Cancer is a European and global problem. However, existing diagnostic and treatment modalities are not completely optimal. Radiotherapy is a leading choice for cancer treatment. However, radiotherapy has a series of adverse effects. While radiation is effective in eradicating tumour cells in many cases, damage to healthy issues and incomplete tumour response or radio resistance are considered to be major obstacles to the succes of radiotherapy. Radiation has to be delivered using complex technological means to induce cell deaths electively in diseased tissues. Numerous agents have been developed to enhance radiation effects. However, they have not been successful due to undetermined efficiency improvements in a patient response to radiotherapy.
The aim of this project is to develop nanoparticle contrast agents that would increase efficiency and reduce the toxicity of radiotherapy. Nanoparticles will be engineered to enable activation of photosensitizers by x-rays. Radiotherapy and photodynamic therapy will be combined into a novel bimodal approach that will enhance local radiation effects and allow treatment of tumors using lower radiation doses than conventional radiotherapy. Nanoparticles will be designed and tested in preclinical in vitro and in vivo models.