Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Bio-responsive magneto-optically coupled nanomaterial-based systems for innovative skin cancer treatments

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.04.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Materials science and technology   

Code Science Field
P260  Natural sciences and mathematics  Condensed matter: electronic structure, electrical, magnetic and optical properties, supraconductors, magnetic resonance, relaxation, spectroscopy 

Code Science Field
2.10  Engineering and Technology  Nano-technology 
hybrid nanoparticles, magnetic nanoparticles, optically activ nanoparticles, površinska plazmonska resonanca, photothermal terapy, targeted drug therapy, skin cancer treatment, stimuli-responsive delivery systems
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (23)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  03937  PhD Miran Čeh  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  655 
2.  34354  PhD Urška Dragin Jerman  Oncology  Junior researcher  2014 - 2017  62 
3.  15873  PhD Mateja Erdani Kreft  Neurobiology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  416 
4.  25484  PhD Mirjam Fröhlich  Biotechnology  Researcher  2015 - 2016  55 
5.  25780  PhD Samo Hudoklin  Neurobiology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  111 
6.  38979  Tina Jarc  Neurobiology  Researcher  2016 - 2017 
7.  04355  PhD Spomenka Kobe  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  767 
8.  35589  PhD Nina Kostevšek  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  116 
9.  02053  PhD Ivan Krajnc  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2017  615 
10.  33260  PhD Tina Maver  Medical sciences  Researcher  2014 - 2017  181 
11.  30850  PhD Uroš Maver  Medical sciences  Researcher  2014 - 2017  456 
12.  33768  PhD Tamilselvan Mohan  Textile and leather  Researcher  2015 - 2017  211 
13.  32161  PhD Darja Pečko  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2014 - 2015  49 
14.  19268  PhD Zdenka Peršin Fratnik  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2015 - 2017  226 
15.  34185  PhD Tanja Pivec  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2014 - 2017  53 
16.  11654  PhD Rok Romih  Neurobiology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  250 
17.  12266  PhD Marjan Slak Rupnik  Metabolic and hormonal disorders  Researcher  2014 - 2016  350 
18.  07814  PhD Karin Stana Kleinschek  Textile and leather  Researcher  2014 - 2017  1,118 
19.  32141  PhD Janja Stergar  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2017  125 
20.  32132  PhD Andraž Stožer  Metabolic and hormonal disorders  Researcher  2014 - 2017  432 
21.  19030  PhD Sašo Šturm  Materials science and technology  Head  2014 - 2017  661 
22.  32009  PhD Tanja Višnjar  Human reproduction  Researcher  2014 - 2017  45 
23.  18824  PhD Kristina Žužek  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  365 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  91,961 
2.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  48,742 
3.  0795  University ob Maribor, Faculty of mechanical engineering  Maribor  5089638010  24,091 
4.  2334  University of Maribor, Faculty of Medicine  Maribor  5089638048  15,954 
This proposal addresses new concepts in skin cancer treatment. The proposed smart diagnostic, targeted drug delivery and stimuli-responsive release system is based on hybrid optically and magnetically active nanoparticles, which facilitate both, focused localization and extraction of hybrid nanoparticles by using an external magnetic field, and photothermally-responsive drug release and treatment. Such hybrid nanoparticles offer a great advantage over existing pure magnetic or optical nanoparticles due to their high degree of tailored optimization for diagnosis and therapeutic needs. To assure prolonged therapeutic exposure of the affected skin tissue, we intend to incorporate this nano-sized delivery system into a wound dressing material, providing effective and prolonged transdermal delivery to the targeted site. The pre-clinical proof of concept will be demonstrated by a combination of specially chosen and newly designed in vitro experiments. The project is organized sequentially towards the final goal – the development of a preclinical proof-of-concept-efficient theranostics system. The research program is divided into the following sub-sections: (a) Theoretical calculations, synthesis and material characterization, which will cover theoretical studies of hybrid nanoparticles focused on combined magnetic and optical response. Different synthesis routes will be explored for nano-shells and nanorods fabrication, based on hybrid magnetic and optically active FePt/Au or FePt/ SiO2/Au nanoparticles. (b) Bio-responsive functionalization deals with the interaction of bio-responsive functional layer on the particle surface and anticancer drug with. The possibilities of continuous therapeutic action will be explored by studying the release mechanisms of the hybrid nanoparticles from the wound dressing materials. (c) Biocompatibility studies will address the issues of the interaction of nanoparticles with normal and cancer cells, the internalization mechanism and intracellular fate of nanoparticles, which is crucial for successful targeted delivery of nanoparticles. For specific application for skin cancer treatment, nanoparticles as carries for cytotoxic drugs will be tested for their cytotoxic effect in in vitro models of normal and cancer skin cells. (d) Demonstrated delivery and treatment of cancer cells in a biomimetic skin tissue model is our final project goal based on pre-clinical tests using a specially designed biomimetic in vitro models, which mimic the targeted part of a living organism. Within this task the penetrability of particles from the wound dressing systems will be tested. The ability of magnetically stimulated transport and extraction in the biomimetic skin tissue model will be tested by applying external magnetic field. Photothermal therapy will be tested by using our experimental setup based on low-energy NIR laser. The project proposal follows specific