Innovative Therapies

Nanosystems and Targeted Antitumor Strategies


Gene Delivery

Drug Delivery

Targeted Cancer Therapy

Research lines

Development and characterization of novel inorganic-, lipid- and polymer-based nanosystems that have the ability to specifically and efficiently deliver different therapeutic agents, such as genetic material and drugs, into target cells

Generations of combined multitarget antitumor strategies, acting in several signaling pathways of carcinogenesis

assessment of the in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity of the combined and individual strategies

and clarification of the underlying tumor cell death mechanisms


Cancer remains a major health problem, being a leading cause of death worldwide. Despite the ongoing efforts, current treatment options are largely insufficient, being associated to multiple limitations. This fact highlight the urgent need for the development of novel therapeutic interventions, just like those involving the combination of gene therapy and chemotherapy.
Nanotechnology-based systems could greatly contribute to the success of these combined antitumor strategies, since nanosystems, namely targeted-nanosystems, have the capacity to specifically and efficiently deliver the therapeutic molecules into target cells.

The main goal of our group is to generate novel delivery nanosystems that have the ability to mediate new combined multi-target antitumor strategies, such as those involving genetic material and drugs, in order to obtain a higher therapeutic efficacy than that achieved with current treatment options.

Our principal objectives are:

  • To develop and widely characterize different delivery nanosystems (in terms of: mean diameter; surface charge; morphology; genetic material complexation and protection; drug loading and release; biocompatibility; interaction and release into cancer cells).
  • To generate and evaluate multitarget antitumor approaches (in terms of: cell viability; proliferation; migration; apoptosis and necrosis levels; cell cycle; mRNA and protein levels of the molecular targets; tumor size and histology; animal survival) acting in several signaling pathways of carcinogenesis.
  • To demonstrate that the generated nanosystems and the innovative antitumor strategies could result in a higher therapeutic activity and less side effects than conventional therapeutic strategies in different cancer diseases.


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Information about journal articles, updated at 17-12-2023, from platform CIÊNCIAVITAE.

Targeted downregulation of MYC mediated by a highly efficient lactobionic acid-based glycoplex to enhance chemosensitivity in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells

Santo, Daniela; Mendonça, Patrícia V.; Serra, Arménio C.; Coelho, Jorge F.J.; Faneca, Henrique, 2023. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 122865 - 122882. 637. 2023. . 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2023.122865 . International Journal of Pharmaceutics

Glycopolymers Mediate Suicide Gene Therapy in ASGPR-Expressing Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells in Tandem with Docetaxel

Santo, Daniela; Cordeiro, Rosemeyre A.; Mendonça, Patrícia V.; Serra, Arménio C.; Coelho, Jorge F. J.; Faneca, Henrique, 2023. Biomacromolecules. 1274 - 1286. 3. 24. 2023. . 10.1021/acs.biomac.2c01329 . Biomacromolecules

Polymer- and lipid-based gene delivery technology for CAR T cell therapy

Pinto, Inês S.; Cordeiro, Rosemeyre A.; Faneca, Henrique, 2023. Journal of Controlled Release. 196 - 215. 353. 2023. . 10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.11.038 . published Journal of Controlled Release

Expanding the use of affordable CuSO4·5H2O in ATRP techniques in homogeneous media

Ribeiro, Jessica P.M.; Mendonça, Patrícia V.; Santo, Daniela; De Bon, Francesco; Faneca, Henrique; Guliashvili, Tamaz; Coelho, Jorge F.J.; Serra, Arménio C., 2022. Polymer. 124526 - 124534. 241. 2022. . 10.1016/j.polymer.2022.124526 . Polymer

Engineering silica-polymer hybrid nanosystems for dual drug and gene delivery

Cordeiro, Rosemeyre A.; Mendonça, Patrícia V.; Coelho, Jorge; Faneca, Henrique, 2022. Biomaterials Advances. 212742 - 212754. 135. 2022. . 10.1016/j.bioadv.2022.212742 . Biomaterials Advances

Fabrication of 3D scaffolds based on fully biobased unsaturated polyester resins by microstereo-lithography

