SYNERGY. Fullerene@protein hybrids: multifunctional photo/sono sensitizers for anticancer therapy” AIRC Fellowship for Italy



Principal Investigator Dr Matteo Di Giosia


Photodynamic (PDT), Sonodynamic (SDT) and Photothermal (PTT) therapies are non-invasive treatments for different types of cancer.
Fullerenes are extremely efficient PDT, SDT and PTT sensitizers, offering many advantages over the traditional sensitizing molecules.
Despite the improvements that fullerenes display with respect to current cancer therapy and imaging techniques, they still present important restrictions in their use due to their insolubility in physiological environments, low biocompatibility, and nonspecificity of the cellular uptake.

Proteins are natural supramolecular hosts. The fullerenes will be biocompatibly dispersed by the proteins in physiological conditions, preserving the "biological identity" of the proteins (also in terms of biomolecular recognition). Dispersion with proteins will offer the chemical platform of functionalities present on the protein surface useful for surface modification of
fullerenes without affecting the peculiar properties of the pristine fullerenes. The biocompatible incorporation of fullerenes inside a protein will "hide" fullerenes from the biological environment, controlling their uptake.

A fullerene based synergistic agent for photodynamic, sonodynamic and photothermal therapy will be developed. Different strategies will be adopted in order to target selectively cancer cells. The efficiency of the SYNERGY systems will be tested in physiological environment and evaluated in cellular models.

Expected Results
SYNERGY will create an innovative multimodal imaging and multifunctional theranostic platform, based on the integration of the peculiar chemical-physics properties of fullerenes with the specific characteristics of proteins to detect, image and kill selectively cancer cells.

Impact On Cancer
SYNERGY project has a significant impact on cancer leading to the:
- development of a theranostic platform able to detect, image and selectively kill cancer cells
- specific treatment at the desired site of action, by using a highly focused irradiation source,
- use of "soft" irradiation sources as ultrasound and NIR light to activate the cancer therapy
- development of a synergistic sensitizer for PDT, SDT and PTT
- development of a cancer targeting strategy characterized by specificity and minimal toxicity

Per diagnosticare (e curare) un tumore potremmo cominciare ad “ascoltarlo”

Un gruppo di ricerca coordinato da studiosi dell’Università di Bologna ha messo a punto un sistema innovativo che, sfruttando l’effetto fotoacustico, potrebbe permettere non solo di identificare con maggiore precisione le cellule tumorali, ma anche di guidarne l’eliminazione

Comunicato stampa


Unibo Magazine