Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Nanotheranostics based on magneto-responsive materials

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.09.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Pharmacy   

Code Science Field
B740  Biomedical sciences  Pharmacological sciences, pharmacognosy, pharmacy, toxicology 

Code Science Field
3.01  Medical and Health Sciences  Basic medicine 
Nanotheranostics, nanodelivery systems, cancer treatment, superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, anisotropic magnetic nanochains
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (20)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  36327  PhD Blaž Belec  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2017  84 
2.  38497  PhD Maja Bjelošević Žiberna  Pharmacy  Researcher  2017 - 2018  79 
3.  32694  PhD Katarina Bolko Seljak  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2018  55 
4.  15873  PhD Mateja Erdani Kreft  Neurobiology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  410 
5.  11789  PhD Mirjana Gašperlin  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2018  600 
6.  38205  Tanja Goršak  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2017 - 2018  36 
7.  29887  PhD Mirjam Gosenca Matjaž  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2018  142 
8.  18699  Mojca Keržan    Technical associate  2016 - 2018 
9.  24402  PhD Petra Kocbek  Pharmacy  Head  2016 - 2018  296 
10.  29529  PhD Slavko Kralj  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  253 
11.  09032  PhD Julijana Kristl  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2018  932 
12.  10372  PhD Darko Makovec  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  667 
13.  14935  PhD Odon Planinšek  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2018  440 
14.  35476  PhD Olivija Plohl  Textile and leather  Researcher  2016  108 
15.  37548  PhD Tanja Potrč  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2018  43 
16.  34450  PhD Klementina Pušnik Črešnar  Chemistry  Researcher  2016  60 
17.  11654  PhD Rok Romih  Neurobiology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  248 
18.  20343  PhD Daša Zupančič  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  89 
19.  36439  PhD Špela Zupančič  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2018  128 
20.  26226  PhD Alenka Zvonar Pobirk  Pharmacy  Researcher  2016 - 2018  212 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,976 
2.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  48,429 
3.  0787  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy  Ljubljana  1626973  17,246 
Various types of cancers represent a great challenge to the health care system nowadays, since 3 million people are diagnosed for cancer annually in Europe. The efficacy of available anticancer medicines and therapeutic approaches is limited and often associated with serious side effects due to unspecific drug distribution in a human body. This problem can be prevented or limited with the incorporation of drugs into advanced drug delivery systems. Besides improved disease treatment a great effort is also put in the research of new methods and techniques, which would allow early detection of disease i.e. the development of efficient diagnostics. The research in theranostics for the application in cancer treatment is very intensive in the last decade. The theranostics are composed of a diagnostic (e.g. iron oxide nanoparticles) and therapeutic component. They allow simultaneous therapy and diagnostics or monitoring of disease progress. The development of such systems usually requires the use of novel nanotechnological approaches. Many examples of theranostics based on polymer materials, as well as some examples of nanotheranostics based on inorganic materials, such as mesoporous silica, have been reported in literature. Those systems are chemically and thermally stable, biocompatible and enable controlled release of incorporated drugs. All these characteristics make them attractive for drug delivery.    Primary goal of the proposed project is development of the general platform for the preparation of advanced nanotheranostics for cancer treatment based on joint efforts from the materials science and pharmaceutical nanotechnology. The research will be based on the superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. Due to their poor magnetic responsiveness in the magnetic field gradient, superparamagnetic nanoparticles have to be assembled into superparamagnetic nanoparticle clusters (SNCs). Due to increased volume of magnetic phase the clusters become magnetically responsive and form various hierarchical nanostructures in optimal magnetic fields, having a great potential for the preparation of innovative magneto-responsive nanomaterials. Besides magnetic guidance as an important feature of SNCs, they enable also the visualisation of the drug delivery system with the magnetic resonance imaging, since the magnetic nanoparticles are good contrast agent. The SNCs will be assembled into chain-like structures in the presence of external magnetic field and fixated in the silica matrix. As a result of the assembly process the innovative multifunctional nanomaterial, i.e. magnetic nanochains (MNCs) will be developed. Furthermore, the development of a method, which would enable the formation of hollow compartments inside the MNCs suitable for further drug loading, will be a great scientific challenge. Similar methods for the preparation of hollow MNCs as potential drug delivery systems have not been introduced in the literature so far. The innovative approache in the project