Gonçalves, Filipa A M M; Fonseca, Ana C; Cordeiro, Rosemeyre; Piedade, Ana P; Faneca, Henrique; Serra, Arménio; Coelho, Jorge F J, 2022. Biomedical Materials. 025010 - 025021. 2. 17. 2022. . 10.1088/1748-605x/ac4b46 . published Biomedical Materials

Stem cell membrane-coated abiotic nanomaterials for biomedical applications

Ferreira-Faria, Inês; Yousefiasl, Satar; Macário-Soares, Ana; Pereira-Silva, Miguel; Peixoto, Diana; Zafar, Hajra; Raza, Faisal; et al, 2022. Journal of Controlled Release. 174 - 197. 351. 2022. . 10.1016/j.jconrel.2022.09.012 . published Journal of Controlled Release

Novel Non-Viral Vectors Based on Pluronic® F68PEI with Application in Oncology Field

Silva, Inês; Domingues, Cátia; Jarak, Ivana; Carvalho, Rui A.; Cordeiro, Rosemeyre A.; Dourado, Marília; Veiga, Francisco; Faneca, Henrique; Figueiras, Ana, 2022. Polymers. 5315 - 5329. 23. 14. 2022. . 10.3390/polym14235315 . published Polymers

Triantennary GalNAc-Functionalized Multi-Responsive Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery Targeted at Asialoglycoprotein Receptor

Cordeiro, Rosemeyre; Carvalho, Ana; Durães, Luísa; Faneca, Henrique, 2022. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 6243 - 6260. 11. 23. 2022. . 10.3390/ijms23116243 . International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Combining gene therapy with other therapeutic strategies and imaging agents for cancer theranostics

Azevedo, Alexandro; Farinha, Dina; Geraldes, Carlos; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2021. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 120905 - 120928. 606. 2021. . 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.120905 . published International Journal of Pharmaceutics

Non-Viral Gene Delivery Systems

Faneca, Henrique, 2021. Pharmaceutics. 446 - 449. 04. 13. 2021. pharmaceutics13040446 . 10.3390/pharmaceutics13040446 . published Pharmaceutics

Recent advances in peptide-targeted micelleplexes: Current developments and future perspectives

Costa, Diana; Santo, Daniela; Domingues, Cátia; Veiga, Francisco; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6); Figueiras, Ana, 2021. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 120362 - 120382. 597. 2021. . 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2021.120362 . published International Journal of Pharmaceutics

A Combined Antitumor Strategy Mediated by a New Targeted Nanosystem to Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Farinha, Dina; Michael Migawa; Sarmento-Ribeiro, AB; Faneca, Henrique, 2021. International Journal of Nanomedicine. 3385 - 3405. 16. 2021. . 10.2147/IJN.S302288 . published International Journal of Nanomedicine

Supercritically dried superparamagnetic mesoporous silica nanoparticles for cancer theranostics

Vaz-Ramos, Joana; Cordeiro, Rosemeyre; Castro, M. Margarida C.A.; Geraldes, Carlos F.G.C.; Costa, Benilde F.O.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6); Durães, Luísa, 2020. Materials Science and Engineering: C. 111124 - 111138. 115. 2020. . 10.1016/j.msec.2020.111124 . published Materials Science and Engineering: C

Silica-Based Gene Delivery Systems: From Design to Therapeutic Applications

Carvalho, Ana Maria; Cordeiro, Rosemeyre A.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2020. Pharmaceutics. 649 - 694. 7. 12. 2020. . 10.3390/pharmaceutics12070649 . published Pharmaceutics

Polymeric nanoengineered HBsAg DNA vaccine designed in combination with ß-glucan

Edna Soares; Rosemeyre Cordeiro; Henrique Faneca; Olga Borges, 2019. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 930 - 939. 122. 2019. . 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.11.024 . published International Journal of Biological Macromolecules

Poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(2-aminoethyl methacrylate hydrochloride)-based polyplexes as serum-tolerant nanosystems for enhanced gene delivery

Daniela Santo; Patrícia V. Mendonça; Mafalda S. Lima; Rosemeyre A. Cordeiro; Luis Cabanas; Arménio Serra; Jorge F.J. Coelho; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2019. Molecular Pharmaceutics. 2129 - 2141. 5. 16. 2019. . 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.9b00101 . published Molecular Pharmaceutics

