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Francesca Greco

Francesca Greco Staff Profile

Pharmacy Research Division Lead


Statistics show that one in three people develops cancer and one in four dies from it. It is clear that there is an urgent need to develop new therapeutics that are able to act more selectively on tumour cells. Polymer-anticancer drug conjugates are nano-sized medicines where anticancer drugs are covalently bound to a polymeric platform. Due to the hyperpermeability of tumour vasculature, they are able to accumulate preferentially in the tumour tissue (passive targeting).

>The linker between the drug and the polymer is designed to be cleaved following endocytic uptake by tumour cells. A number of polymer drug conjugates have now entered clinical evaluation and they are showing considerable promise.

Recently we have suggested the use of a single polymeric carrier to simultaneously deliver the combination of endocrine therapy and chemotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer. This conjugate was markedly more effective than the conjugates carrying individual drugs or their mixture.

My main interest is to elucidate the exact mechanism of action of these nano-sized constructs at cellular level.

Selected publications

  1. Greco F. (2008). Synthesis of novel nanomedicines for the treatment of melanoma. Recent Appointees in Polymer Science (RAPS) annual conference. Nottingham (UK) 17th-19th September.
  2. Pasut G., Mero A., Santucci L., Fiorucci S., Greco F., Veronese F.M. (2008). Combination therapy: the case of NO-PEGylated epirubicin. 7th International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics: from Laboratory to Clinical Practice. Valencia (Spain). 26th -28th May. (pp. 19).
  3. Vicent M.J., Gee S., Jones A., Gee J., Nicholson R.I. and Duncan R. (2007). Polymer based combination therapy: designing a new treatment for breast cancer. Roche Symposium for Leading Scientists of the Next Decade, Basel, Switzerland.
  4. Duncan R., Vicent M., Greco F. and Ferguson E. (2006). Polymer anticancer conjugates and their use in combination therapy. Proceedings of 33rd International Symposium of Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials, 25.
  5. Bettio F., Canevari M., Marzano C., Bordin F., Guiotto A., Greco F., Duncan R. and Veronese F. (2006). PEG-furocoumarin conjugates for phototherapy applications. Proceedings of 33rd International Symposium of Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials, 965.
  6. Greco F., Vicent M.J., Nicholson R.I and Duncan R. (2005). Mechanism of action of a novel polymer combination therapy for breast cancer. Proceedings of 32nd International Symposium of Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials, 257.
  7. Duncan R., Vicent M.J., Greco F. and Nicholson R. (2005). Polymer therapeutics designed to treat breast and prostate cancer. Proceedings of 229th American Chemical Society National Meeting, 54.
  8. Duncan R., Vicent M.J., Greco F., Nicholson R., Wan K., Paul, A., Griffiths, P., (2004). Polymer therapeutics as novel anticancer agents: current status and future prospects. Proceedings 35th International Symposium Princess Takamatsu Cancer Research Fund, 38-39.
  9. Greco F., Vicent M.J., Barrow D., Nicholson R. and Duncan R. (2004) Evaluation of HPMA copolymer-Dox-AGM conjugates in vitro: a novel polymer combination for the treatment of breast cancer. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, S-17.
  10. Vicent M.J., Barrow D., Nicholson R. and Duncan R. (2004). In vitro evaluation of HPMA copolymer-Dox-AGM conjugates. Proceedings of 6th International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics, 77.
  11. Vicent M.J., Greco F., Barrow D., Nicholson R. and Duncan R. (2003). Using Polymer conjugates to optimise combination therapy for treatment of hormone-dependent cancer. Proceedings of 30th International Symposium of Controlled Release of Bioactive Materials, 487.