Consorzio Interuniversitario di Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali (INSTM), Italy
Paolo Ferruti took his degrees at the historical College “CollegioBorromeo” of the University of Pavia, and then worked with GiulioNatta at the Polytechnic of Milan and with Melvin Calvin at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory of the University of California in Berkeley. In 1976, he became Full Professor at the University of Naples and then commuted to Bologna, Brescia and Milan. He authored more than 400 papers and patents on synthesis and applications offunctional polymers. His main scientific achievement was the discovery of polyamidoamines
Poly(amidoamine)s (PAAs) are biodegradable polymers thet can be purposely designed to exhibit minimal toxicity, display pH-dependent membrane activity and deliver genes and toxins. In addition, a guanidine-substituted PAA proved active against Herpes Simplex Viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2 and several other viruses. Structural modifications of the same polymerimparted activity also against plant viruses. Moreover, some PAAs selectively targeted plasmodium-infected red blood cells, neglecting healthy cells,and gave conjugates with classical antimalarial drugs such as chloroquine. The chloroquine conjugates exhibited a remarkably superior activity in vivocompared with the free drugs. In a 4-day suppressive test, P. yoelii-infected mice were almost freed of parasites at day 4 after intraperitoneal administration of 4 × 0.8 mg/kg doses of chloroquine conjugated to PAAs, whereas the same dose of free cloroquine only reduced parasitemia by 16%. At a higher dose(1.9 mg kg-1 day-1) parasite removal at day 4 was complete with the conjugate, but only 50% with the free drug. All conjugate treated mice survived and monitored until day 30appeared in good conditions,whereas all the free-drug-treated mice died. The above results could never have been achieved without being associatedwith high-level scientists, namely, in the presentation order, Prof. Simon Richardson (University of Greenwich), Prof. David Lembo (University of Turin) and Dr. Xavier Fernandez-Busquets (Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia).