The core activity of the department is the design and pre-clinical testing of tailor-made drug delivery systems for site-specific, time- and/or rate-controlled delivery of small molecular weight drugs, therapeutic proteins, nucleic acids (including DNA and siRNA), and antigens for therapy and prevention of life-threatening diseases such as cancer, inflammation and infectious diseases.
Research in the Kok group is dedicated to the development of better and safer drugs by improving their biodistribution and by promoting their uptake in target cells. Rather than to rely on passive processes like diffusion, on can employ receptor-mediated endocytosis as a gateway for cell-specific uptake. Organs like liver and kidney express a wide range of such transporter proteins that are involved in the clearance of endogenous and exogenous compounds. The Kok group exploits these clearance pathways for cellular drug targeting to the kidney. Similarly, one can exploit membrane transporters for drug targeting to cancer cells, endothelial cells and many other cell types. A wide range of “nanocarrier” systems is at hand to achieve cell-specific targeting, ranging from drug-peptide conjugates to lipid- and polymer-based nanoparticles. biodistribution of nanocarriers and relative expression levels of target receptor. Equally important however is the medicinal chemistry of the nanomedicine since both drug, linker and carrier play a pivotal role in stability, biocompatibility and drug release. Synthesis, characterization and in vitro evaluation are the first stages of this type of interdisciplinary research. In a different approach, one can tailor the therapeutic profile of drugs towards a more focused tissue-specific action by localized drug delivery depots. Biopharmaceutical and pharmacological aspects are carefully considered in the selection of nanocarriers, e.g. Next, once in vitro proof-of-concept is obtained, biopharmaceutical and preclinical evaluation in animal models demonstrate the improved therapeutic index of nanomedicine based drugs.
at Groningen University
Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics,
Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences (UIPS)
Expert in drug targeting and pharmacokinetics
The primary goal of his research is to improve drug action
and safety by nanomedicines and drug delivery formulations.
PD Dr. Enrico Mastrobattista
PhD in Advanced Drug Delivery
Two years as a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow in the
MRC-Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge
Professor of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Delivery
at Utrecht University’s Faculty of Science
Dr. Nataliia Beztsinna
BS degree in Biology, MS degree in Biochemistry
PhD in Biology-Chemistry interface from University of Bordeaux
PostDoc researcher for the project (2015-2017)
Experienced in confocal microscopy, high content imaging,
3D tumor spheroids, molecular imaging, in vitro and in vivo
cancer models and targeted drug delivery.
Currently employed as Senior Scientist in Immuno-Oncology team at OcellO B.V.