Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Magnetic nanoparticles as potential carriers of biologically active substances

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.02.06  Engineering sciences and technologies  Chemical engineering  Biochemical engineering 

Code Science Field
T360  Technological sciences  Biochemical technology 

Code Science Field
2.04  Engineering and Technology  Chemical engineering  
magnetic nanoparticles, biologically active substances, proteins, immobilization, growth factors
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (9)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  27960  PhD Anton Crnjac  Oncology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  265 
2.  31616  PhD Maja Čolnik  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2011 - 2014  126 
3.  34051  Aljaž Hojski  Oncology  Researcher  2012 - 2014  47 
4.  25011  Marko Krainer  Chemical engineering  Technical associate  2011 - 2014 
5.  00534  PhD Maja Leitgeb  Chemical engineering  Head  2011 - 2014  825 
6.  21460  PhD Mateja Primožič  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2011 - 2014  361 
7.  33515  PhD Katja Vasić  Chemical engineering  Researcher  2012 - 2014  105 
8.  23378  Damjan Vidovič  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2011 - 2014  61 
9.  30458  PhD Matjaž Vogrin  Medical sciences  Researcher  2011  316 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0334  University Medical Centre Maribor  Maribor  5054150000  23,091 
2.  0794  University of Maribor, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering  Maribor  5089638012  13,176 
Applicability of immobilized enzymes and other biosubstances is continually growing research task of great interest due to several advantages of bound biosubstances. Different types of biosubstances support for immobilization exist. Thus, supports made of organic and inorganic matrices are gaining new perspectives thanks to their innovative properties as big specific surface area for immobilization, small size and easy fabrication. Nanoparticles of inorganic magnetic core surrounded by layers of functional coatings are potential representative of a class of these nanostroctures for biosubstance immobilization. Maghemite nanoparticles (?-Fe2O3) coated with monodispersed silica shell will be synthesized by a co-precipitation method of  ferrous (Fe2+) and ferric (Fe3+) ions in alkaline solution with intensive stirring and at high temperature. Similar, magnetite nanoparticles will be produced. Then, the particles will be further functionalized. Highly functionalized nano-sized particles will be then ready for subsequent particle surface modification. Next step in preparing fully developed magnetic nanoparticles presents activation of nanoparticles that allows the covalent linkage of biosubstance to organic surface of magnetic nanoparticle. Different components such as glutaraldehyde, chitozan, carbodiimide … shall be used for activation of magnetic particles. For the characterization of chemically modified magnetic nanoparticles several methods will be used, including analytical methods and techniques for property measurement (high-resolution scanning electronic microscopy (SEM), infrared spectroscopy technique (FT-IR), powder diffractometry (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), flame atomic absorption spectroscopy (FAAS) …). The team of the Department of Thoracic Surgery of the University Medical Centre Maribor, Slovenia, has been successfully dealing with the problem of long-standing malign pleural effusions for many years now using the technique we developed for the thoracoscopic mechanical pleurodesis. The goal of such palliative treatment is the extensive adhesion formation between the parietal and visceral pleura or obliteration of the pleural space, respectively. This method has proved to be of high efficiency. Furthermore, it was also accepted in many thoracic centres around the world and also described in various textbooks. Recently, we have continued researching the effect of the growth factors in treating various medical conditions. We presume that growth factors will likely play an important role in adhesion formation in pleural space. Moreover, magnetic nanoparticles could have a crucial role as growth factors carriers for target organs in the pleural space, which is also the ultimate goal of our further research. The goal of the present research is however to study the binding of the protein molecules of the growth factors to the magnetic nanoparticles and their ability to transfer them. The research would be carried out in the laboratories.
Significance for science
Research results, gained throughout our project, have an important impact on science development, especially on scientific fields of biocatalysis and biomedicine. Research results in the field of nanostructural materials usage for drug immobilization, have a big influence on development and improvement of nanostructural materials planning, with great importance in science. Nanostructural planning for clinical application inquiry is big, which makes the preparation of magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications as potential targeted drug delivery interesting for science development. Development and immobilization techniques introduction based on nanotechnology principals are important and present an important step ahead, conceptually as well as scientifically, which gives a new, important and more detailed insight into nanocomposite materials - mainly materials, used for stabilization and binding of drugs for biomedical applications. With project results we will contribute to solving healing problems of tissue damage in surgical practice. Since surgical operation results in tissue damage, physiological and immunological stress response is triggered. Reducing that stress response was always one of the most important guides in surgical profession. Big steps are: antisepsis, antibiotic prophylaxis, analgesic therapy optimization, more faster and precise surgery, technical improvements and less invasive approaches. Bigger surgeries can cause injury connected