Replacing di(2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate by di(2-ethylhexyl) 2,5-furandicarboxylate for PVC plasticization: synthesis, materials preparation and characterization

Marina Matos; Rosemeyre A. Cordeiro; Faneca, Henrique; Jorge Coelho; Armando Silvestre; Andreia Sousa, 2019. Materials. 14. 12. 2019. . 10.3390/ma12142336 . published Materials

Poly(ß-amino ester)-based gene delivery systems: From discovery to therapeutic applications

Rosemeyre A. Cordeiro; Arménio Serra; Jorge F.J. Coelho; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2019. Journal of Controlled Release. 155 - 187. 310. 2019. . 10.1016/j.jconrel.2019.08.024 . published Journal of Controlled Release

High transfection efficiency promoted by tailor-made cationic tri-block copolymer-based nanoparticles

Cordeiro, R.A.; Santo, D.; Farinha, D.; Serra, A.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6); Coelho, J.F.J., 2017. Acta Biomaterialia. 113 - 123. 47. 2017. . 10.1016/j.actbio.2016.10.015 . published Acta Biomaterialia

Combination of poly[(2-dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate] and poly(ß-amino ester) results in a strong and synergistic transfection activity

Santo, D.; Cordeiro, R.A.; Sousa, A.; Serra, A.; Coelho, J.F.J.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2017. Biomacromolecules. 3331 - 3342. 10. 18. 2017. . 10.1021/acs.biomac.7b00983 . published Biomacromolecules

Managing pancreatic adenocarcinoma: A special focus in microRNA gene therapy

Passadouro, M.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2016. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 5. 17. 2016. . 10.3390/ijms17050718 . published International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Intranasal administration of novel chitosan nanoparticle/DNA complexes induces antibody response to hepatitis B surface antigen in mice

Lebre, F.; Borchard, G.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6); Pedroso De Lima, M.C.; Borges, O., 2016. Molecular Pharmaceutics. 472 - 482. 2. 13. 2016. . 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.5b00707 . published Molecular Pharmaceutics

Novel cationic triblock copolymer of poly[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate]-block-poly(ß-amino ester)-block-poly[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate]: A promising non-viral gene delivery system

Cordeiro, R.A.; Farinha, D.; Rocha, N.; Serra, A.C.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6); Coelho, J.F.J., 2015. Macromolecular Bioscience. 215 - 228. 2. 15. 2015. . 10.1002/mabi.201400424 . published Macromolecular Bioscience

Shutting down the furnace: preferential killing of cancer cells with mitochondrial-targeting molecules

Deus, C.M.; Santos, G.L.; Loureiro, R.; Vega-Naredo, I.; Faneca, H.; Oliveira, P.J., 2015. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 2438 - 2457. 20. 22. 2015. . 10.2174/0929867322666150209155957 . published Current Medicinal Chemistry

MicroRNA modulation combined with sunitinib as a novel therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer

Passadouro, M.; Pedroso de Lima, M.C.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2014. International Journal of Nanomedicine. 3203 - 3217. 1. 9. 2014. . 10.2147/IJN.S64456 . published International Journal of Nanomedicine

Increased gene delivery efficiency and specificity of a lipid-based nanosystem incorporating a glycolipid

Magalhães, M.; Farinha, D.; Pedroso de Lima, M.C.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2014. International journal of nanomedicine. 4979 - 4989. 9. 2014. . 10.2147/IJN.S69822 . published International journal of nanomedicine

Specific and efficient gene delivery mediated by an asialofetuin-associated nanosystem

Farinha, D.; Pedroso De Lima, M.C.; Faneca, Henrique (4E1F-D234-7CD6), 2014. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 366 - 374. 1-2. 473. 2014. . 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2014.07.019 . published International Journal of Pharmaceutics

3D printing of new biobased unsaturated polyesters by microstereo-thermallithography

Gonçalves, F.A.; Costa, C.S.; Fabela, I.G.; Farinha, D.; Faneca, H.; Simões, P.N.; Serra, A.C.; Bártolo, P.J.; Coelho, J.F., 2014. Biofabrication. 3. 6. 2014. . 10.1088/1758-5082/6/3/035024 . published Biofabrication

Suicide gene therapy in cancer: Where do we stand now?

