REACT aims to dramatically impact the targeted release of diagnostic agents and drugs with nanomedicines that respond to biological cues or changing pathophysiological conditions, thus enabling ultrasensitive diagnosis and exquisite therapy selectivity. Nanomedicine research against cancer focuses on the local targeted delivery of chemotherapeutics to enhance drug efficacy and reduce side effects. Despite all the efforts in the design of chemotherapeutic agents as nanomedicines, hardly any improvement has been translated into benefits for patients’ survival. There is an urgent need for improved carrier systems able to deliver high doses of diagnostic agents and anti-cancer drugs to the tumor. Stimuli responsive carriers are promising candidates since the release of the cargo can be triggered locally in the tumor environment. Currently, there exists an unparalleled effort to identify genes, proteins and metabolites implicated in human disease and utilize systems biology and mathematical approaches in order to develop new prognostic tools for the treatment of cancer and develop more targeted therapies for patients. As an expert in drug delivery systems, the PI intends to bring all these efforts and advances into the design of stimuli responsive organic-inorganic hybrid nanoparticles that can adapt their response to the biological milieu. The novel engineered delivery systems will consist of an inorganic porous matrix surface-modified with tumor-specific molecules with the ability to sense changes in the environmental conditions and react by providing a proportional release. These nanosystems can potentially be employed for early in vitro diagnosis through effective screening of deadly tumors, such as neuroblastoma and glioblastoma. Moreover, through the sustained delivery of the nanosystems from injectable gels that can be locally implanted in patients at risk of developing a tumor, a clinically relevant tool for in vivo diagnosis and targeted therapy can be achieved.
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