The aim of the MultiFun consortium is to develop and validate a novel and minimally-invasive nanotechnology system to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment. MultiFun nanotechnology is based on multifunctionalised magnetic nanoparticles to selectively target and eliminate breast and pancreatic cancer (stem) cells. The improved magnetic features of the MultiFun magnetic nanoparticles will lead to potential medical applications such as contrast agents and magnetic heating inductors. Moreover, magnetic nanoparticles can be functionalised with ligands to increase their affinity towards cancer cells in order to facilitate diagnosis of tumours by MRI. Targeting peptides and antibodies will be employed, including antibodies against cancer stem cells leading to early cancer detection by MRI means. The same nanoparticles will be used simultaneously as functional nanocarriers and heating inductors in order to provide a combined therapeutic modality. The synergistic effects of drugs, peptides, small RNAs and heat will be evaluated to determine the effectiveness of different therapeutic combinations. Interestingly, the use of ligands will favour the specific application of the therapeutic modalities to cancer (stem) cells, increasing the effectiveness and reducing side effects. Thus, MultiFun multimodal therapeutic approach is designed to efficiently remove cancer cells, including cancer stem cells, from the tumour site. The toxicity of functionalised magnetic nanoparticles will be assessed in vitro and in vivo to warrant a safe use and shed some light on the risks. The distribution and activity evaluation of functionalised nanoparticles will be performed in human breast and pancreatic cancer xenograft models. The use of novel magnetic nanoparticles for biomedical applications provides opportunities for new instrumentation: 1) detection and quantification of magnetic nanoparticles in blood, urine and tissues, and 2) magnetic heating induction for raising cell temperature.
This project is financed by EU.