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Drug Delivery Laboratory

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Drug Delivery Laboratory


About the DDL

The Drug Delivery Laboratory (DDL) focuses its activities on the development of polymeric based carriers for the delivery of distinct molecules (proteins, antigens, antibiotics). Drug carriers are mainly based on natural polymers abundant in the Algarve, in order to exploit and develop local resources. The activities particularly focus pulmonary delivery and include both local and systemic delivery approaches. Different technological approaches are applied to overcome biological barriers and natural mechanisms of defence to achieve targeted delivery in relevant pathophysiological environments.


Recent Publications (2012-2018)

L Braz, A Camacho, A Grenha, D Ferreira, AM Rosa da Costa, C Gamazo, B Sarmento, 2017. Chitosan/Sulfated Locust Bean Gum nanoparticles: In vitro and in vivo evaluation towards an application in oral immunization, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 96, 786-797. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.12.076.


VP Roberto, G Martins, A Pereira, S Rodrigues, A Grenha, W Pinto, ML Cancela, J Dias, PJ Gavaia, 2018. Insights from dietary supplementation with zinc and strontium on the skeleton of zebrafish, Danio rerio (Hamilton, 1822) larvae: From morphological analysis to osteogenic markers. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 1-12. DOI: 10.1111/jai.13664

L Braz, A Grenha, M Corvo, JP Lourenço, D Ferreira, B Sarmento, AM Rosa da Costa, 2018. Synthesis and characterization of Locust Bean Gum derivatives and their application in the production of nanoparticles, Carbohydrate Polymers, 181, 974-985.

L Cunha, S Rodrigues, AM Rosa da Costa, L Faleiro, F Buttini, A Grenha, 2018. Inhalable fucoidan microparticles combining two antitubercular drugs with potential application in pulmonary tuberculosis therapy. Polymers. 10, 636. DOI: 10.3390/polym10060636 (invited paper).

L Cunha, AM Rosa da Costa, JP Lourenço, F Buttini, A Grenha, 2018. Spray-dried fucoidan microparticles for pulmonary delivery of antitubercular drugs. Journal of Microencapsulation. 35(4), 392-405. doi: 10.1080/02652048.2018.1513089 (invited paper for the special issue of 21st International Symposium on Microencapsulation)

Filipa Guerreiro, Ana M Rosa da Costa, Ana Grenha, 2019. Spray-dried konjac glucomannan microparticles for an application as inhalable antitubercular drug carriers. Powder Technology. 342, 246-252.



DP Gaspar, MM Gaspar, CV Eleutério, A Grenha, M Blanco, LMD Gonçalves, P Taboada, AJ Almeida and C Remuñán-López, 2017. Microencapsulated solid lipid nanoparticles as a hybrid platform for pulmonary antibiotic delivery. Molecular Pharmaceutics, 14 (9), 2977-2990. doi: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.7b00169.

Susana Rodrigues, Ana D Alves, Joana S Cavaco, Jorge F Pontes, Filipa Guerreiro, Ana M Rosa da Costa, Francesca Buttini, Ana Grenha, 2017. Dual antibiotherapy of tuberculosis mediated by inhalable locust bean gum microparticles. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 529 (1-2), 433-441. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2017.06.088.

AD Alves, JS Cavaco, F Guerreiro, JP Lourenço, AM Rosa da Costa, A Grenha, 2016. Inhalable antitubercular therapy mediated by locust bean gum microparticles. Molecules, 21, 702: pages 1-22 (invited paper in Topical Collection “Antibiotics & Superbugs: New Strategies to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance”).

L Cunha, A Grenha, 2016. Sulphated seaweed polysaccharides as multifunctional materials in drug delivery applications. Marine Drugs, 14 (3), 42. doi:10.3390/md14030042 (invited paper)

M Dionísio, L Braz, M Corvo, JP Lourenço, AM Rosa da Costa, A Grenha, 2016. Charged pullulan derivatives for the development of nanocarriers by polyelectrolyte complexation. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules. 86: 129-138. doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2016.01.054

A Grenha, 2015. Exploring the role of polysaccharides in drug delivery. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 21 (33), 4773-4774 (Editorial)

S Rodrigues, A Grenha, 2015. Activation of macrophages: Establishing a role for polysaccharides in drug delivery strategies envisaging antibacterial therapy. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 21 (33): 4869-4887 (invited paper in the ambit of special issue “Exploring the Role of Polysaccharides in Drug Delivery”) DOI: 10.2174/1381612821666150820103910

S Rodrigues, L Cardoso, AM Rosa da Costa, A Grenha, 2015. Biocompatibility and stability of polysaccharide polyelectrolyte complexes aimed at respiratory delivery. Materials. 8 (9), 5647-5670 (invited paper in the ambit of Special Issue “Therapeutic Delivery Systems for Regenerative Nanomedicine”). DOI:10.3390/ma8095268

