(Closed) (2D-Therapy) New 2D nanomaterials for cancer phototherapy and immunotherapy

At a glance

Title New 2D nanomaterials for cancer phototherapy and immunotherapy
Reference UTAP-EXPL/NPN/0044/2021
Scientific Area Nano Materials for New Markets
Funding (PT) 50 000 EUR
Funding (US) 49 991 USD
Leading Institutions Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, University of Porto, PT

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering, UT Austin, USA

Participating Institutions Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S), PT
Duration 12 months 15 months
Start date April 1, 2022
End date March 31, 2023 June 30, 2023
Keywords Nanomaterials, 2D materials, Cancer phototherapy, Immunotherapy, Materials science

What is 2D-Therapy about?

The large surface area and radiation absorbance properties of 2D nanomaterials (2DnMat), such as graphene-based materials (GBM), transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD), and 2D carbides and nitrides (MXenes), place them as ideal platforms for the design of multifunctional nanomedicines.

However, because there is a lack of production of these materials in the form needed for biomedical therapies, the use of 2DnMat outside of GBM has been limited. Artur Pinto’s laboratory has pioneered the production of GBM to optimize their properties for biomedical applications such as phototherapy. Jean Incorvia’s team has expertise in other 2DnMat that could be tested in the proposed biomedical applications. Combining their areas of expertise, the team plans to better understand how these 2D nanomaterials act in aqueous environments and if their properties can be tuned for phototherapy uses. PI Incorvia will study and prepare the materials and then translate them to testing for therapies in PI Pinto’s lab.

The team will target phototherapy using light-emitting diodes as well as applications for treating lung cancer. The team will additionally work with biomedical researchers at the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health (i3S) that specialize in cancer treatment and immunology, to study the anti-cancer and immunological effects of 2DnMat.

What critical challenges is 2D-Therapy addressing?

The clinical translation of 2DnMat has been slowed by their limited availability and production reproducibility, due to production methods being complex and having low yield. Knowledge is also limited on how the unique properties of the different 2DnMat can best be used in biomedicine. This project will advance knowledge of 2DnMat in aqueous solutions, develop methods for optimizing their production for biomedicine, and prove out applications of these new materials in medicine.

How will 2D-Therapy optimize the production of 2D Materials for use in biomedicine?

2DnMat/drug conjugates will be characterized to evaluate their biocompatibility and potential for biological applications, and then the materials will be tested for combined drug delivery, photothermal therapy (PTT), photodynamic therapy (PDT), and immunotherapy. There are inherent risks about a) the biocompatibility and b) the solubility in water of these materials, but the PIs will leverage methods they have developed for graphene to overcome these challenges, and through this work will learn about the biocompatibility and solubility of 2D materials for biomedicine.

How is 2D-Therapy contributing to nanomaterial and cancer research?

The proposed work focuses on the discovery and development of innovative nanomaterials, with a range of unique properties suitable for diverse applications, including medical diagnostics and therapy. The team will study never-before tested nanomaterials with the potential to be used in state-of-the-art treatment methods for lung cancer. The results developed can be transposed for the treatment of other types of cancer. This disease affects the population worldwide with an incidence of 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths per year, making early detection and more selective treatment strategies paramount to fighting this disease effectively.

Key Expected Outcomes

  • At least, 2 different 2DnMat effective for photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photothermal therapy (PTT) immunostimulation;
  • 1 UT Austin Portugal Advanced Training;
  • 3 papers published in international journals;
  • 1 patent registered;
  • 6 communications in conferences (3 international and 3 national);
  • 1 MSc thesis completed.

Papers and Communications

  • Pires, L. S., Magalhães, F. D., & Pinto, A. M. (2022). New Polymeric Composites Based on Two-Dimensional Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications. In Polymers (Vol. 14, Issue 7, p. 1464). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14071464

Project Team

Artur Pinto

Principal Investigator in Portugal (LEPABE, FEUP, Universidade do Porto)

Jean Anne Incorvia

Principal Investigator at UT Austin (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cockrell School of Engineering)

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