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U18. Nanotoxicology Unit

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U18. Nanotoxicology Unit

    • Scientific Director: Prof. RamonMangues rmangues@santpau.cat
    • Scientific Coordinator: Isolda Casanova ICasanova@santpau.cat
    • Entities: Institut de Recerca. Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau 
    • Address: Hospital Santa Pau. c/Sant Antoni M. Claret, 167, 08025, Barcelona
    • Phone: +34 935 537 918
    • Web: WEB
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This Unit is located in the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, in Barcelona, and is coordinated by Dr. Ramón Mangues, PI of the Oncogenesis and Antitumor Drug Group. The main objective of the Nanotoxicology Unit is to assess the toxicity of new drugs, nanoparticles or nanotechnology-based biomaterials in in vitro and in vivo systems, with the goal of optimizing lead compounds and identifying those with the highest probability of success in the preclinical programme due to their greater safety and tolerability or reduced toxicity. The Unit has rooms equipped for cell culture, for cryopreservation of samples and cell lines, and for sample preparation and analysis and animal facilities for in vivo experimentation.

Equipment: The Unit has access to flow cytometers, sorters, confocal microscope and other equipment of the Platforms available at the Hospital Research Institute as well as housing facilities for small rodents (rat and mouse).

Active projects

TitleFundin: OrganismCall: Funding source Role
ICTS-2017-10-CIBER-2Acquisition and istallation of infrastrucuture to complemntUnis 3-Synthesis of Peptides, U18-Nanotoxicology y U20-In vivoExperimentMinisterio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad (MINECO)Programa Operativo FEDER de Crecimiento Inteligente 2014-2020 (POCInt)Coordinator
SAF2017-90810-REDIStrategic Promotion and coordinated management of Nanbiosis: Pronanbiosis IIAgencia Estatal de Investigación (AEI)Acciones de dinamización «REDES DE EXCELENCIA» -ICTS 2017Coordinator

Other projects

RefTitleFunding OrganismUnit Role
PI15/00378Intelligent nanoconjugates for targeted therapy of metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC)Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIWorking package
PIE15/00028Targeted nanocongugates for the selective elimination of stem cells in disseminated cancerInstituto de Salud Carlos IIIWorking package
PI15/00272Design of intelligent nanoconjugates for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIParticipant
CP15/00163Maria Virtudes Céspedes Navarro Contracts Miguel Servet Type IInstituto de Salud Carlos IIIWorking package
CD14/00055Contract SARA BORRELLInstituto de Salud Carlos IIIWorking package
Marato 416/C/2030TV32013-132031Genotoxic nanoparticles targeting colorectal cancer stem cellsMarato TV3Participant



  • Cespedes M.V., Guillen M.J., Lopez-Casas P.P., Sarno F., Gallardo A., Alamo P. et al. Lurbinectedin induces depletion of tumor-associated macrophages, an essential component of its in vivo synergism with gem;citabine, in pancreatic adenocarcinoma mouse models. DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms. 2016;9(12):1461-1471.
  • Rueda F., Cespedes M.V., Sanchez-Chardi A., Seras-Franzoso J., Pesarrodona M., Ferrer-Miralles N. et al. Structural and functional features of self-assembling protein nanoparticles produced in endotoxin-free Escherichia coli. Microbial Cell Factories. 2016;15(1):-.
  • Céspedes MV, Unzueta U, Álamo P, Gallardo A, Sala R, Casanova I et al. Cancer-specific uptake of a liganded protein nanocarrier targeting aggressive CXCR4+ colorectal cancer models.Nanomedicine : nanotechnology, biology, and medicine. 2016;12(7):-.
  • Cespedes M.V., Fernandez Y., Unzueta U., Mendoza R., Seras-Franzoso J., Sanchez-Chardi A. et al. Bacterial mimetics of endocrine secretory granules as immobilized in vivo depots for functional protein drugs. Scientific Reports. 2016;6:-.
  • Vazquez E., Mangues R., Villaverde A.. Functional recruitment for drug delivery through protein-based nanotechnologies. Nanomedicine. 2016;11(11):1333-1336.
  • Serna N., Cespedes M.V., Saccardo P., Xu Z., Unzueta U., Alamo P. et al. Rational engineering of single-chain polypeptides into protein-only, BBB-targeted nanoparticles. Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine. 2016;12(5):1241-1251.
  • Cano-Garrido O, Céspedes MV, Unzueta U, Saccardo P, Roldán M, Sánchez-Chardi A et al. CXCR4(+)-targeted protein nanoparticles produced in the food-grade bacterium Lactococcus lactis.Nanomedicine (London, England). 2016;11(18):-.
  • Rueda F., Gasser B., Sanchez-Chardi A., Roldan M., Villegas S., Puxbaum V. et al. Functional inclusion bodies produced in the yeast Pichia pastoris. Microbial Cell Factories. 2016;15(1):-.
  • Pesarrodona M., Fernandez Y., Foradada L., Sanchez-Chardi A., Conchillo-Sole O., Unzueta U. et al. Conformational and functional variants of CD44-targeted protein nanoparticles bio-produced in bacteria. Biofabrication. 2016;8(2):-.