MA dos Santos, A Grenha, 2015. Polysaccharide nanoparticles for protein and peptide delivery: exploring less known materials. In: R Donev (Ed.) Advances in Protein Chemistry and Structural Biology. Vol. 98, Burlington: Academic Press, pp. 223-261 (invited paper). doi:10.1016/bs.apcsb.2014.11.003

S Rodrigues, C Cordeiro, B Seijo, C Remuñán López, A Grenha, 2015. Hybrid nanosystems based on natural polymers as protein carriers for respiratory delivery: Stability and toxicological evaluation. Carbohydrate Polymers. 123, 369-380. DOI:10.1016/j.carbpol.2015.01.048

AR Perestrelo, A Grenha, AM Rosa da Costa, JA Belo, 2014. Locust Bean Gum as an alternative polymeric coating for embryonic stem cell culture. Materials Science and Engineering C: Materials for Biological Applications. 40, 336-344. DOI: 10.1016/j.msec.2014.04.022

R Nunes, S Rodrigues, P Pasko, M Tyszka – Czochara, A Grenha, I Saraiva de Carvalho, 2014. Effect of Erica australis extract on Caco-2 cells, fibroblasts and selected pathogenic bacteria responsible for wound infection. Industrial Crops and Products. 52, 99-104. DOI: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2013.10.015

S Rodrigues, A Grenha, Pullulan-based nanoparticles: future therapeutic applications in transmucosal protein delivery, Therapeutic Delivery, November 2013, 04 (11), 1339-1341. doi:10.4155/tde.13.99

M Dionísio, C Cordeiro, C Remuñán López, B Seijo, AM Rosa da Costa, A Grenha, 2013. Pullulan-based nanoparticles as carriers for transmucosal protein delivery. Eur. J. Pharm. Sci. 50, 102-113. DOI:10.1016/j.ejps.2013.04.018

H Costa, A Grenha, 2013. Natural carriers for application in tuberculosis treatment. J Microencapsulation. 30 (3), 295-306. doi:10.3109/02652048.2012.726283

Al-Qadi, A Grenha, C Remuñán-López, 2012. Chitosan and its derivatives as nanocarriers for siRNA delivery. J. Drug Del. Sci. Technol. 22(1), 29-42 (invited review).

S Al-Qadi, A Grenha, D Carrión-Recio, B Seijo, C Remuñán-López, 2012. Microencapsulated chitosan nanoparticles for pulmonary protein delivery. In vivo evaluation of insulin-loaded formulations. J. Control. Release. 157, 383-390.

A Grenha, 2012. Chitosan nanoparticles: a survey of preparation methods. J. Drug Target. 20(4), 291-300.

S Rodrigues, AM Rosa da Costa, A Grenha, 2012. Chitosan/carrageenan nanoparticles: Effect of cross-linking with tripolyphosphate and charge ratios. Carbohyd. Polym. 89(1), 282-289.

S Rodrigues, M Dionísio, C Remuñán-López, A Grenha, 2012. Biocompatibility of chitosan carriers with application in drug delivery. J Funct. Biomater. 3, 615-641.


Project Grants

Zebrafeeds – Desenvolvimento de dietas de referência para a padronização da nutrição do peixe-zebra em estudos biomédicos, partnership Universidade do Algarve – SPAROS, Approved for funding by QREN I&DT Co-Promoção 2012-2014.

PTDC/DTP-FTO/0094/2012 – “Fighting TB: Desenvolvimento de sistemas microparticulados para vectorização para os macrófagos alveolares na terapêutica da tuberculose”, Principal Investigator.

PTDC/SAU-FCF/100291/2008 – “EncapsDevice: Development of polymeric nanostructures for nasal and pulmonary delivery of peptides and proteins”, Principal Investigator.

NanoPulmoGen – “Sistemas nanotransportadores microencapsulados para liberación pulmonar de material genético”, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Cármen Remuñán López (IP). Funded by Marco del Plan Nacional de I+D+I 2009 (España).

“Nanotransportadores microencapsulados para administración pulmonar de material genético”, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Cármen Remuñán López (IP). Financiado por Xunta de Galicia (España).

MICALA – “Development of a microencapsulated feed for fish larvae”, partnership Universidade do Algarve – SPAROS, Ana Grenha (PI UAlg). Approved for funding by QREN I&DT Co-Promoção 2010-2012.



AD Alves, FS Pereira, S Rodrigues, F Guerreiro, L Cunha, A Grenha, Process for producing polysaccharide microparticles for alveolar macrophages targeting, microparticles obtained therein and use thereof. PCT/IB2016/052353, WO 2016/174573.


Representative Images