Maria Kavallaris1,2*


1ARC Centre of Excellence in Bio-Nano Science and Technology, Australian Centre for NanoMedicine, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia 
2Children’s Cancer Institute, Lowy Cancer Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Cancer remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality around the world. There were 14 million new cancer cases reported in 2012 and 8.8 million deaths in 2015, with a predicted increase of 70% new cases over the next twenty years. Chemotherapy is used extensively in the treatment of a range of childhood and adult cancers however, in many cases it causes toxic side effects, highlighting the imperative to develop effective and less toxic therapies.

The application of nanotechnology to address effective and potentially less toxic delivery of therapeutics is of enormous interest. Many nano-based delivery systems do not even reach clinical trials. This is in part due to limited or inappropriate preclinical testing systems being used at the early stages of development. In recent years, we have been developing biological models for testing nanoparticle-based therapeutic delivery systems including 3-dimensional (3D) tumour spheroid models, orthotopic tumour models of childhood and adult cancers and transgenic models of disease. Understanding how the biophysical characteristics of star-polymers1, and other polymer delivery systems, influence cellular uptake and in vivo delivery is of ongoing interest in our research.

The presentation will describe the development of nanoparticle-based therapeutic delivery, how these materials enter cells, the impact of biophysical characteristics and in vivo efficacy. The focus will be on difficult to treat cancers, “undruggable” or challenging targets and representative preclinical models to assess efficacy of the materials. 


1    Teo J, McCarroll JA, Boyer C, Youkhana J, Sagnella SM, Duong HT, Liu J, Sharbeen G, Goldstein D, Davis TP, Kavallaris M, Phillips PA. A Rationally Optimized Nanoparticle System for the Delivery of RNA Interference Therapeutics into Pancreatic Tumors in Vivo. Biomacromolecules 2016; 17: 2337-2351.