The advancement of nanotechnology offers a new dimension to tumor-targeting strategies. Nanoparticles are gathering increasing interest for biomedical applications due to their novel properties such as high stability and biological compatibility, controllable morphology and size dispersion, chemical surface functionalization and unique optical or magnetic properties.
Our goal is to develop nanotechnologies and biomolecular engineering approaches for cancer therapeutics. The development of the methodologies involves nanodevice design and validation, synthesis of biomolecules and nanoparticles, specific tagging and targeting, cellular delivery, surface modification, as well as addressing issues such as specificity, sensitivity and spatial and temporal resolution.
Specifically, we are interested in developing smart delivery system for anticancer drugs, i.e. multifunctional nanoplatforms comprising biocompatible polymer, anticancer drug and cancer specific ligands that can efficiently resolve the in vivo stability versus intracellular drug release problem, as well as stealth versus tumor cell uptake issues. This involves, but is not limited to, fabrication of polymeric nanoparticles, effective drug encapsulation, controlled drug release, functionalization with cancer cell specific ligands for specific targeting and to achieve enhanced therapeutic efficacy of drugs without systemic toxicity.
Our team’s initiative is to develop a magnetic-based nano platform for ‘theranostic’ applications, such as contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic hyperthermia to treat solid tumours e.g. glioma. Specific tasks in this project involves the synthesis of metallic nanoparticles (iron oxide nanoparticles) and using them in particle surface functionalization to gain access to nanoparticles with improved stability in aqueous solutions, as well as to advance towards a multifunctional system: i) specific recognition of cellular targets, ii) magnetic hyperthermia (thermal) induced drug delivery and iii) MRI contrast enhancement.