Design of high-performance magnetic nanovectors for combined diagnostics and therapy
A promising approach for the development of cancer theranostics emerging from nanotechnology is to use magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs), which can act as molecular-sized probes that identify tumour cells by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and destroy tumour tissue by heat with mild radiowave irradiation applied from outside the body (hyperthermia). However, in spite of considerable research efforts, current MNP systems are neither sensitive enough to detect tumours in the important early-stages nor are they effective enough to produce sufficient heat to eradicate tumours using safe levels of microwave activation. A new method of MNP preparation has been pioneered at Leicester that can produce composite nanoparticles composed of highly magnetic FeCo core and non-toxic Au shell. We have also demonstrated the functionalisation of these MNPs and can produce stable suspensions ready for the attachment of targeting molecules specific to prostate cancer.
The objective of this proposal is to develop MNP theranostic system for prostate cancer, which will combine ultra-sensitive MR imaging with efficient and selective hyperthermia treatment. To achieve this, we will prepare the FeCo.Au core shell nanoparticles with controllable size and optimise the magnetic properties. We will then link these MNPs with molecules that will target specific proteins displayed on the surface of prostate cancer cells and subsequently evaluate their MRI and hyperthermia performance. Successful implementation of this technology would provide attendant welfare benefits for patients.
Techniques and expertise:
- Solid phase synthesis
- Nanoparticle, synthesis, purification and characterization
- HPLC analysis and purification.