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Magnetic Nanohybrids for Cancer Therapy

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MaNaCa (Magnetic Nanohybrids for Cancer Therapy)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2020-12-31

The MaNaCa project intends to develop the scientific and technological capacity as well as raising the research profile of the Institute for Physical Research of the National Academy of Sciences (IPR-NAS) in Armenia. From a scientific standpoint, MaNaCa will focus on the structural and magnetic characterization of magnetic nanohybrids and their application for cancer therapy. The project's aim will be accomplished by networking IPR-NAS with two internationally-leading research organisations: the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) in Greece and the University of Duisburg – Essen (UDE) in Germany. Throughout the project, the research partners will be supported for management and dissemination by Intelligentsia Consultants Sàrl (INT). During the three-year project, the partners are carrying out a research and innovation strategy with these objectives:

1. Stimulating scientific excellence and innovation capacity of IPR-NAS with regard to magnetic nanohybrids for cancer therapy.
2. Improving the career prospects of early-stage researchers of IPR-NAS and the Twinning partners.
3. Raising the research profile of IPR-NAS and the Twinning Partners.

Effective cancer therapy is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Advances in improving the efficacy and reliability of the present-day cancer therapies will not only translate into a broad scale sociological impact, but
also generate vast economic benefits. Besides the most familiar present-day cancer therapies, i.e. radiotherapy and chemotherapy, magnetically stimulated therapy like hyperthermia and magneto-mechanical induced cell death of
tumour tissue has evolved into an approved therapy for cancer competing with chemotoxic and radiological approaches.
The main work performed and results achieved during Period 1 are the following:

WP1 Exchange of senior researchers
• 0.75 person-months of senior researcher visits from IPR-NAS to UDE.
• Dr. Aram Manukyan’s first visit to UDE coincided with their International Workshop SpinS (organised by Prof. Michael Farle, UDE) held during 2-4 October 2019.
• Dr. Aram Manukyan’s second visit to UDE provided an opportunity to receive training and to become familiar with their laboratory equipment and scientific facilities.
• Regular online training (scientific and technical) involving IPR-NAS, UDE and AUTH provided during June - November 2020.
• 1st Training Workshop held during 27-28 July 2020 (Zoom). 38 people (33 x early-stage researchers, 5 x senior researchers, 58% female) participated in the workshop.
• 2nd Training Workshop held during 25-28 August 2020 (Hybrid: Zoom/Thessaloniki). The workshop/summer school - with 78 participants from 11 countries - was held in English and addressed towards Greek and foreign graduates and PhD students, as well as to post-doc and young researchers (61 in total) working in the field of magnetic nanomaterials focusing on their biomedical applicability.

WP2 Exchange of early-stage researchers
• IPR-NAS’ and UDE’s early-stage researchers received online education and training in the form of weekly seminars. The seminars focused on:

o Fabrication of Fe/Fe3C carbon coated nanoparticles by solid state pyrolysis;
o Structural characterization of nano-powder by XRD;
o Magnetic characterization using of SQUID and VS magnetometry;
o Ferromagnetic resonance (FMR) for nanoparticles investigation.

• UDE investigated nine samples of Fe/Fe3C carbon coated nanoparticles fabricated with different parameters of pyrolysis by IPR-NAS.
• IPR-NAS’ and AUTH’s early-stage researchers received online education and training in the form of a video Lab Course. Two training sessions (27 and 28 August 2020) were given by AUTH’s researchers focused on magnetic nanoparticles sample preparation for bio-application; operation of a magnetic particle hypothermia apparatus, demonstration of experiments in different samples under various condition.
• The 1st Summer School was held during 25-28 August 2020 with a hybrid format: local young Greek researchers and professors participated in person at AUTH in Thessaloniki while the other participants followed remotely via Zoom.
• The partners have agreed the preliminary structure for a joint PhD programme, which will allow the admitted PhD students to benefit from the cultural and educational experiences from spending time in Germany, Greece and Armenia.

WP3 Dissemination and outreach
• The MaNaCa Data Management Plan has been prepared.
• The project website ( has been available since early February 2020.
• 115+ leaflets downloaded from project website, 30+ posters downloaded from project website.
• The MaNaCa consortium has participated in a range of outreach and communication activities targeting different audiences such as the general public, scientists, students and young researchers.
• 5 joint research papers presented at international conferences.

WP4 Project management
• The project kick-off meeting was held during 4 October 2019 and hosted by UDE in Duisburg.
• The second, third and fourth consortium meetings have been held online.
The project’s main achievements so far are:
1. The consortium partners’ early-stage researchers have been trained in magnetic nanomaterial synthesis, structural, magnetic and magnetic heating characterization methods via a combination of online seminars, workshops and lectures.
2. The consortium partners have synthesised a number of samples (Fe-Fe3C)/C by solid-phase pyrolysis of iron phthalocyanine and comprehensive structural and magnetic studies have been performed on them.
3. Thanks to the efforts of the consortium partners’ early-stage researchers, interesting experimental results were obtained, which are being processed for a journal publication.

The project's progress towards its expected impacts are:
Impact 1: Increased research excellence of IPR-NAS in magnetic nanohybrids for cancer therapy
Based on the obtained experimental results, a research paper is being prepared for publication in a high impact journal that will increase the research excellence of IPR-NAS.

Impact 2: Enhancement of reputation, attractiveness and networking channels of IPR-NAS
The conducted workshops, summer school and weekly seminars have helped to improve the research and technical competence of IPR-NAS’ researchers so that they can effectively assess experimental results and make good scientific presentations.

Impact 3: Improved capability of IPR-NAS to compete successfully for national, EU and internationally competitive research funding
IPR-NAS has managed to win the following three research projects during Period 1:

Impact 4: Contribution to the research and innovation priorities of Armenia
The Armenian government supports the synthesis and study of ferromagnetic nanocomposite materials for biomedical applications and has helped IPR-NAS to purchase a Vibrating Sample Magnetometer for magnetic investigations.

Impact 5: Support research and innovation on a European level
IPR-NAS and UDE are preparing an Armenian-German bilateral project proposal for submission to the German Research Foundation’s (DFG) "Cooperation with Developing Countries" programme.
MaNaCa Logo
Training Workshop and Summer School - August 2020