will also be the method for model drug loading into the hollow MNCs as well as their surface modification, aiming to achieve the controlled drug release. The development of the nanotheranostic based on the magneto-responsive nanomaterials will be divided into four work packages (WP): WP1. Development of the MNCs preparation method WP2. Preparation of the nanotheranostics based on MNCs WP3. Physicochemical and technological evaluation of the MNCs WP4. Biological evaluation of the MNCs in vitro The primary goal of the project will be new knowledge on the synthesis and characterization of novel magneto-responsive nanostructures and design of their properties for application in biomedicine. The understanding of interactions between the MNCs and cells, including the cell response to the MNCs, will be important for ensuring nanomaterials safety. We believe the presented concept will open new horizons for further development of nanotheranostics based on the MNCs, which will lead
Significance for science
Advanced nanomaterials represent a huge challenge in different scientific fields, each of them having a specific view on their characteristics and advantages. Our approach will try to link knowledge from various disciplines and direct it towards development of a platform for preparation of advanced nanotheranostics for application in cancer therapy. Even though many nanotheranostics have already been discovered, their characteristics are far from being fully explored and understood, therefore, there is still a great interest in their further research. Thus, the proposed research follows the latest knowledge and discoveries in the field of nanomaterials research, trying to implement them in the design and development of nanoteranostics with an anticancer drug. Promising nanomaterials for biomedical applications represent superparamagnetic iron oxide and silica nanoparticles, which will be used in the proposed project as source materials for preparation of innovative nanotheranostic. The research will be focused on the development of novel magneto-responsive hierarchical structures based on superparamagnetic nanoparticle clusters i.e. magnetic nanochains (MNCs). Although the preparation of the basic MNCs has already been published, we will apply an original approach for the preparation of advanced MNCs. Furthermore, our intended development for their application in biomedicine is also an innovative contribution of the proposed project. Nanotheranostic based on MNCs will represent a radical novelty in cancer treatment, enabling simultaneous diagnostics (MRI) and controlled anticancer drug delivery. Our research on magneto-responsive nanotheranostics is important for understanding of nanomaterial impact on living systems and thus on the development of nanobiomedicine on one side and nanotoxicology on the other. The project will initiate more intensive collaboration between researchers from different scientific areas such as pharmacy, materials, biology and medicine. Moreover, the interdisciplinary project team will open new research directions which may lead to new scientific breakthroughs.
Significance for the country
The pharmaceutical industry has a great socio-economic impact in every country. It produces high quality, safe and effective medicines and medicinal devices and competes with them on the domestic and the global market. Our studies are directed towards improved competitive position of the Slovenia’s economy as well. The knowledge and experiences obtained from the proposed project will be implemented in the further close cooperation with Lek Pharmaceuticals (Sandoz company). The cooperation between Lek Pharmaceuticals and Jožef Stefan Institute, Department for materials synthesis, is based on the joint development of new medicines based on magnetic nanoparticles. Although the proposed research is mainly basic and its practical application is not expected in the near future, the acquired knowledge can be of practical importance in cooperation with the Slovenian pharmaceutical companies. The new knowledge gained in the project can be implemented in the development of nanotheranostics for cancer treatment and wider, enabling faster development of modern medicines. Patent protection of generated intellectual property is expected due to the presence of many innovative project objectives. This will assure possibilities for marketing of the new knowledge and developed products to already established firms as well as establishment of new small spin-off companies. The experiences, resulting from research in the scope of the proposed project, will result in development of new products, which could also be marketed on the international market by Nanos Scientificae d.o.o. (www.nanos-sci.com),Jožef Stefan Institute spin-off company. Our project is, therefore, pursuing one of the fundamental objectives of Slovenia's development strategy that is facilitation of the direct transfer of knowledge from academia to industry. On the other hand, it is important to be aware of the demographic changes with the ageing population and increasing cancer incidence. Its therapy, therefore, requires new effective treatment approaches and innovative medicines. The targeted drug delivery and the disease progress monitoring by MRI can be achieved by application of nanotheranostics based on magnetic nanochains, resulting in more effective therapy and reduced treatment expenses. In addition, the use of the advanced nanotheranostics will also increase the compliance of the therapy and the quality of the patient's life.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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