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Project Name
TAMs - Targeted and externally controlled nanotheranostics of triple-negative-breast-cancer




Manuel Bañobre
Principal Investigator
in Portugal



Zhengrong Cui
Principal Investigator
in Austin


Triple-negative-breast cancer
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Hyperthermia-induced drug delivery



Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents 20% of the 3 million breast cancers diagnosed in women worldwide every year. In Portugal, the incidence of breast cancer is of 118.5 women per 100000 population, which represents 30% of the newly diagnosed cancer cases in women every year and continues to show a high mortality rate. The only systemic therapy currently available for patients with TNBC is (neo)adjuvant therapy with various cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents. However, the lack of targeted therapeutic options, together with the limited efficacy of current treatments as well as the adverse effects associated with them, demands an urgent effort to develop novel targeted therapies and early diagnostic methods. The main objective of this project is to ameliorate the prognosis of TNBC through the preparation and preclinical validation (in vitro plus in vivo) of a targeted theranostic probe able to offer a non-invasive imaging capability together with a combined hyperthermia and chemotherapy treatment against TNBC. To achieve this goal, an imaging reporting moiety in addition to a chemotherapeutic drug (doxorubicin) will be encapsulated to specifically recognize and accumulate in tumor associated macrophages (TAMs). At the end of the project an in vitro and in vivo preclinical validated theranostic probe showing i) enhanced synergistic magnetic hyperthermia-chemotherapy and ii) T2w-MR imaging will be delivered.
These expected results will enable translational research and will be the key in the advance towards an adequate and timely therapeutic intervention in patients with TNBC, being also a step forward on the way to targeted image-guided therapies of cancer. In order to accomplish these goals, this exploratory project is conceived as a collaborative cross-disciplinary effort between the INL (Dr. Bañobre), UT Austin (Prof. Cui), and the UMinho (Prof. Baltazar), with expertise in the preparation of the raw materials (UT Austin, INL), their assembly to prepare the targeted SLNs with theranostic functionality (INL) and the in vitro (UMinho) and in vivo (INL, UT Austin) validation.

Leading Institution
Laboratório Ibérico Internacional de Nanotecnologias (INL)

Participating Institutions
Universidade do Minho (UM)

12 months