Lately, much attention has been drawn by nanomaterials and their application to medicine, especially in fighting against cancer. It has led to the emergence of a new field – nanomedicine, which is an interdisciplinary field of research at the interface of chemistry, materials science, physics and medicine, and biology. The advantage of nanomaterials is the ability to deliver drugs to cancer cells and the possibility to use them simultaneous in imaging, e.g. using nuclear magnetic resonance (MRI). Currently, one of the needs in the field of nanomedicine is “smart” materials that allow combining several modalities against cancer in one multifunctional platform. For instance, they should be capable of to combine chemotherapy with phototherapy or gene therapy. Besides, it is desirable that the carrier still has diagnostic features allowing to use of various imaging methods. Furthermore, it has to show the active targeting of cancer cells. Both nanomaterials carrying an anticancer drug on their surface, as well as chemotherapeutics administered in standard chemotherapy show, reduced efficacy due to the occurrence of multidrug resistance (MDR). This phenomenon is defined as the acquisition by cancer cells of a simultaneous insensitivity to several groups of various therapeutic agents that develop in response to the use of a single cytostatic drug.
Therefore, the project aims to develop advanced nanomaterials that allow overcoming the effect of multidrug resistance while maintaining the positive features of nanocarriers, i.e. combining several anticancer therapies in a single material, MRI contrasting properties (or other imaging technique) and active targeting of cancer. We will carry out our research in this area in an interdisciplinary team built of biologists and physicists chemists and toxicologists using the up-to-date scientific infrastructure and animals. Our effort will be directed to apply our novel materials in the therapy of hepatocellular cancer, which is one of the most fatal and common cancer types in the world.