Symposium 1.3


(3 sessions)


Nanomedicine, nanocosmetics, nanodevices for food and agriculture, drug delivery, organic and inorganic nanoparticles, theranostic, nanotoxicology


  • María J. BLANCO-PRIETO  (School of Pharmacy, Univ. of Navarra, Pamplona, ES)

  • Céline FARCET ( Advanced Research, L’Oréal Research and Innovation, Aulnay, FR)

  • Fréderic LAGARCE ( INSERM/CNRS, Pharm. Dept., University of Angers, FR)

  • Francesco STELLACCI ( Institute of Materials, EPFL, Lausanne, CH)


Advanced nanoscale systems for drug delivery have recently received tremendous attention, in particular from the field of nanomedicine. The need for drug nanocarriers that efficiently target diseased areas in the body arises because drug efficacy is often altered by nonspecific cell and tissue biodistribution, and because some drugs, in particular promising biological drugs such as miRNA,  are rapidly metabolized or excreted from the body. The passage of the drug molecules and drug delivery system across several physiological barriers (i.e. epithelium, endothelium, cell membrane) represents another important challenge in drug targeting. Due to their huge surface area and many possibilities for surface engineering, nanotechnologies may be used for ex vivo analytical detection of disease markers, too. Owing to impressive progress in materials science and pharmaceutics, a broad range of nanocarriers/nanotechnologies with diverse sizes, architectures and surface properties have been designed. These include liposomes, polymer nanoparticles, micelles, dendrimers, and inorganic nanoparticles as oxides (silica, iron, titanium), quantum dots, gold or metal oxide frameworks. The size of these nanosystems is typically small (from a few tenths to a few hundreds of nanometers) to allow systemic (intravenous) or local (mucosal) administration, to promote drug diffusion within the cell or to perform in vivo or in vitro diagnosis.

In the drug delivery field, current surface functionalization methodologies can impart nanocarriers with the ability to control, at least in part, their pharmacokinetics and biodistribution, whereas delivering drugs to the cells by alternative pathways, allows to overcome certain mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer (incl. multidrug resistance) and infectious diseases which represents an important medical challenge. On-demand drug delivery in spatial-, temporal- and dosage-controlled fashions is also becoming feasible through the design of stimuli responsive systems that recognize their microenvironment and react in a dynamic way, mimicking the responsiveness of living organisms. In this context, synthetic mimics of the Extracellular Matrix (ECM) of different pathological conditions will generate ex vivo human tissue models for pharmacokinetic studies, avoiding the use of animals and moving to a personalized medicine approach. Moreover, the design of « multifunctional » nanomedicines allows combination of various functionalities, by loading in the same nanodevice: (i) two or more drug entities with complementary pharmacological targets or (ii) a chemotherapeutic and an imaging agent for « theranostic » purpose, paving the way for the co-called “personalized” medicine. Apart from drug administration, nanocarriers may also be used for vaccination purposes, in order to elicit a boosted immune response by the delivery of specific antigens. Noteworthy, some nanoformulations have already appeared on the market during the last decade or are in advanced clinical trials (phase III). 

Due to the expanding commercialization of products that contain engineered TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles in cosmetics and sunscreens for UVR protection, the conditions under which nanoparticles may penetrate the stratum corneum barrier and how their physiochemical properties may influence penetration, systemic translocation and toxicity deserves also to be addressed. It represents an important issue for application in cosmetics and beauty. The symposium will also consider the use of nanodevices for agriculture and food industry.

This symposium will, therefore, contemplate all the aspects related to the use of nanotechnologies for therapy, diagnosis (through in vivo imaging or in vitro detection) and other consumer good applications such as food and cosmetics. The scaling-up and toxicological issues will be discussed, too. Specifically for nanomedicine, special attention will be focused on how to improve the translation from the bench to the clinic.