Kocbek, Petra

Kocbek, Petra
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Biography:
Petra Kocbek is Associate Professor in Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology at University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2008. Her main research interests include nanomaterials for the delivery of small molecular weight drugs as well as biomacromolecules. Her recent scientific work is focused on the drug-loaded electrospun polymer nanofibers for application in oral cavity and on the magnetically responsive nanocarriers based on superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for the targeted cancer therapy. The results of her research have been presented at numerous scientific meetings and have been published in more than 20 peer-reviewed articles that have already received over 800 pure citations. P. Kocbek received Krka Prize for special research achievements in 2008 and Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem award for outstanding contributions made to science in the doctoral thesis in 2011.

Lecture:
Development of hollow nanostructures for magnetically-assisted drug delivery
Kocbek, P.1, Potrč, T.1, Kralj2, S., Makovec, D.2

1Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Department for Materials Synthesis, Jožef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Inorganic nanobiomaterials generally exert higher thermal and chemical stability as well as better resistance to physiological conditions compared to the organic counterparts, thus nowadays they attract special attention in biomedical field. Among them magneto-responsive materials based on superparamagnetic iron oxide nanocrystals (SPIONs) are especially interesting, since they enable magnetic drug targeting i.e. the remote control over the distribution and accumulation of the nanocarrier in the body [1]. However, preparation of effective and robust magnetically responsive nanocarriers still represents a great scientific challenge, due to physical limit of individual SPIONs, namely the too small magnetic force acting on individual nanocrystals exposed to magnetic field gradient, resulting in their ineffective spatial guidance. The solution to this shortcoming could be assembly of numerous individual SPIONs into superparamagnetic nanoparticle clusters, which exert good magnetic responsiveness, due to the increased volume of magnetic phase. In well-defined magnetic fields the clusters can form various hierarchical nanostructures (i.e. nanobundles, nanochains), having a great potential for the preparation of innovative magneto-responsive nanodelivery systems [2].

The presentation will briefly describe the synthesis of well-defined magnetic nanoparticle clusters and their assembly in hierarchical nanostructures. Then the development of magneto-responsive delivery system based on such clusters will be presented. The special attention will be paid to the method of drug loading, drug release studies and in vitro biocompatibility evaluation.

References:

[1] Kralj S, Potrč T, Kocbek P, et al. Curr. Med. Chem., 23, 1-16 (2016).
[2] Kralj S, Makovec D. ACS nano, 9, 9700-9707 (2015).