Cancer affects millions of people every year. Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer in females worldwide. It accounts for 16% of all female cancers and 22.9% of invasive cancers in women. Breast cancer rates are much higher in developed nations compared to developing ones.
Conventional approaches to cancer therapy, although they are effective at killing cancer cells, may still fail due to inadequate biodistribution and unwanted side effects.
Nanotechnology-based approaches provide a promising alternative, with the possibility of targeting cells at an early stage, during their transformation into cancer cells.
The researches perfomed in my laboratory are focused in the development of nanosystems, their characterization and effectivenss in biological systems, as documented by our scientific publications. In particular, our group is also performing an in vitro experimental research (NATO project) that is going to the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday April 13th, 2015 with SpaceX CRS-6 and will be carried out by Samantha Cristoforetti – Italian Air Force captain and member of ESA‘s Astronaut Corps – onboard the ISS for the Futura Mission. (http://nanospace.unipv.it and https://www.facebook.com/pages/NATO-Project/1824935091065272).
With the nanospheres‘project, we aim to use a nanotechnology-based approach to develop a new biocompatible drug-loaded nanocarrier in order to improve the effectiveness of the chemotherapy treatment, reducing the side effects.
Nanotechnology approach has the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and therapy of tumors. Preliminary studies performed in our laboratories and in cooperation with Brighton laboratories (UK) allowed us to develop an efficient method for the functionalization of gold nanoparticles with a biopolymer followed by multiple drug-loading. Finally, we performed the toxicity evaluation of the empty and drug-loaded nanocarrier on healthy cells and tumor cell lines.
To this end, we would like to point out that the funds raised through this campaign will be used to:
- investigate deeply the chemical and physical characterization of the nanosystem, consisting of gold nanoparticles functionalized with biopolymer and loaded with a chemotherapeutic agent;
- improve the selectivity of the nanocarrier, whose effectiveness against tumor cells was proven by our previous studies, by optimizing the amount of drug lodaded on the nanocarrier;
- validate in vitro the developed nanosystem by testing with tumoral and non tumoral cells.
Annually in Italy are diagnosed 48,000 new cases of breast cancer. The increased incidence of breast cancer showed an increment among young women, aged between 25 and 44 years.
The side effects of chemotherapy are often the main cause of concern for those who get cancer. The main objective of this project is to improve the chemotherapy treatment of breast cancer and reduce the time of rehabilitation, improving the quality of life of the patient. In fact, the development of drug-loaded gold nanoparticles will allow us to:
- strike selectively the cancer cells;
- decrease the dose of the administered medication;
- monitor the patient during therapy.