About

Theranostic is an emerging medical concept, combining imagistic diagnosis and therapy for personalized medicine. Considering the need for highly targeted therapy in cancer, the main objectives of the project are: 1) to develop new tools for one step imaging and therapy directed towards tumors (theranostic approach). Taking advantage of the huge biomedical potential and versatility of nanoparticles (NPs) and of fluorescent porphyrins as photosensitizers (PSs), we will bring improved joint power by designing, producing and characterizing porphyrin/biopolymer-coated iron oxide NPs, exhibiting superior imaging and photodynamic properties in solid tumors; 2) to test the hypothesis that inhibition of the antioxidant response of targeted tumors for developing a co-therapy can increases the efficacy of nanoPDT. Secondary objectives: 1) to build a multidisciplinary network in the field of nanotheranostics; 2) to train and sustain career development for young researchers; 3) obtain scientific and economic advantages for partner institutions, both academia and SMEs.  The project is in line with the M-era.Net topic “Tailoring of bioactive material surfaces for health applications” by developing a new/improved (nano)solution with multi-functional properties for theranostics in cancer. It will be demonstrated at preclinical level (in vitro and in animal models), addressing both therapeutic efficacy and toxicological issues. We will start the project at TLR 1 – basic principles observed, advancing through TRL 2 – technology concept formulated, and TRL 3 – experimental proof of concept, towards TRL 4 – technology validated in lab, at the end of the project.  The project is proposed by a multidisciplinary consortium composed of 3 universities, 2 research institutes and 2 SMEs from Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Romania. Partners will benefit from high level joint research and will share state-of-the-art technologies and know-how.  Activities will be organized in 8 WPs: WP1 Porphyrins, WP2 Nanoparticles and nanosystems, WP Structural characterization of nanosystems, WP4 Photochemical characterization of nanosystems, WP5 Preclinical study, WP6 Mechanistic study, WP7 Dissemination and technology transfer, WP8 Management. Main deliverables: 1) Porphyrinic compounds and biocompatible functionalized nanosystems with antitumor activity and acceptable side-effects, comprehensively characterized from the  physicochemical, photophysical and preclinical points of view; 2) therapeutic targets for improving photodynamic therapy by modulating the antioxidant response; 3) technical specifications and procedures for all the investigated compounds / nanostructures; 4) study-specific biobank, that will further allow the consortium to continue research beyond the project’s frame; 5) improved protocols for preclinical investigation of nanostructures; 6) patent request documentation; 7) documentation for pre-registering of at least 2 porphyrinic compounds at the European Chemicals Agency; 8) publications in high impact journals (at least 6) and result communication at relevant international congresses (at least 10); 9) training and exchange of young scientists in the field of nanotechnology and experimental medicine (at least 8); 10) organization of at least 2 workshops (industry showcase).  The market strategy is to patent at least 1 nanosystem and to promote the patent to the pharmaceutical/nanotechnology industries after project completion.  The new nanosystems and technologies which will be generated represent the premise for a future large scale project joining industry and academic research. Additionally, this project represents a good opportunity for young researchers to get specialized and to grow in a competitive research area. The success of the project is supported by the recognized expertise of the participating scientists, their previous fruitful cooperation and the commitment to apply material science for developing biomedical applications.

Team