Development of smart magnetically controlled MNPs (magnetic nanoplatforms) for osteosarcoma treatment

The candidate should have preferably a M.Sc. in Chemistry or related topics

Tumors localized in bone still remain incurable fatal diseases due to either the fast clearance or non-specific binding profile of the therapeutic agents. In addition, the solid composition, and the large surface area of bones, prevent the therapeutics to reach the desired site and represent the major drawback in the treatment of bone malignancy. Therefore, the treatment of bone tumors, such as osteosarcoma (OS) remains highly challenging, and no significant progress was achieved from any scientific areas including nanomedicine. STRIKE is an innovative MSCA doctoral training network with a long-term vision for the development of breakthrough technologies for cancer treatment: i) magnetic-responsive nano-hybrid materials for diagnosis and therapy, ii) targeted OS therapy and diagnosis iii) innovative strategy for early diagnosis with liquid biopsy.  STRIKE will take advantage of the unique properties of STRIKE nanomaterials to develop remotely triggered nanotherapeutics (NanoTher) for OS and innovative magnetic beads (MBs) for liquid biopsy applications. The interactions of nanomaterials and drugs, the cellular uptake and the permeability of nanotherapeutics across biological barriers depend on the physical/chemistry features and on the architecture of the nanomaterials and on the use and nature of external physical stimuli. The project will focus on the development of innovative magnetic nanoplatforms for drug delivery (MNPs) using three different materials endowed with tunable functionalities: i) Magnetic Units (MagU); ii) Polymers (i.e hyaluronic acid HA, polylactic acid PLA); iii) recognitions agents (aptamers for target therapy).

Project 1 will develop innovative magnetic nanomaterials for drug delivery or for biosensing. The main activity will be on the engineering of polymer backbones with macrocycles and on the assembly with MagU exploiting the valuable interdisciplinary portfolio of functionalization methods (oxidation, reduction, selective C-C bond formation, cycloadditions, nucleophilic substitutions and cyclization reactions); the inorganic protocols (metal oxides nanoparticles formation and stabilization), the surface chemistry (self-assembly and host-guest interactions).

The project will be mainly carried out at Department of Chemical, Biological, Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences of Messina University, under the supervision of Prof. Anna Piperno. The PhD degree in “Chemical Science (3 years programme)” will be awarded at University of Messina (UNIME) under the supervision of Prof Anna Piperno.

The UNIME was founded in 1548 and going on with a strong international network (Mediterranean Universities Union-Unimed; Uniadrion; Tethys Consortium; European University Association (EUA) with its 12 Departments ( Facilities, services and an ample educational offering allow students to follow paths of excellence in a context where cultural enrichment and entertainment are assured. The Department of Chemical, Biological Pharmaceutical and Environmental Sciences (ChiBioFarAm) of UNIME is a multidisciplinary Institute which promotes cutting-edge research in different fields including material chemistry, biomedicine, sensing and energy. STRIKE UNIME team collaborates with pharmaceutical industries for the fulfillment of projects in the field of the drug delivery, drug discovery and liquid biopsy.

Planned secondments:

❖ Planned secondments:STEM Innovation (Italy), 1 week:  Complementary training meeting on IPR management and soft skill.

❖ Cyclolab, (Hungary), 2 months: To gain experience in the cyclodextrin research and development.

❖ Nanotech Solutions, NTSOL (Spain), 1 month: Training on basic principles of magnetism and on the devices for remote control of MNPs

❖ Cogentech, (Italy), 1 month:  to learn about the immunocapture techniques in liquid biopsy.  

❖ Palacký University in Olomouc, (Czech Republic) 1 month: To be trained on development, synthesis and characterisation of Magnetic Units (MagU).

❖ WILEY-VCH, (Germany) 2 months: to learn on the dissemination/communication procedures in scientific publishing company.

For more information concerning the research project please contact: