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Biofunctionalized Metal and Magnetic Nanoparticles for Targeted Tumor Therapy (NANO3T)
Start date: Aug 1, 2008, End date: Jul 31, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The cause of diseases is often unknown, but their origin can frequently be found at the biomolecular and cellular level situated on nm-scale. Early diagnostics combined with early intervention on that nanoscale is one of the holy grail of modern medicine. Inorganic nanoparticles are very promising agents in that respect. One of the promising biomedical applications of these nanoparticles is their use as agents for tumor hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is a form of cancer treatment that uses an elevated temperature to kill the tumor tissue. Compared to the more conventional surgical procedures, it is hailed as a less invasive approach that could be used for small, non-defined tumors. Well-designed instrumentation in combination with engineered inorganic nanoparticles that (a) possess the desired physical properties to generate a local heat and that (b) can specifically target the tumor offer immense potentials for targeted hyperthermia therapy. The overall objective of the present multi-disciplinary project is to develop and to explore various metal/magnetic nanoparticles as agents for targeted tumor therapy. To strive for this overall objective, a successful integration and convergence of different technologies at the nanoscale is indispensable. In this project, we will focus on the synthesis routes of tailor designed biofunctionalized nanoparticles for hyperthermia. This requires a profound physical and chemical characterization of the synthesized nanostructures, but the project is certainly not limited hereto. It will also include a toxicological and biological evaluation of the different nanoparticles. Hereby a detailed exploration and characterization of the interaction mechanism of the biological entities and the nanostructures will be pursued to obtain a better understanding of the phenomena occurring at the nanoscale. In addition, this project also comprises the design of advanced instrumentation that can be used for a controlled hyperthermia treatment.
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