Next Article in Journal
Influenza Virus-Like Particles Presenting both Toxoplasma gondii ROP4 and ROP13 Enhance Protection against T. gondii Infection
Previous Article in Journal
Supercritical Solvent Impregnation of Different Drugs in Mesoporous Nanostructured ZnO
Previous Article in Special Issue
Polyamidoamine Nanoparticles for the Oral Administration of Antimalarial Drugs
Open AccessArticle

An ImmunoPEGliposome for Targeted Antimalarial Combination Therapy at the Nanoscale

Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal, Hospital Clínic-Universitat de Barcelona), Rosselló 149-153, ES-08036 Barcelona, Spain
Nanomalaria Group, Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Baldiri Reixac 10-12, ES-08028 Barcelona, Spain
Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Institute (IN2UB), University of Barcelona, Martí i Franquès 1, ES-08028 Barcelona, Spain
Children’s Cancer Institute, Lowy Cancer Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, PO Box 81, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia
School of Women’s and Children’s Health, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biomedicine, University of Barcelona, Avda. Diagonal 643, ES-08028 Barcelona, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(7), 341;
Received: 3 June 2019 / Revised: 27 June 2019 / Accepted: 11 July 2019 / Published: 16 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From Drug Carriers to Vaccine Adjuvants in Malaria)
PDF [18581 KB, uploaded 16 July 2019]


Combination therapies, where two drugs acting through different mechanisms are administered simultaneously, are one of the most efficient approaches currently used to treat malaria infections. However, the different pharmacokinetic profiles often exhibited by the combined drugs tend to decrease treatment efficacy as the compounds are usually eliminated from the circulation at different rates. To circumvent this obstacle, we have engineered an immunoliposomal nanovector encapsulating hydrophilic and lipophilic compounds in its lumen and lipid bilayer, respectively. The antimalarial domiphen bromide has been encapsulated in the liposome membrane with good efficiency, although its high IC50 of ca. 1 µM for living parasites complicates its use as immunoliposomal therapy due to erythrocyte agglutination. The conjugation of antibodies against glycophorin A targeted the nanocarriers to Plasmodium-infected red blood cells and to gametocytes, the sole malaria parasite stage responsible for the transmission from the human to the mosquito vector. The antimalarials pyronaridine and atovaquone, which block the development of gametocytes, have been co-encapsulated in glycophorin A-targeted immunoliposomes. The co-immunoliposomized drugs have activities significantly higher than their free forms when tested in in vitro Plasmodium falciparum cultures: Pyronaridine and atovaquone concentrations that, when encapsulated in immunoliposomes, resulted in a 50% inhibition of parasite growth had no effect on the viability of the pathogen when used as free drugs. View Full-Text
Keywords: combination therapy; immunoliposomes; malaria; nanomedicine; nanotechnology; Plasmodium; targeted drug delivery combination therapy; immunoliposomes; malaria; nanomedicine; nanotechnology; Plasmodium; targeted drug delivery

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Supplementary material


Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Biosca, A.; Dirscherl, L.; Moles, E.; Imperial, S.; Fernàndez-Busquets, X. An ImmunoPEGliposome for Targeted Antimalarial Combination Therapy at the Nanoscale. Pharmaceutics 2019, 11, 341.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Pharmaceutics EISSN 1999-4923 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top