A team of 16 European firms and institutions from Spain has initiated a multifunctional project to formulate innovative techniques for early diagnosis of cancer, to minimize the risk and to explore more customized and effective means of cancer detection with minimal side effects.
Multifunction uses nanoparticles as therapeutic agents for management and diagnosis of antitumor agents. The core will comprise iron oxide nanoparticles that feature superparamagnetic properties. A layer of polysaccharides will be deposited on the core to make the nanoparticles biologically compatible. Treatment involves subjecting the nanoparticles to heat along with attaching the cancer cells directly to anticancer bodies. The fact that cancer cells are more responsive to heat than healthy cells enables them to be removed with the application of localized heat. The heat applied to cancer cells is produced using alternating magnetic fields.
As nanoparticles can be detected using magnetic resonance imaging, they serve as contrast bodies, thus integrating a therapeutic technique with another diagnosis technique known as Teragnosis. They also explore the ways to use nanoparticles as anticancer medicines for administering locally on tumors, thus improving its therapeutic effect.
The project deals with four key areas such as the creation of iron nanoparticles, which is not poisonous and can be allowed to enter the bloodstream, the detection of certain cell markers of cancer cells to guide the chosen nanoparticles to the tumor, to alter the drugs to be applied in the tumor and to design clinical devices to improve the heat treatment process and discovery-quantification of nanoparticles in blood, tissue and urine.
Director of IMDEA Nanoscience, Rodolfo Miranda stated that the multifunction can be used in a wide range of future practical applications such as the generation of functional and biocompatible magnetic particles in the treatment and diagnosis of pancreas and breast. He added that the multifunction can be used to develop new devices for nanoparticles detection and in applications such as magnetic heating. He further explained that the key goal is to study the potential of nanoparticles to detect and remove cancer stem cells.