A Novel Method for Producing Functional Nanoparticles for Medical Applications

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

An exciting aspect of Nanotechnology is its multidisciplinarity that crosses barriers between physics, chemistry and biology. Recently it has been explored for new cancer therapies, which conventionally use toxic drugs resulting in a balancing act between harming the patient and treating the cancer. A nanotechnology-based approach is to use magnetic nanoparticles less than 10 nanometres across (5,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair) attached to ‘targeting molecules’ that locate and attach only to cancer cells. Once in place an oscillating external magnetic field heats the particles and their attached cells, thereby killing them, without harming healthy tissue. This gentle treatment is the so-called ‘magic bullet’ approach and has been shown to work in principle in early clinical trials but is hindered by the available nanoparticles not producing enough heat. In a recent breakthrough at Leicester, the Condensed Matter Physics group in Physics and Astronomy developed a new method of producing suspensions of highly magnetic bio-compatible nanoparticles that will generate 5-10 times as much heat per particle as existing fluids. The grant will support a collaboration between Physics, Chemistry and the Leicester General Hospital to develop the technology, conjugate the nanoparticles with targeting molecules and test the new suspensions for their tumour-killing performance in vitro.

Technical Summary

There is an intense research effort focused on the application of nanoparticles to medical diagnosis and therapy. The applicant, who is a physicist, specialises in the production and properties of size-selected gas-phase magnetic nanoparticles with diameters in the range 1 - 10nm. Recently, with support from the EPSRC s Life Science Interface (LSI) pogramme, proof-of-principle was demonstrated in a novel method for depositing gas-phase nanoparticles into liquids. This is an important development for medical applications since physical gas-phase methods for producing nanoparticles are by far the most versatile and are able to produce mono-sized particles of virtually any material with good size control. In addition it is possible to prepare complex nanoparticles with core-shell morphologies and alloy constituents, which cannot be produced chemically, for example particles with an FeCo core coated in a Au shell. Now that the technical problem of depositing them into liquids has been solved it is possible to prepare liquid suspensions of nanoparticles with all the above properties and in an environment in which they can be functionalised by attaching biological moieties. These can be targeting molecules, such as nanobodies (targeting paratopes of monoclonal antibodies), peptides or vitamins that locate receptors specific to tumour cells. Thus the particles can be used for targeted image enhancement or targeted treatment through hyperthermia. Further development is needed to enable the source to produce nanoparticle suspensions with good size and volume fraction control. In addition it will be upgraded to be able to produce core-shell particles. By working in a collaboration with the Leicester General Hospital and the Leicester University Chemistry Department, the programme will demonstrate the performance of the functionalised nanoparticles with hyperthermia in vitro. It is envisaged that by the end of the project the source will be close to commercialisation for supply to medical research laboratories.
 
Title magnetic core-shell nanoparticles 
Description Nanoparticles with a diameter of ~ 10nm consisting of a metallic ferromagnetic Fe core and a Au shell a few atoms thick. They are expected to have a very high performance for MRI contrast enhancement and tumour hypewrthermia. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2009 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact New high-performance targeted nanovectors for MRI contrast enhancement and tumour hyperthermia have been developed. The programme did not get as far as in vitro testing but this is the subject of a new application 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 NMP programme. 
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation Charité - University of Medicine Berlin
Department Center of Biomedical Nanotechnology (CBN)
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation MagForce Nanotechnologies AG
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Country Germany 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR) Demokritos
Country Greece 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation National Research Council
Country Italy 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation Oxford Applied Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating group for the EC proposal
Collaborator Contribution The company has given us free hardware with a value ~£15,000 for the research. The company is also a partner in a new 5.3M€ proposal called "Nanotheranostics" submitted to the EC FP7 NMP programme.
Impact submission of a 5.3M€ proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2007
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation RWTH Aachen University
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation University College Dublin
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation University of Leicester
Department Department of Cancer Studies
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating group for the proposal, which is based on our novel method for synthesising hogh-performance nanoparticles for medical applications.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact submission of a 5.3M€ proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation University of Rostock
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Nanotheranostics 
Organisation Waterford Institute of Technology
Country Ireland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are the co-ordinating insitution for 'Nanotheranostics'.
Collaborator Contribution The partner had contributed to the case for a new 5.3M€ proposal entitled 'Nanotheranostics' submitted to the EC FP7 Nanoscience (NMP) programme to fund the collaboration.
Impact Submission of a 5.3M€ FP7 proposal to the EC.
Start Year 2009
 
Description School visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I presented a talk on nanotechnology applied to healthcare.

Enthusing school students for science and arousing their in applying nanotechnology to healthcare.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description School visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I presented a talk on nanotechnology applied to healthcare.

Enthusing school students for science and arousing their in applying nanotechnology to healthcare.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description School visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I presented a talk on nanotechnology applied to healthcare.

Enthusing school students for science and arousing their in applying nanotechnology to healthcare.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description public lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I presented a talk on nanotechnology applied to healthcare.

Enthusing school students for science and arousing their in applying nanotechnology to healthcare.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009