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Preclinical Platform for Nanoparticle-Based Theranostics in Pancreatic Cancer
Rice University

Principal Investigators: Naomi Halas, Ph.D., D.Sc., Amit Joshi, Ph.D., and Sunil Krishnan, M.D.

Project Summary

This project addresses the preclinical deployment aspects of gold nanostructures with NIR tunable Plasmon Resonance. Over the course of this five-year project, a panel of magneto-fluorescent hybrid nanoparticles in the size regimes ranging from 50 to 150 nm will be synthesized for active and passive tumor targeting. In addition to the plasmonics-based photo-thermal therapy, the research team will introduce simultaneous and dramatic enhancement of NIR fluorescence of FDA-cleared organic contrast agents within the same nanosystem, thus enabling high-throughput and whole-body, small-animal molecular theranostic studies of pancreatic cancer biomarkers with NIR optical techniques with validation by MR imaging. Complete vertical integration of all aspects of nano-medicine based cancer intervention research ranging from in vitro validation and mouse models, to image-guided therapy delivery will be achieved via the common quad mode hybrid gold-iron oxide nanostructures.

Project Goal

The overarching goal of this project is to accelerate the preclinical testing of multifunctional hybrid nanoparticles (hNPs) as multimodal molecular imaging agents and targeted therapeutic agents for the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.