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Professor of MEPhI Andrey Kabashin about new methods of safe nanomedicine


Professor of MEPhI and the University of AIX-Marseille, scientific director of Institute of Engineering physics for Biomedicine Andrey Kabashin has told about innovations in the field nanotheranostics.

— Andrey Viktorovich, please, explain what the nanotheranostics is?

Nanotheranostics is the area of medicine that combines therapy and diagnostics at the nanoscale spatial scale. In this case, the disease is exposed to nanoparticles, which can perform any function at optical or other excitation. For example, these nanoparticles can locally destroy the cancer by overheating. At the same time, the particle can fluoresce under optical excitation, which gives the ability to detect it. It also can act as a carrier, for example, of the radioactive nuclide, which in turn can fulfil therapeutic and imaging function. So there is a three-level scheme of diagnosis and treatment.

— What materials are used in nanotheranostics? What properties should they have?

First of all, these materials should be non-toxic and compatible with the human body. The following required property is "invisible" to the immune system, otherwise, it will simply destroy them. Also, the nanoparticles cannot be accumulated in the body, and their surface should not be contaminated. As an example, we can specify silicon or composites with it, which we use in our research. As an example, you can specify silicon or composites with its use, which we actively use in our research.

— What is your prediction for the future of nanotheranostics? What are you tasks?

We can call our current task as “marriage of nanotheranostics and nuclear medicine”. We believe that combining the methods of nanomedicine with the use of ultrapure biodegradable (decomposing in the body) nanomaterials and unique approaches of MEPhI in radioactive nuclide synthesis we have the prospect to create breakthrough nanotheranostics technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

A unique nanotheranostics feature is the destruction of malignant tumors and their metastases by non-invasive methods with subcellular precision, determined by the size of the nanoparticles impact zone. We use ultra-clean biodegradable nanomaterials, which allow finding the tumor of even the very small size and destroying it with further full removal of nanoparticles from the body without side effects. They are removed through the kidneys, what is safer than through the liver. In terms of research, our projects have advanced a lot. However, the ultimate goal is to use our medical developments in practice. The next step is to demonstrate the vectorization (the direction in which nanoparticles are moving) of drugs in model tumors, and then to conduct clinical trials in collaboration with physicians.

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