immunological changes, which can interfere with the anti-tumor immunity. Next step in developing new techniques is planned to encourage localized healing with growth factors concentration. In our project we have also explored secretion of growth factors in surgical process for pleurosis overgrowth, combined with local inflammation and fibrosis, which results in a scar (obliteration of pleural space). We have researched important differences in growth factors release into the pleural space, as well as in bloodstream. We have worked with oncologists, gynecologists, pulmonologists, biochemists and statistics. Our results have been presented in Journal of Radiology and Oncology. The main importance in choosing the right treatment procedures and methods is the explanation of treatment effects on tissue and body. Towards better and faster healing and towards preventing complications, we offer new parameters for pleurodesis studies. Without problems they can be recorded with laboratory animals and help decrease the number of specimens, needed to be sacrificed. New findings in researching the role of growth factors are the key to explaining differences between individual surgical methods and could considerably influence many open clinical questions. The main limiting factor to the clinical use of growth factors is their high price, however, all procedures connected to accelerated healing and fibrosis are currently linked to higher expenses. We believe further research into the clinical use of growth factors and its local secretion would be beneficial for various reasons. One of the possible applications of the research is the potential to concentrate growth factors exactly at the position where healing needs to be accelerated. Another possibility is to trigger targeted growth factors secretion in order to achieve accelerated healing. Both of these potential uses of the research findings could shorten the time of air leaks and hemorrhaging during surgical resections, thus having substantial influence on the main factors of post-surgical complications and the length of hospitalization.
Significance for the country
The development of new technological procedures for immobilization of active substances has the potential not only to promote the Republic of Slovenia in the world, but also to incorporate Slovenian firms and human resources in the world and European labor market. Our research project emphasizes mainly the preparation of magnetic nanoparticles with improved and intelligent properties for biomedical applications and follows the European research guidelines. Introducing nanotechnologies onto the Slovenian market is oriented towards building new and capable human resources in searching new and improved materials, which are comparable to European quality. Interdisciplinarity of nanotechnologies (FKKT UM and UKC MB), which encourages interactive co-operation of Slovenian research and educational institutions, with a common goal to improve nanotechnology research in Slovenia, is well represented in this project. With current studies on growth factors and nanotechnology, also researchers in Maribor are involved in modern world scientific processes. Our work is a product of our own ideas and is based on our own research publications in recognized SCI Journals, which are also often cited. Learning about malignant diseases and recognizing our treatment effect is a field, which is still unexplored and open. From clinical view, our results suggest an easier and more precise planning of surgery and a precise observation of patients after treatment, also ensuring less complication after surgery. In thoracic surgery, less invasive surgery is a progress and also very current topic in public informing. These types of surgery are also performed at UKC MB. Our research provides a great progress for these kinds of techniques, which enables us to cooperate in revolutionary changes, including medical-surgical material functions. With developing new techniques, we are connected with Johnson&Johnson – Eticon and are planning to connect also with Biomedica. Both companies are big multinational companies, which produce medical-surgical materials. With the cooperation with our colleagues in Graz University (Austria) we planned new ideas about clinical use of magnetic nanoparticles. Binding of magnetic nanoparticles with photofrins (brachytherapy) would reduce side effects and improve oncological efficiency. We have successfully finished toxicology testings, which we performed in cooperation with National Laboratory of Health, Environment and Food Maribor. Based on these results we planned our project by testing magnetic nanoparticles binded to biologically active substances on cell cultures. This kind of research is a novelty also at Faculty of Medicine in Maribor, which took great effort in exploring our possibilities. With our connections we proved our ability to connect different home and guest institutions, experts and centers, as well as our ability to connect to the industry. With our project we would gain investments for developing and growing local knowledge and supporting development of new work places in Maribor. For testing bioactive substances, we choose studying pulmonary fibroblast tissues, which are commercially available. Our plan is to create our own tissue banks and cell cultures, since pulmonary fibroblast tissues are suitable for introducing tissue cultures to clinical practice and are also commercially available. This kind of tissue engineering in Maribor is relatively new and in its research beginnings, which needs a proper encouragement for improving and implanting new modern clinical studies. In case of a positive project results, we would plan and continue our studies on animals. Also these kinds of laboratories are a novelty and present a future development of Faculty of Medicine, as well as the entire University of Maribor. Our work also coincides with plans and expectations of Slovenian Government to revive Maribor as the second largest scientific and developing center in our region.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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