Research on nanoparticle radiosensitizers funded by Euronanomed II ERA-NET program
Petras Juzenas, earlier from the Department of Radiation Biology, now at the Department of Pathology, has received funding from the joint action of the Norwegian Research Council’s NANO2021 programme and EuroNanoMed II ERA-NET platform. The project receives 1 million euros together with two collaborating academic partners from Belgium and France and two French commercial partners.
The project, named NanoBiT, will be coordinated by Petras Juzenas. This is the first time Norway is the coordinator of a Euronanomed (ERA-NET) project. This 3-year project starts in 2016.
Radiotherapy is a leading choice for cancer treatment. While radiation is effective in eradicating cancer cells in many cases, radiotherapy, however, has a series of adverse effects due to lack of contrast between normal and tumour tissues. Radiation has to be delivered using complex technological means to induce cell death selectively in diseased tissues. Numerous chemical radiosensitizers that make cancer cells more sensitive to radiotherapy have been developed. So far radiosenzitizers have not been successful due to undetermined efficiency in clinical trials.
The aim of this project is to study novel hybrid systems of scintillating nanoparticles (nanoscintillators) and photosensitizers enabling excitation of such nanoparticles by ionizing radiation. Upon exposure to X-rays such nanoparticle radiosenzitizers will activate tethered photosensitizers, which, in turn, will induce photodynamic responses in cancer cells. With this novel therapeutic approach limited light penetration problem can be overcome in photodynamic therapy and activation of the photosensitizer within tumours is achieved using ionizing radiation.
By these means two clinically proved modalities, radiotherapy and photodynamic therapy, will be combined into a novel bimodal approach. Such new modality will enhance local radiation effects and allow treatment of tumours using lower radiation doses than in conventional radiotherapy. Nanoparticle radiosenzitizers will be designed and tested in preclinical in vitro and in vivo models.
In addition to OUS, the partners include
- French National Centre for Scientific Research, CNRS, Nancy, France
- University of Hasselt, Hasselt, Belgium
- CyberNano, Nancy, France
- PorphyChem, Dijon, France