The application of nanoparticles to the delivery and targeting of pharmaceutical, therapeutic and diagnostic agents for cancer therapy has received significant attention in recent years. Nanoparticles may be constructed from a wide range of materials and used to encapsulate or solubilize therapeutic agents for drug delivery or to provide unique optical, magnetic and electrical properties for imaging and therapeutic methods. Several functionalities of nanoparticles have already been demonstrated, including some clinically approved drug formulations and imaging agents. The next generation of nanoparticle-based research is directed at the consolidation of functions into strategically engineered multifunctional systems, which may ultimately facilitate the realization of individual therapy. These multiplex nanoparticles may be capable of detecting malignant cells (molecular detection), visualizing their location in the body (medical imaging), killing diseased cells with minimal side effects (selective targeting or controlled drug release), and monitoring of treatment in real-time. This talk will highlight our progress in the design of a novel, scaleable and economical method for the modular preparation of complex multiplex nanoparticles where functional properties can be precisely and simply tailored. Examples of synthesized multifunctional constructs based on gold and magnetic nanocrystals for X-ray and MRI contrast enhancement, respectively, and on up-converting phosphors for photodynamic therapy of deep tissue cancers will also be presented.
Host: Benjamin Glasser