Duarte, S.; Carle, G.; Faneca, H.; Lima, M.C.P.D.; Pierrefite-Carle, V., 2012. Cancer Letters. 160 - 170. 2. 324. 2012. . 10.1016/j.canlet.2012.05.023 . published Cancer Letters

Lanthanide-DTPA grafted silica nanoparticles as bimodal-imaging contrast agents

Pinho, S.L.C.; Faneca, H.; Geraldes, C.F.G.C.; Delville, M.-H.; Carlos, L.D.; Rocha, J., 2012. Biomaterials. 925 - 935. 3. 33. 2012. . 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2011.09.086 . published Biomaterials

Silica nanoparticles for bimodal MRI-optical imaging by grafting Gd3+ and Eu3+/Tb3+ complexes

Pinho, S.L.C.; Faneca, H.; Geraldes, C.F.G.C.; Rocha, J.; Carlos, L.D.; Delville, M.-H., 2012. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry. 2828 - 2837. 16. 2012. . 10.1002/ejic.201101110 . published European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry

Folate-associated lipoplexes mediate efficient gene delivery and potent antitumoral activity in vitro and in vivo

Duarte, S.; Faneca, H.; Lima, M.C.P.D., 2012. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 365 - 377. 2. 423. 2012. h . 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2011.12.035 . published International Journal of Pharmaceutics

Isolation of head and neck squamous carcinoma cancer stem-like cells in a syngeneic mouse model and analysis of hypoxia effect

Duarte, S.; Loubat, A.; Momier, D.; Topi, M.; Faneca, H.; Pedroso De Lima, M.C.; Carle, G.F.; Pierrefite-Carle, V., 2012. Oncology Reports. 1057 - 1062. 3. 28. 2012. . 10.3892/or.2012.1904 . published Oncology Reports

In situ forming chitosan hydrogels prepared via ionic/covalent co-cross-linking

Moura, M.J.; Faneca, H.; Lima, M.P.; Gil, M.H.; Figueiredo, M.M., 2011. Biomacromolecules. 3275 - 3284. 9. 12. 2011. . 10.1021/bm200731x . published Biomacromolecules

Gemini surfactant dimethylene-1,2-bis(tetradecyldimethylammonium bromide)-based gene vectors: A biophysical approach to transfection efficiency

Ana M Cardoso; Faneca, Henrique; João Almeida; Alberto Pais; Eduardo Marques; Maria Pedroso Lima; Amália Jurado, 2011. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes. 2011. . 10.1016/j.bbamem.2010.09.026 . published Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes

Non-covalent association of folate to lipoplexes: a promising strategy to improve gene delivery in the presence of serum

Duarte, S.; Faneca, H.; Pedroso De Lima, M.C., 2011. Journal of Controlled Release. 264 - 272. 3. 149. 2011. . 10.1016/j.jconrel.2010.10.032 . published Journal of Controlled Release

Dicationic alkylammonium bromide gemini surfactants. membrane perturbation and skin irritation

Almeida, J.A.S.; Faneca, H.; Carvalho, R.A.; Marques, E.F.; Pais, A.A.C.C., 2011. PLoS ONE. 11. 6. 2011. . 10.1371/journal.pone.0026965 . published PLoS ONE

Inclusion of a single-tail amino acid-based amphiphile in a lipoplex formulation: effects on transfection efficiency and physicochemical properties

Lundberg, D.; Faneca, H.; Pedroso De Lima, M.C.; Miguel, M.D.G.; Lindman, B., 2011. Molecular Membrane Biology. 42 - 53. 1. 28. 2011. . 10.3109/09687688.2010.508879 . published Molecular Membrane Biology

Study of the antidiabetic capacity of the VO(dmpp)2 complex

Passadouro, M.; Metelo, A.M.; Melão, A.S.; Pedro, J.R.; Faneca, H.; Carvalho, E.; Castro, M.M.C.A., 2010. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 987 - 992. 9. 104. 2010. . 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2010.05.004 . published Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry

