Research - Utilization of Nanomaterials in Medicine
The utilization of nanomaterials in medicine holds promising potential in emerging applications of diagnostic imaging as well as the prospect of new capabilities for delivering therapies tailored and targeted for specific diseases. However, so far relatively little is known about the interaction of nanoscale objects with living systems.
We tackle the development of new generations of nanomaterials with optimized features for targeting in in vivo systems via an integrated program of research under the umbrella of a Virtual Institute. This involves the synthesis of novel nanomaterials (primarily silicon nanoparticles and ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxides, but also quantum dots and upconverting nanophosphors), their comprehensive chemical analysis, as well as their in vitro and in vivo evaluation through the introduction of fluorescent, magnetic and radioactive labels. It should be noted that imaging using positron emission tomography with a radiolabeled tracer is the only technique that can give quantitative distribution data in vivo. Magnetic resonance imaging permits whole-body imaging of detailed internal structures while optical fluorescence imaging allows studies of in vitro processes (cellular uptake, cellular distribution of nanomaterials) in the sub-µm range.
Synthesis and characterization of highly-defined, narrow-sized ultrasmall nanomaterials such as silicon nanoparticles, ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxides, upconverting nanophosphors and quantum dots
- Design and synthesis of modular ligands that rapidly form stable complexes with radionuclides (specifically radiocopper isotopes such as 64Cu), and which may be substituted with fluorescence tags and/or efficiently linked to the nanomaterial's surfaces
Decoration of nanomaterials with specific targeting moieties that facilitate their interaction with EGFR expressing cancer cells
Investigation of nanomaterial/protein interactions, cellular uptake behavior and evaluation of nanosafety profiles
Characterization of in vivo behavior of the most promising nanomaterials primarily using small animal positron emission tomography magnetic resonance imaging and optical imaging
Expertise of NanoTracking Partners
Stephan Group - Institute of Radiopharmaceutical Cancer Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Possesses substantial know-how on radionuclide production, new radiochemical labeling methods, and bioconjugation of peptides, proteins and peptide nucleic acids as targeting vector molecules. Furthermore, the scientists contribute with their comprehensive experience and excellent instrumentation equipment for undertaking radiotracer experiments and molecular imaging studies.
Focuses on the preparation and characterization of luminescent amine- and carboxyterminated silicon nanoparticles with different sizes to be used as bio-imaging agents for cancer cells.
Design and synthesis of multifunctional ligands within the HVI NanoTracking. For the fast and stable (selective) coordination of radionucleotides (specifically 64Cu), which are modified with antibodies and nanoparticles.
Contributes its expertise in the synthesis and characterisation of macrocyclic and acyclic multidentate ligands and their metal complexes, the synthesis of photoactive transition metal complexes, the attachment of metal complexes to targeting molecules as well as the synthesis of ultrasmall iron oxide nanoparticles and upconverting nanophosphors.
The Centre for BioNano Interactions (CBNI) at the University College Dublin led by Kenneth A. Dawson is one of the world’s leading centres of knowledge for bionanointeractions applied to the fields of nanosafety, nanobiology and nanomedicine. The work to be contributed by the Dawson group focuses on assessing the interactions of nanoparticles developed by the other partners with biological systems of increasing complexity, from biofluids to cell culture models of cancer.
Contributes with its expertise in molecular and cellular radiobiology, especially in understanding the multifaceted responses of cells to nanoparticle exposition. Furthermore, their particular focus on more physiological 3D cell culture models allows a realistic assessment of nanoparticle-cell-interactions for future translation into the clinic.
The group which belongs to the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces works on a wide range of topics including continuous flow synthesis of nanoparticles, total synthesis of bioactive molecules including oligosaccharides, glycoimmunology, infectious disease biology and polymer chemistry.
The research focus of this group is on single molecule spectroscopy, with the development and application of microscopic methods, optical spectroscopy and fluorescence sensors, specifically but not exclusively for single molecule techniques of biochemical processes in living cells.
Developes new synthetic strategies to prepare multi-modal imaging agents featuring upconverting nanophosphors and near infrared quantum dots as fluorescent nanoparticle cores.