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Nano-in-micro system containing curcumin and lycopene for the treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis: from development to anti-inflammatory in vitro application

Grant number: 22/02187-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Pharmacy - Pharmaceutical Technology
Principal researcher:Marlus Chorilli
Grantee:Gabriela Corrêa Carvalho
Supervisor abroad: Helder Almeida Santos
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCFAR). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Groningen, Netherlands  
Associated to the scholarship:19/26821-7 - Evaluation of lycopene potential incorporated in mesoporous silica nanoparticles dispersed in thermo-responsive hydrogels in Vulvovaginal Candidiasis treatment, BP.DR


Vulvovaginal candidiasis currently represents a major public health challenge due to its high incidence and recurrences reports. These challenges may be due to host-related factors, such as compromised immune system, or pathogen-related factors, including resistance to antifungal agents, and making necessary to study new treatment alternatives, e.g., the use of natural origin substances such as curcumin (CUR) and lycopene (LYC). In addition to antifungal activity, both have anti-inflammatory activity, which is desirable in the context of symptomatic patients. However, those substances have problems that limit their therapeutic application, such as insolubility in aqueous solvents, which leads to low bioavailability. Nevertheless, the association of nanotechnology and drugs of plant origin proves to be a promising alternative to overcome the reported drawbacks. Therefore, the design of a technological formulation may allow an initial controlled antifungal action of CUR followed by a prolonged anti-inflammatory action of CUR and LYC. Thus, this proposal aims to associate both drugs in a nano-in-micro system formed by two different delivery systems, mesoporous silica nanoparticles in liposome structure. Both delivery systems will be chosen not only for their characteristics but also for being considered promising. Among the different routes of administration, the vaginal one can be advantageous, since the vaginal mucosa has high permeability, high blood supply and absence of first-pass metabolism, optimizing its local action. In addition, the nano-in-micro platform dispersion in thermo-responsive hydrogels would not only facilitate the formulation application in the vagina, once it is liquid at room temperature and gel at body temperature but also increases its residence time in the vaginal environment, enabling a sustained release in the specific action site. (AU)

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