Towards the summer discovering special cones: cyclodextrins

In 2023 the “Bicyclos” project was selected for funding under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, “Staff Exchange” of the Horizon Europe Framework Programme. “Bicyclos” is a project coordinated by the Institute for Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity (Isof) of the National Research Council of Italy (Cnr). The project capitalizes on the international mobility of researchers belonging to a consortium with 9 beneficiaries and 2 associated partners from 8 different countries. Among them there are 4 private partners, small and medium enterprises, and 7 public partners, academic and research bodies. The title of the project is “Breaking down barriers to foster new Cyclodextrin-based applications for healthcare by implementing sustainable design principles”. In short, it’s all about Cyclodextrins, a fascinating class of molecules of natural origin.

To date, cyclodextrins have found applications in various sectors: pharmaceutical, food, agricultural, environmental, separation processes, etc. Their “green” preparation, i.e. the enzymatic degradation of starch, and the low cost of this process make them ideal for further fields of use. However, depending on the chosen application, cyclodextrins still present some limits and in the biomedical field it is necessary to address some problems:

– Synthetic procedures to produce new modified cyclodextrins start from natural cyclodextrins but provide mixtures of isomeric molecules and are often not sustainable on an industrial level;

– Purification of new mixtures of cyclodextrin isomers is difficult and expensive;

– We have little knowledge about the biology of cyclodextrins and their behavior in the human body;

– Cyclodextrin polymers are prepared with little control over the molecular weight of the polymer and rigorous batch-to-batch reproducibility is still missing.

The primary objective of the “Bicyclos” project is to find solutions to some of these problems in order to bring cyclodextrin-based systems closer to biomedical and clinical applications. In particular, 4 specific purposes have been identified:

1. The design of sustainable syntheses;
2. The study of new cyclodextrins as drugs, transport systems of drugs or nucleic acids, or sensors for biomolecules;
3. Generation of new knowledge on the biological processes activated by cyclodextrins;
4. The engineering of industrial production processes of new cyclodextrins compliant with GMP guidelines and regulatory requirements for drug production.


For Information:
Ilse Manet, Cnr-Isof:




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