It looks far, almost impossible to reach, but the bridge made by each of us is more robust that it seems, and finnally we can embark on the ship.
The major challenge in neuro-oncology is to find a more efficient therapy to fight against cancer, particularly Glioblastoma (GBM), which is the most aggressive form of brain cancer, with very poor prognosis and low survival rate. Men are more likely to develop GBM than women. Due to the high complexity at cellular and molecular level of GBM, the treatment is very challenging, which explains the failure of all therapies used so far. To address this issue, the exploitation of nanotechnology to improve the therapeutic efficiency of the currently available drugs by combining them with a nanoscale delivery carrier is highly encouraged due to the great promise. Nanomedicine exploits both physico-chemical properties of the material at the nanoscale (particularly, size, shape and surface charge) and its behavior in the biological media (biodistribution, intracellular fate and mechanisms of biodegradation).
Prognosis and survival rate
Median survival is ~ 15 months, the disease is personalized to each patient and thus, evolution and survival rate are different from a patient to another. Although rare, a few patients can survive up to 5 years, other less than 15 months.
Improvements are obtained as the therapeutic strategies are continuously upgrading. For instance, a study made in Sweden between 1995 and 2015 for 571 patients showed a survival rate of 6.9 months for 1995-1996, which increased to 10.3 months for the patients treated between 2010 – 2015. The 2-year survival for the same periods improved from 7 to 18% (M. Eriksson et al., Acta Oncologica, 58 (2019) 334-341).
Therefore, the research in developing innovative and efficient therapies, particularly based on nanotechnology, is promising. Although still at the beginning of its development, the first product of nanotechnology used for GBM is already approved in Europe (2010). NanoTherm, made of iron oxide nanoparticles, is produced by MagForce AG Company and designed for local treatment. One of the patients treated with NanoTherm is still alive after 7 years since the tumor was discovered, which is amazing and maybe even unique so far.
However, such an improvement is possible only with an appropriate funding while getting it from public sources is challenging and time-consuming. Moreover, bureaucracy makes the process slower. This is why a proper understanding of the role played by science in our lives could help us to move forward in our research and thus, in improving the quality of our life. Therefore, your support will certainly contribute to both strengthening the alternative to fund science from private sources and adding value to our project.
GlioNanoMed (Glioblastoma targeted with NanoMedicine) is an inter- and multidisciplinary whose main goal is to provide essential knowledge on the preparation of a nanomedicine, made of an anticancer drug and an inorganic nanocarrier, which is thought to improve the therapeutic efficiency in this deadly illness.
This is a challenging project divided into several goals. The first goal is to prepare a nanoparticle containing the MRI contrast agent, which should improve the MRI sensitivity as compared with currently existing contrast agents. In addition, it should be less toxic than the contrast agents available on the market at the moment. For this step, reagents, solvents, and other materials required by a well-controlled synthesis have to be acquired. The preparation of such a material supposes optimization, which is time- and resources-consuming, since each theoretical idea should be verified experimentally. Moreover, the material obtained after an experiment should be characterized by various techniques to observe their physico-chemical properties. This step is critical because it helps to see what we actually obtained in relation to the designed material and what we need to change in the next experiment so that to improve the material and to bring it closer to the projected one. The solvents, gases and other consumables, as well as maintenance of the apparatuses, are expensive. In addition, the access to the equipment available by collaborations in other research institutions is normally paid.
Why is this project Important?
Despite all efforts made so far, the treatment of GBM still remains a huge challenge due to the complexity of this disease. Hence, the development of innovative therapeutic strategies is constantly stimulated.
The steps made in the last decades in GBM treatment are small but they give hope since each outcome is a fitting piece in a slowly growing puzzle. Compared with other types of cancer, GBM is located in the brain, which is strictly protected by a barrier (blood-brain barrier). This BBB controls the traffic of all molecules coming from the blood to the brain, including drugs. This obstacle renders even difficult the brain cancer treatment.
The good news is that the blood vessels encountering the tumor express some receptors in a much higher amount in comparison with the normal ones. This is a huge advantage for the development of nanomedicines that can be rationally designed so that to selectively reach the illness cells rather than the normal ones. This means higher efficiency towards killing tumors cells with less damage to the normal tissues around it.
In our approach, we will take advantage of this positive part, and we will attempt to develop a so-called “nanotheranostic” made of a carrier containing a biocompatible contrast agent for MRI, a therapeutic agent and a targeting molecule to properly recognize the suffering cells, as schematized in the picture below.
If successful, GlioNanoMed project will first enhance the knowledge on the behavior of the developed nanomedicines in simulated physiological conditions, since understanding the nanomedicine behavior at this laboratory step is crucial for making better drugs that can be administrated intravenously.
Because the nanomedicine is designed to incorporate a contrast agent, it will have a diagnostic value too. Hence, we hope to offer useful understanding on the ability of the developed nanomedicine as contrast agent for MRI, as well.
As discussed above, GlioNanoMed project is complex and it will be performed in several steps, which implies a gradual increase in complexity. However, the initial cost required by the optimization of the preparation conditions of the proposed nanoparticles carrying the contrast agent and their physico-chemical characterization is around £5000. This will mainly include the cost of reagents and other consumables and the access to the specific characterization techniques.
I am biochemist with PhD in Chemistry received from the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 in 2007. My doctoral thesis was focused on nanomaterials for air and water depollution. Afterwards, my research was mainly directed towards the design and development of nanomaterials for applications in fine chemistry and environmental protection. The main outputs of my research were published in journals belonging to prestigious publishers, such as American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Elsevier.
In February 2018, I decided to transfer my knowledge in design and development of nanomaterials to the medical field, with emphasis on the theranostic nanomaterials for targeted cancer therapy. As a result, I joined the TRANSCEND (Fundamental Research and Experimental Development in Translational Medicine), a recently opened research center at the Regional Institute of Oncology (IRO), Iasi, Romania.
The team will be enlarged in line with the scientific achievements and needs associated to the next levels of the project, which certainly will be more complex and will require a competent advice from specialists in other domains.
To thank you for your support
We would like to thank all supporters that will make this stimulating project happen, especially since this will allow us to make a small step forward in our research. More than this, your donation is the first brick in this ambitious bridging construction. So, think at the entire picture. Your contribution is in this “building”. You did something special and different by showing that you care about the people in pain and waiting for help.
We also thank you for the opening up to understand the role played by scientific knowledge in our daily life particularly, in improving the quality of life of each of us.
In line with your helpful donation, a number of recognition ways are envisaged to say Thank you for your kindness and care!
Thank you for your kindness and care! Since honest and direct communication can make the things happen, I will personally send you a personalized e-mail to express my appreciation for your donation, for having faith in this project and credit you gave us.
Thank you for your kindness and care! The above + a copy of the final report when the project will be accomplished to see what you help us to do.
Thank you for your kindness and care! All of the above + a PDF of any submitted manuscript!
Thank you for your kindness and care! All of the above + a personalized copy of any manuscript that arises from this project signed by the main author(s) of the paper!
Thank you for your kindness and care! All of the above + a personalized GlioNanoMed A3 poster gathering the most wonderful and representative pictures of the obtained nanomaterials; the poster will be signed by me and a distinguished Professor of Immunology and Oncology, the founder of the research center.
Thank you for your kindness and care! All of the above + mentioning your name in the Acknowledgement of at least one paper to make sure that the scientific community will find out your name and what you have done to support the work of one member of this community. It will be valued more than you think.
Thank you for your kindness and care! All of the above + a tour of the research laboratories to see where all the work you supported was done and by who. This tour includes 1-nigth hotel stay (travel not included).
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