Interaction of proteinase inhibitors with phospholipid vesicles is modulated by pH

Silva-Lucca, R.A.; Faneca, H.M.S.; de Lima, M.C.P.; De Caroli, F.P.; Assis, M.L.; Sampaio, M.U.; Oliva, M.L.V., 2010. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 551 - 557. 4. 47. 2010. . 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2010.07.011 . published International Journal of Biological Macromolecules

Vanadium compounds as therapeutic agents: some chemical and biochemical studies

Faneca, H.; Figueiredo, V.A.; Tomaz, I.; Gonçalves, G.; Avecilla, F.; Pedroso de Lima, M.C.; Geraldes, C.F.G.C.; Pessoa, J.C.; Castro, M.M.C.A., 2009. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 601 - 608. 4. 103. 2009. . 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2008.11.004 . published Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry

Transferrin lipoplex-mediated suicide gene therapy of oral squamous cell carcinoma in an immunocompetent murine model and mechanisms involved in the antitumoral response

Neves, S.; Faneca, H.; Bertin, S.; Konopka, K.; Düzgünes, N.; Pierrefite-Carle, V.; Simões, S.; Pedroso De Lima, M.C., 2009. Cancer Gene Therapy. 91 - 101. 1. 16. 2009. h . 10.1038/cgt.2008.60 . published Cancer Gene Therapy

Synergistic antitumoral effect of vinblastine and HSV-Tk/GCV gene therapy mediated by albumin-associated cationic liposomes

Faneca, H.; Faustino, A.; Pedroso de Lima, M.C., 2008. Journal of Controlled Release. 175 - 184. 2. 126. 2008. . 10.1016/j.jconrel.2007.12.005 . published Journal of Controlled Release

S413-PV cell penetrating peptide and cationic liposomes act synergistically to mediate intracellular delivery of plasmid DNA

Sara Trabulo; Miguel Mano; Faneca, Henrique; Ana L Cardoso; Sónia Duarte; Ana Henriques; Artur Paiva; et al, 2008. The Journal of Gene Medicine. 1210 - 1222. 11. 10. 2008. . 10.1002/jgm.1247 . published The Journal of Gene Medicine

Evaluation of the antitumoral effect mediated by IL-12 and HSV-tk genes when delivered by a novel lipid-based system

Faneca, H.; Cabrita, A.S.; Simões, S.; Pedroso de Lima, M.C., 2007. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. 1093 - 1102. 5. 1768. 2007. . 10.1016/j.bbamem.2006.12.017 . published Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes

Cationic liposomes for gene delivery

Simões, S.; Filipe, A.; Faneca, H.; Mano, M.; Penacho, N.; Düzgünes, N.; de Lima, M.P., 2005. Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery. 237 - 254. 2. 2. 2005. . 10.1517/17425247.2.2.237 . published Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery

Association of albumin or protamine to lipoplexes: enhancement of transfection and resistance to serum

Faneca, H.; Simões, S.; Pedroso de Lima, M.C., 2004. Journal of Gene Medicine. 681 - 692. 6. 6. 2004. . 10.1002/jgm.550 . published Journal of Gene Medicine

Protein-associated lipoplexes: Novel strategies to enhance gene delivery mediated by lipid-based particles

Simões, S.; Fonseca, C.; Faneca, H.; Düzgünes, N.; Pedroso de Lima, M.C., 2002. S.T.P. Pharma Sciences. 339 - 344. 6. 12. 2002. . published S.T.P. Pharma Sciences

Evaluation of lipid-based reagents to mediate intracellular gene delivery

Faneca, H.; Simões, S.; Pedroso de Lima, M.C., 2002. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes. 23 - 33. SUPPL.. 1567. 2002. . 10.1016/S0005-2736(02)00545-X . published Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes

Cationic lipid-DNA complexes in gene delivery: from biophysics to biological applications

Pedroso De Lima, M.C.; Simões, S.; Pires, P.; Faneca, H.; Düzgünes, N., 2001. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. 277 - 294. 2-3. 47. 2001. . 10.1016/S0169-409X(01)00110-7 . published Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews

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