ICT Project


Credits: IN srl

Cupido: inhalable nanoparticles that deliver as simple as breathing a therapeutic to the heart.


From Feb. 1, 2017 to Jan. 31, 2021

Keywords: medicine heart health

Description of the challenges faced by the ICT-Project

The cardiovascular field needs fresh approaches to discover novel patient-friendly therapies that are more efficient, safer and heart-specific. The EU-funded project CUPIDO proposes to boost the field by applying an innovative solution: exploiting a tiny system such as nanoparticles as a route of administration and producing the first non-invasive and heart-specific therapy. The nanoparticles should be inhalable, biocompatible, biodegradable and must self-assemble to encapsulate drugs (novel or available) in a suitable format for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Several challenges are associated with the nanoparticle route: once inhaled, the nanoparticles should reach the deep lung, cross the pulmonary barrier and quickly reach the heart, where the drug will be finally released. The heart-specificity will be improved by applying a chemical and a magnetic guidance to further reduce the chances of adverse side effects.

Brief description of technology

CNR-IRGB: Visualization of nanoparticle translocation to the heart. - Super-resolution microscopy of nanoparticles cellular uptake and subcellular trafficking at single cell and organ level. - In vivo fluorescence tomography imaging for nanoparticle biodistribution. - scanning ion conductance microscope to study living cardiac cells at nanomolecular levels and evaluate the interaction with nanoparticles - All activities routinely performed in the wet lab for nucleic acid and protein analysis, in vitro cell handling and functional characterization. PlumeStars: Laboratories and facilities where the inhalable powder is produced, for example through high-performance liquid chromatography, and the in vivo testing. Nemera Development of the drug delivery device, from the early stage to manufacturing: concept generation, design & prototyping, scale-up & pilot, industrialization & ramp-up.

What the project is looking to gain from the collaboration and what kind of artist would be suitable

For CUPIDO Consortium the opportunity to host an artistic residency represents a powerful additional research tool in the project. The main aim is to build a fruitful two-way collaboration between art and science that maximizes the benefits for both sides. CUPIDO is at the very first stages of the project, currently working to develop and fine-tune the techniques, thus providing not a ready end-product to be promoted but a fertile ground to experiment together with the artist. Such experience will enable the scientists to investigate a radically new approach to their routine technologies, gaining a fresh perspective and fostering a constructive contamination. During the hosting period, the challenges posed by the artist can stretch the scientific method, raising new technical questions and opening a vast array of applications. This is extremely useful for CUPIDO, which instead focuses on a well-defined application (cardiovascular diseases). The inclusion of an artist might result in new applications of the developed material and products, preparing the way for the technological transfer to other fields. Moreover, the final piece of art will enhance the project ‘s visibility by building new engaging channels with the public and reaching people usually not interested in scientific topics. This will further enrich the overall project communication and dissemination and raise awareness on the potentialities of scientific research funded by EU. Artists that are familiar with nanotechnologies or some of the techniques are preferred to speed the acquisition process of the peculiar features within CUPIDO’s framework.

Resources available to the artist

All the participating partners (CNR-IRGB, PlumeStars, and Nemera) offer a desk and access to the internet, as well as full access to the hosting laboratories. CNR-IRGB Full access to internal lab meetings where results from the experimental activity are presented and discussed. Full access to microscopy facilities. Under request, a short stay can be arranged at ISTEC-CNR’s facilities (Faenza, Italy) to revise the first stages of the nanoparticle preparation. NEMERA Nemera’s headquarter (La Verpilière, FRANCE): 150m² of world-class laboratory services, 11,000m² of clean rooms, Plant/Marketing/R&D teams, the possibility of collaboration with one of our creative designers. Budget max: 1500€ (Refund with a receipt of Plane tickets + Hotel room + consumables and equipment). Safety and GMP Rules have to be respected on the production site. INsrl Two dedicated people (Project Manager and Communication Manager) that can help in organizing the residency among the involved partner and give visibility to the experience.

  •   CNR-IRGB
  •   CNR-IRGB