blank LMU Munich TS Group, LMU

Project NanoCapture

Positions open from 2021:
- BTA (biology technician)

- cell biology postdoc, ideally with experience in cancer models

NanoCapture is a translational research project developing cytotoxic nanoparticle therapeutics, to improve the efficiency and safety margin of cancer therapy. The NanoCapture project is funded by the biennial GOBio Biotechnology award of the BMBF (German Ministry of Education and Research), after prior BMBF support through a Biotechnology Exploratory Grant in 2015 and a Feasibility Grant in 2017. The NanoCapture project translational lead is Dr. Petar Marinković and the in vivo lead is Dr. Julia Ahlfeld.

Basis of the project: "Nano-sized" diagnostic and therapeutic agents including nanoparticles, liposomes, quantum dots and virus-like particles have been intensely developed since the 1980s. These concepts are appealing for their potential to deliver high doses of cargo per particle, as well as delivering cargoes that cannot be formulated as small molecules (eg. hydrolytically unstable compounds, elements which cannot easily be included in drugs, or functions reliant on superstructure eg. quantum dots). Yet very little nano work has reached patients in the clinic. A major problem is that nanoparticles have not been sufficiently as well as selectively distributed to tumours, despite the targeting methods tested (including the 'EPR effect' or decoration with cell-surface-receptor ligands / antibodies).

We are exploring a new combination approach using traditional organic chemistry to shunt nanoparticles into tumours with faster delivery, higher dose accumulation, and higher tumour selectivity than nanoparticle-only methods. We aim to apply this to arbitrary nano-formulated cargoes (diagnostic agents for MRI, PET, or fluorescence; therapeutic agents; or theranostic particles), allowing medical applications for a range of nano-systems which have already been developed: both for early-diagnostic purposes, and for therapeutic anticancer use.

NanoCap nanoparticle-to-tumour targeting. Fluorescent nanoparticles were administered to mice with subcutaneous tumours; the NanoCap combination improves the speed and selectivity of delivery as well as the dose delivered.