News U18

25 Feb

An Auristatin-based nanoconjugate reduces leukemia burden in a disseminated AML model

Researchers of the Nanotoxicology Unit of the the CIBER-BBN ICTS NANBIOSIS (u18-nanotoxicology-unit), leaded by Ramon Mangues and Isolda Casanova at the Research Institute of the Hospital de Sant Pau and of the NANBIOSIS (nanbiosis.es) Protein Platform (u1-protein-production-platform-ppp) leaded by Antonio Villaverde and Neus Ferrer Miralles of the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, have developed a novel protein-Auristatin nanoconjugate that specifically targets CXCR4-overexpressing acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. It selectively accumulates in target cancer cells expressing this receptor and deliver the toxin Auristatin within their cytosol. There, Auristatin potently blocks microtubule polymerization, provoking mitotic catastrophe,[...]

21 Feb

A nanotoxin targeting the receptor CXCR4 blocks lymphoma dissemination

Researchers at the Nanotoxicology Unit of CIBER-BBN ICTS NANBIOSIS (u18-nanotoxicology-unit), led by Ramon Mangues and Isolda Casanova of the Research Institute at the Hospital de Sant Pau and the Researchers of the NANBIOSIS (nanbiosis.es) Protein Production Platform (u1-protein-production-platform-ppp) led by Antonio Villaverde and Neus Ferrer Miralles of the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, have participated in the development of a novel protein nanoparticle that incorporates the Exotoxin of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, capable of targeting lymphoma cells that overexpress the CXCR4 receptor. They internalize selectively in target cancer cells through CXCR4 receptor-mediated endocytosis du[...]

15 Feb

Identification of a novel nanotherapy active in cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy

Researchers of the Nanotoxicology Unit (u18-nanotoxicology-unit) led by Ramon Mangues and Isolda Casanova at the Research Institute of the Hospital de Sant Pau and the Protein Production Platform (u1-protein-production-platform-ppp), led by Antonio Villaverde and Neus Ferrer Miralles of the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, both belonging to the ICTS NANBIOSIS (nanbiosis.es) of the CIBER-BBN, have participated in the production of a novel Nanotoxin capable of selectively killing cancer cells which became resistant to chemotherapy. Development of cancer resistance frequently associates with the overexpression of the CXCR4 receptor. It is known that chemotherapy kills cancer[...]

11 Feb

NANBIOSIS Scientific Women in the International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Today February 11 is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day to raise awareness of the gender gap in science and technology. According to the United Nations, while yet women and girls continue to be excluded from participating fully in science, science and gender equality are vital to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Thus, in recent years, the international community has made a great effort to inspire and promote the participation of women and girls in science. NANBIOSIS wants to acknowledge  the efforts made by scientific women who struggle every day to contribut[...]

07 Feb

The Need to Determine the Therapeutic Window of Novel Targeted Anticancer Nanomedicines

The Nanotoxicology Unit of CIBER-BBN ICTS NANBIOSIS, leaded by Ramon Mangues at the Research Institute of the Hospital de Sant Pau is devoted to evaluate effectiveness and toxicity of novel nanoparticles.  This Unit advises clients on the need to study simultaneously anticancer activity and associated toxicity. Thus, preclinical evaluation of novel Nanomedicines is usually carried out performing studies that assess their therapeutic effect, separated from additional experiments devoted to evaluate the toxicity associated with treatment. The dosage used to assess the therapeutic effect, often, significantly differs from the one used to study toxicity, since one is aiming to know t[...]

04 Feb

Design and engineering of tumor-targeted, dual-acting cytotoxic nanoparticles

In the frame of the collaboration of three units of NANBIOSIS, researchers of CIBER-BBN Groups proposed a strategy to simultaneously deliver anticancer drug pairs, composed by a tumor-targeted protein nanoparticle and an antiproliferative drug, with specific activ-ity for the same type of cancer. These three units are: NANBIOSIS U1 Protein Production Platform (PPP), at IBB-UAB, led by Toni Villaverde y Neus Ferrer NANBIOSIS U18 of Nanotoxicology Unit, at Institut de Recerca. Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, led by Ramón Manques and Isolda Casanova, and NANBIOSIS U29 Oligonucleotide Synthesis Platform (OSP) at IQAC_CSIC, led by Ramón Eritja and[...]

09 Jul

A new nanoconjugate blocks acute myeloid leukemia tumor cells without harming healthy ones

Researchers from NANBIOSIS U18 Nanotoxicology Unit at the Institut d’Investigació Biomèdica de Sant Pau (IIB Sant Pau) and NANBIOSIS U1 Protein Production Platform (PPP) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) toghether with researchers of Institut de Recerca contra la Leucèmia Josep Carreras (IJC) have demonstrated the efficacy of a new nanoconjugate, designed in house, that blocks dissemination of leukemic cells in animal models of acute myeloid leukemia. These results have been published in a high impact scientific journal in the field of oncology and hematology, Journal of Hematology and Oncology. Most of the experimental work has been performed in[...]

11 May

NANBIOSIS Scientists discover a promising effective alternative to reduse relapse rates in Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma Cells

Researchers of NANBIOSIS-ICTS Units from CIBER-BBN: U1 Protein Production Platform (PPP) at IBB-UAB, led by Antoni Villaverde and Unit 18 Nanotoxicology Unit at IBB-Hospital Sant Pau, led by Ramón Mangues, have demonstrated a potent T22-PE24-H6 antineoplastic effect, especially in blocking dissemination in a CXCR4+ DLBCL model without associated toxicity. Thereby, T22-PE24-H6 promises to become an effective alternative to treat CXCR4+ disseminated refractory or relapsed DLBCL patients. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a cancer of B cells, a type of lymphocyte that is responsible for producing antibodies. It is the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma among adults, with an annual incidence of 7–8 cases per 100,000 people per year in the US and[...]