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Nanoscale Engineering of Multifunctional Probes for Cancer Diagnosis and Therapeutics

Project Description

Supervised by
Professor NGUYỄN T. K. THANH, UCL, email: ; http://www.ntk-thanh.co.uk
Dr Fang Xie, ICL, e-mail: ; http://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/f.xie
The cancer survival rate decreases exponentially in late stage diagnosis. Unfortunately, early detection for cancer remains a major unmet clinical need. Imaging has become an indispensable tool in early cancer diagnosis and surgical guidance. Fluorescence-based optical imaging has the advantage of fast feedback as well as high spatial resolution, compared to tomographic imaging techniques. In this project, we aim to design and develop a novel strategy to functionalise ‘carriers’ with multiple groups in order to diagnosis cancer at early stage as well as deliver drugs to the specific cancerous sites for treatment.
Plasmonic nanostructures such as Au nanorods will be served as ‘carriers’ for cancer diagnosis and therapeutics. The nanoparticles will be functionalized with fluorescent dyes for imaging, tumour specific ligand for cancer cell targeting, and anti-cancer drug loading for therapeutics. The designed ‘carriers’ will then be tested in cell lines to conduct biocompability and toxicity studies.
The proposed research will provide a paradigm shift in cancer diagnosis and treatment, by employing the novel functionalized ‘carrier’ platform. The translational work will be further investigated in animal models and we expect it will enhance the clinical opportunity for treatment of cancer and has the potential to significantly improve survival rates, reducing mortality and morbidity and therefore resulting in improved quality of life and lower cost of care. This is an excellent example of how nanotechnology can find an application in healthcare to improve human wellbeing.
This proposal forms highly synergistic inter-disciplinary research collaboration between the Departments of Materials (ICL) and Department of Physics and Astronomy (UCL). The supervisors’ expertise is spread across fabrication and characterization of nanomaterials and healthcare technologies.
In this project, the student will 1) develop and optimise the materials system to produce high quality and optically tunable Au nanomaterials of various sizes and shapes; 2) functionalization of Au nanoparticles with fluorescent dyes, cancer specific targeting ligand and anti-cancer drugs, respectively. 3) develop and optimize the ‘carriers’ with multiple functions. 4) biocompatibility and toxicity studies in cell lines. The end point of the project will be multifunctional probes for cancer diagnosis and therapeutics. The student will be trained in a range of highly desirable skills in the area of bio-nanotechnology such as synthesis of nanomaterials, and many characterisation techniques such as TEM, cryo-TEM, DLS, XRD, Uv-Vis, TGA, FTIR, ICP-AES, confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, cellular biochemistry assays. We expect the project will have many high impact publications.
The student can have placement at National Physical Laboratory where, they can do surface characterisation of nanomaterials using XPS and DCS techniques.
1. R. M. Pallares, X. Su, S. H. Lim, N. T. K Thanh* (2016) Fine-Tuning Gold Nanorods Dimensions and Plasmonic Properties Using the Hofmeister Salt Effects. Journal of Material Chemistry C. 4: 53-61. Gold Open access.
2. A. Hervault, M. Lim, C. Boyer, A. Dunn, D. Mott, S. Maenosono and N. T. K. Thanh (2016) Doxorubicin loaded dual pH- and thermo-responsive magnetic nanocarrier for combined magnetic hyperthermia and targeted controlled drug delivery applications. Nanoscale. DOI: 10.1039/c5nr07773g. Cover Page.
3. Xie F*, Pang JS, Centeno A, Ryan MP, Riley DJ, Alford NM, 2013, Nanoscale control of Ag nanostructures for plasmonic fluorescence enhancement of near-infrared dyes, Nano Research, Vol: 6, Pages: 496-510, ISSN: 1998-0124

Funding Notes

Stipend starts at £16,180 pa

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