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Magneto-Plasmonic, Raman active Nanocapsules for Superior Pediatric Brain Cancer Therapy

Project description

Theranostic nanoparticles against paediatric brain cancer

Theranostics is an emerging field of medicine that allows the combination of diagnosis, treatment and therapy follow-up. A theranostic approach for cancer therapy would reduce delays in treatment and offer a more targeted and personalised strategy. Importantly, it could be directed against tumours of the central nervous system that are otherwise hard to reach by standard chemotherapies. The EU-funded SUPERBRAIN project is developing a nanocapsule that combines a tumour-targeting molecule, a chemotherapeutic agent and photothermal therapy. The nanoparticles are magnetically guided in vivo, and they can be traced using imaging technologies. Moreover, they provide the opportunity to characterise the tumour and visualise the anatomy of the brain.


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.


Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
OX1 2JD Oxford
United Kingdom

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South East (England) Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Oxfordshire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 224 933,76