The core activity of Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications is the preparation, characterization and biomedical applications of nanostructured materials, made either of inorganic components or of organic-inorganic materials in which various components, having different properties such as optical, chemical, and magnetic, stimuli responsive are properly tailored and combined into single nano-objects.
The development of these materials is rationally designed for their exploitation in clinical applications with relevance in cancer therapy replacing standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and as alternative treatments to heal tumours based on magnetic hyperthermia and photo ablation. Also, nano materials which enable combination of these therapeutic modalities are an active area of NfB group. The list of research activities under development includes:
- Synthesis of magnetic nanoparticles with advanced heat performance for magnetic hyperthermia;
- Development of assembly procedure of magnetic nanoparticles and study of their heat performance;
- Magnetic thermo-responsive polymer formulation for combining drug delivery and magnetic hyperthermia;
- Heat sensitive magnetic nanoparticles as drug carriers with external activation release mechanism;
- Magnetic pH-responsive nanogels/nanoparticles for gene/drug therapy;
- Plasmonic Inorganic nanoparticles for photo-thermal treatment;
- Inorganic nanoparticles as radioisotope carrier for radiotherapy;
- Molecular targeting of inorganic nanoparticles to ovarian cancer.
Our laboratory, based in Genoa, represents a state of the art facility, in which we perform from the synthesis of nanoparticles, to different surface modification of nanocrystals and to their physico-chemical and biologically characterization. In our lab, we can also perform in vitro test using 2D and 3D cell culture models. Since the last two years, for the best performing materials we are also carrying out in vivo tests. We also have access to a complete set of techniques for the characterization of the inorganic core, organic shell , magnetic characterization (including SQUID measurements, different hyperthermia set up, relaxation measurements).
- University of Southampton, UK (Antonios Kanaras), Synthesis of ferrite clusters;
- Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris –France (Florence Gazeau and Claire Wilhelm), Hyperthermia and magneto-phoresis behaviour of magnetic nanoparticles;
- Dompè pharma, L’Aquila (Cesta Candida and Giuseppe Nano), Functionalization of nanoparticles with AFRA antibody fragments;
- Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan (Ettore Seregni, Mariangela Figini ), Biochemical characterization of AFRA-functionalized nanostructures and radio tracing experiments;
- Helmotz center, Dresden, Germany (Stefan Holger), Experiments of radiolabelling of nanocrystals;
- IMdea, Madrid, Spain (Francisco Teran), Magnetic Characterization of nanoparticles;
- University of Marburg, Germany (Wolfgang Parak), Combining magnetic nanoparticles with LbL microcapsules.