reprogramming target cell lines, without going through a previous state of pluripotency ("line priming"). To achieve these aims, line priming will take place using a population of cells that are accessible and available in sufficient amounts, using synthetic nanovectors with a high level of biosafety. Finally, the primed cells will be integrated within biomimetic scaffolding able to direct the association of cells for the formation of structural tissues. This project is intended to achieve an initial proof of concept by priming functional human chondrocytes and neurons and then studying the possibility of assembling these cells for the formation of hyaline cartilage and layers of interconnected neurons.

During these first months of the project, work is being undertaken to optimise gene transfer methodology for line priming. More specifically, work is taking place on optimising the gene sequences using several synthetic and biosynthetic methods to promote the maximum expression of the transgenes introduced. Using these methods, up to 70% of adult stem cells express the transgene. This work will be complemented by another nanotechnological approach: the design of high transfectability synthetic nanovectors. Additionally, during these first months, a genetic sequence is being designed that is able to prime chondrogenic lines based on adult stem cells.

Scientific production
1 paper at international conferences


Marcos García Fuentes

Marcos García Fuentes is currently a researcher in the Single Research Centre for Molecular Medicine and Chronic Diseases of the University of Santiago de Compostela. He holds a degree (1998) and a doctorate in Pharmacy (2004) from the said University. Marcos García has been visiting researcher in the NSF Programme on Therapeutic and Diagnostic Devices, University of Purdue, with Professor Nicholas A. Peppas (2000) and "Marie Curie" postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences in ETH Zurich, with Professor Lorenz Meinel and Professor Hans P. Merkle (2005-2007). In 2007, he rejoined the University of Santiago de Compostela by means of an Isidro Parga Pondal contract. Marcos García has undertaken his research career in the field of nanotechnologies and advanced biomaterials for medical applications. More specifically, he took part in the design of nanovehicles able to cross complex biological barriers, systems for the sustained liberation of pro-regenerative biopharmaceuticals and biomimetic materials for the engineering of tissues and organs. Marcos García has taken part in projects and contracts with a value greater than 1 million euros, as principal investigator in several of them. In the past 10 years he has accumulated more than 30 international publications, several of them in leading journals in the areas of pharmacy and biomaterials. Likewise, he is the co-inventor of three patents in different phases of international publication. Marcos García is the Spanish representative on the European NAMABIO network, and he takes part in a range of activities in connection with technology transfer, teaching and the spread of scientific knowledge.


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