Advances in neurosurgery, radio-chemotherapy resulting in improved survival/cure rates for children with brain tumors. Nevertheless, after domestic accidents, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in children with the overall 5-year survival statistic of 15-35%. Central nervous system (CNS) tumors are the second most diagnosed cancer in pediatric oncology. Radio-chemotherapy protocols for CNS cancers limiting therapeutic potential due to long-term concerns of radiation exposure and late adverse effects of chemotherapy in developing children. The battle against pediatric cancer is potentially much more effectively fought if the therapy is concurrent with diagnosis and monitoring modalities. SUPERBRAIN develops a multifunctional nanocomposite termed as nanocapsule that enables a simultaneous diagnosis, therapy and treatment monitoring (theranostics). It introduces a new paradigm of theranostics combines tumor targeting biomolecule (aptamer), chemotherapeutic cargo, Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) coupled with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and photothermal therapy to combat pediatric CNS cancer. We elaborate multimodality in one nanocapsule by decorating magnetic nanoparticles with plasmonic shell functionalized with chemotherapeutic drugs and CNS cancer cell targeting aptamer and magnetically guided nanocapsules in vivo delivery. Furthermore, non-destructive SERS together with Raman microscopic techniques is introduced here for rapid identification of a cancer cells ‘molecular fingerprint’ allowing visualization of brain tumor margins. Additionally, application of MRI for visualizing 3D brain anatomy is providing opportunity of therapy monitoring. These bioengineered nanocapsules can then be stimulated by near infrared (NIR) light for minimally invasive photonic excitation (photothermal therapy). Finally, we will demonstrate >99% killing of CNS brain tumor tissues (in vitro and in vivo) with this new paradigm as a gold standard theranostics.
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