recommendations in nanomedicine research issued by the EU (Roadmaps in nanomedicine towards 2020). The broad social benefit of the proposed project is the preservation and improvement of the quality of life that is one of key future societal challenges as recognized by the EU inside Horizon 2020 (COM/2011/0808). Our goal is to establish cutting edge technology, consequently increasing the technological innovation level of Slovenia and Europe. Addressed healthcare technologies within this project are SME (small and medium enterprises) orientated and easily scalable, which is in line with the EC published documents that encourage public-private partnerships (COM/2013/0494 Public-private partnerships in Horizon 2020). Development of a new generation of hybrid nanoparticles will bring benefits also in other areas of research, for example in diagnostics (contrast agents) and biosensing applications (lab-on-a-chip biosensors), with additional focus on safety and possible toxicity, thus contributing to nanosafety awareness.
Significance for science
The project was designed ambitiously to move the boundaries of knowledge in the field of nanomedicine and teranostics with innovative approaches in the treatment of cancer through concrete tasks, which involves the development of hybrid nanoparticles that exceed the current state-of-the-art and are suitable for multifunctional medical procedures, including photothermal therapy, magnetic separation and diagnosis by means of nuclear magnetic resonance methods (NMR). The last point (NMR diagnostic) represents the moment where the research has significantly exceeded the originally set goals in the project. The approaches that we developed within this project enabled us to launch a new research area, i.e. photo-thermal therapy as a subgroup within a wider group of targeted therapy, which is already leading to a new wave of top-level research, where we are continuing research on in-vivo systems, i.e. vertebrates. The high quality of the results obtained during the project's duration is also evidenced by the fact that we have published research results to date in several prestigious international journals with a relatively high impact factor (The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2015, IF=4.509, Chemical communications, 2016, IF=6.319, Acta biomaterialia, 2017, IF=6.319, Nanoscale, 2018, IF=7.367). Thus, the results achieved during the project have unequivocally improved the scientific excellence of all participating groups and their visibility at European and global levels.
Significance for the country
By publishing the results obtained from this project in journals with a high impact factor, the visibility of Slovenian science in the field of nanomedicine has been increased. Our expertise has been expanded between Slovenian and foreign professional public attendance at national and international conferences [1 - 12]. An innovative approach to cancer treatment and advanced diagnostics using hybrid nanoparticles has also attracted interest from many companies with whom we have already applied for joint projects or are planning new projects in the future. Cooperation between experts in the field of nanomaterials, bio-functionalization and cell research has improved the scientific excellence of all participating groups and paved the way for future successful collaborative projects. [1] ŽUŽEK ROŽMAN, Kristina, et al., Final program, European Congress on Exhibition on Advanced Materials and Processes, 17-22 September 2017, Thessaloniki, Greece. [S. l.]: FEMS = Federation of European Materials Society. 2017. [COBISS.SI-ID 30796839] [2] ŽUŽEK ROŽMAN, Kristina, et al., V: Intermag 2017, 24th - 28th April 2017, Dublin, Ireland : digest book. [S. l.: s. n.]. 2017, str. 873. [COBISS.SI-ID 30472743] [3] KOSTEVŠEK, Nina, et al., [22nd International Conference and Expo on Nanoscience and Molecular Nanotechnology, November 06-88, 2017, Frankfurt, Germany]. Journal of nanomedicine & nanotechnology, ISSN 2157-7439, 2017, vol. 8, no. 6, suppl., str. 28. [COBISS.SI-ID 30921255] [4] KOSTEVŠEK, Nina, et al., V: Book of abstracts, 13th International Conference on Nanosciences & Nanotechnologies, NN16, 5-8 July 2016, Thessaloniki, Greece. [S. l.: s. n.]. 2016, str. 242. [COBISS.SI-ID 29666599] [5] KOSTEVŠEK, Nina, et al., V: ISN2A 2016 proceedings book, 2nd International Symposium on NPs/Nanomaterials and Applications, 18th-21st January 2016, Carapica, Portugal, str. 146. [COBISS.SI-ID 29262119] [6] ŽUŽEK ROŽMAN, Kristina, et al., V: MMM Intermag 2016 joint Conference, January 11-15, 2016, San Diego, California : book of abstracts. [S. l.]: AIP = American Institute of Physics. 2016. [COBISS.SI-ID 29350183] [7] ŠTURM, Sašo, ez al., V: Nanotech Tunisia 2015 : International Nanotechnology Conference, 22-24 April 2015, Hammamet, Tunisia. [COBISS.SI-ID 28630823] [8] KOSTEVŠEK, Nina, et al., V: GODEC, Matjaž (ur.), et al. 23rd International Conference on Materials and Technology, 28-30 September 2015, Portorož, Slovenia. Ljubljana: Inštitut za kovinske materiale in tehnologije. 2015, str. 140. [COBISS.SI-ID 28919335] [9] HUDOKLIN, Samo, et al., V: The 16th European microscopy congress 2016 August 28 - September 2, 2016 in Lyon, France. [S. l.]: John Wiley & Sons. 2016 [COBISS.SI-ID 32843993] [10] KOSTEVŠEK, Nina, et al., V: LODEIRO, Carlos (ur.). Proceedings of the ISN2A, 1st International Symposium on NPs/Nanomaterialand Applications, 20th 22nd January 2014, Caparica, Portugal. [S. l.: s. n.]. 2014, str. 114. [COBISS.SI-ID 27464999] [11] ŠTURM, Sašo, et al., V: USKOKOVIĆ, Dragan (ur.), RADMILOVIĆ, Velimir (ur.). Programme and the book of abstracts, Sixteenth Annual Conference YUCOMAT 2014, Herceg Novi, Montenegro, September 1-5, 2014. Belgrade: Materials Research Society of Serbia. 2014, str. 102. [COBISS.SI-ID 28095527] [12] KOSTEVŠEK, Nina, et al., V: MIHAILOVIĆ, Dragan (ur.), et al. Book of abstracts, SLONANO 2013, 23-25 October 2013, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ljubljana: Jožef Stefan Institute. 2013, str. 71. [COBISS.SI-ID 27192103]
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
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