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Hybrid immune-eluding nanocrystals as smart and active theranostic weapons against cancer

Project description

Non-immunogenic nanoconstructs as a theranoctic tool for cancer treatment

The ERC-funded TROJANANOHORSE project aims to develop innovative multifunctional, safe non-immunogenic therapeutic and diagnostic (theranostics) nanosystems to use in cancer treatment and cell imaging. The project concept is based on a recently developed nanosystem with a therapeutically active core that was validated against leukaemia. The nanosystem relies on a non-immunogenic lipid bilayer shell derived from an autologous cancer cell membrane. The objectives of the current project include the construction of the theranostic nanosystem followed by the evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy and targeting specificity. The study will test the safety and biodegradation of the nanoconstruct and investigate the bio-imaging and diagnostic applications, creating a complete theranostic tool.


Nanomedicine tools for cancer treatment comprise many nanosized systems, so far developed with smart functions such as efficient drug delivery and cell targeting abilities. However they remain still undercharacterized in terms of immunogenicity, potential toxicity due to the materials itself or the unwanted release of drugs. To overcome these challenges this project aims to develop a new generation of multifunctional therapeutic and diagnostic (thus theranostics) nanosystems displaying non-immunogenicity, improved cancer treatment, cell imaging, and high safety for the hosting organism. The innovative concept behind this approach relies on a core-shell nanosystem with a therapeutically active core, i.e. a TrojaNanoHorse (TNH), here validated against leukaemia. The injectable TNH have a lipid bilayer shell derived from autologous cancer cell membrane, naturally non-immunogenic. The hemocompatibility, antithrombogenicity, and targeting ability with antibodies toward malignant blood cells will be proved during this project. Studies will show the zinc oxide nanocrystal core activation developing toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) for cancer killing, and its green fluorescence emission. The whole TNH would go beyond the state-of-the-art due to its nature-derived biomimetic shell, absence of drugs, its safety and biodegrading fate, and green luminescent emissions for diagnosis. This project will also develop novel set-up for non-immunogenic therapy and diagnosis, impacting on future technology, new standardized protocols for nanomaterial safety assessment, and study chemical and biological mechanism of ROS development effects on cancer cell. Achieving the ultimate goal of a multifunctional TNH will require multidisciplinary expertise in chemistry, material science, biology, medicine and engineering, opening new horizons as nanomedicine tools for efficient cancer therapy with strong scientific, technological and socio-economic benefits.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 489 219,00
Corso duca degli abruzzi 24
10129 Torino

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Nord-Ovest Piemonte Torino
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (1)