Today, there are no clinical cancer treatments based on the delivery of small chemotherapeutic molecules via nanoparticle carriers and this is mainly due to the lack of specificity of the existing nanocarriers to cancer lesions. PCInano is a EuroNanoMed II funded project with the overarching aim to develop a novel nanoparticle carrier delivery regime that specifically delivers such molecules to neoplastic lesions upon visible light irradiation.
Current cancer chemotherapy treatments offer patients limited curative benefit as a) these need to be delivered at a minimised dose to avoid noxious or fatal side effects and b) tumour cells develop over time drug resistance resulting in drugs not having any effect on the cancerous cells anymore. In order to overcome this, drugs could be encapsulated in nanocarriers transporting to and then releasing the medicine within the tumour cells.
We will implement a novel nanoparticle based, cancer-specific drug delivery system, allowing for controlled release upon light irradiation (PCInano). This will be implemented by parallel administration of the PCInano nanocarriers together with light activated agent, (photosensitiser, PS). Our nanoconstructs are expected to remain sequestered in the cell’s endocytic vescicles until irradiated. Upon light activation, the membrane-resident PS will rupture the endocytic vescicles and the nanocarriers full drug payload will be released within the target cells, free to engage vital intracellular targets.
PCInano will provide validation of the proposed technology in vitro and in vivo, primarily in difficult to cure ovarian cancer models because of the relevance to five selected drugs.
We expect the proposed technology to mature into a cost-effective and once-off cancer-specific treatment that has the potential to render the patient primary-disease free within a short time.
- ERA-NET EuroNanoMed II
"What will prevent your funding application from crash-landing and really make it fly is the right… accelopment!"
Dr Theodossis Athanassios Theodossiou