04.01.2019 change 04.01.2019

Wrocław/ A project concerning the use of nanomaterials in the treatment of breast cancer

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Researchers from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology with a young scientist from India are working on a unique method of treatment and diagnosis of breast cancer using nanomaterials. The method is intended to help in the treatment of drug-resistant cancers.

The project is carried out by a research team led by Dr. Joanna Bauer from the Faculty of Fundamental Problems of Technology at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology. A young scientist from India, Dr. Nanasaheb Thorat participates in the research project financed by the EU`s Horizon 2020 programme.

The goal of the NANOCARGO project is to develop an innovative method of treatment and diagnosis of breast cancer using multifunctional nanomaterials. "This method belongs to theranostics, an innovative approach combining therapeutic methods with simultaneous diagnostics" - Dr. Bauer said in an interview with PAP.

Research as part this project has been carried out at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology since October. Scientists will work in Wrocław for 18 months, and for the last six months at the veterinary clinic of the Vetsuisse Faculty Zurich Hospital at the University of Zurich. "In Zurich, we will conduct final in vivo tests to confirm the effectiveness of our method on sick dogs, because breast cancer in women is biologically closest to that cancer in dogs. We will bring finished technology to Zurich" - said Dr. Bauer.

The key element of the innovative method are multifunctional composite nanocarriers. These nanomaterials are very small elements - for example, viruses are around 100 nanometers in size. Wrocław scientists want to use even smaller molecules, which will destroy cancer cells under the influence of magnetic field and optical stimulation.

"These molecules will go directly to tumours thanks to the addition of aptamers, specialized biological detectors. With them, the nanomaterial will accurately locate cancer cells" - said Dr. Bauer. She added that the nanocarriers would also be equipped with a targeted chemotherapeutic agent. "The drug will go directly to the cancer cells" - she explained.

"We will obtain nanocarriers not only dedicated for a specific type of cancer, but also equipped with a chemotherapeutic agent and active substances that will destroy cancer cells under the influence of magnetic and optical stimulation. Thus, we can talk about a combo of three cancer treatments" - she said.

Dr Bauer added that the preliminary research conducted on colon cancer cells showed that the use of nanomaterials for the transfer of chemotherapeutics increased their effectiveness by several dozen percent.

PAP - Science in Poland, Piotr Doczekalski

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