Our research can be broadly described as chemistry of medical diagnosis. We design imaging/therapeutic probes that selectively reach the target with reduced side effects and enhanced image contrast. The emphasis lies in organic synthesis, nanotechnology, radiochemistry, and advanced NMR methodologies.
Imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), optical Imaging (OI), computed X-ray tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), and single photon emission tomography (SPECT) represent modern diagnostic tools in medicine. Each of these techniques has its own strengths and weaknesses in terms of sensitivity, resolution, penetration depth, and signal-to-noise ratio. However, so far there is no single technique that combines all the advantages, and therefore, the current research is focusing on technical integration of two or more imaging modalities with complementary features. A single multimodal agent is necessary for taking full advantage of such a hybrid scanner, while its identical pharmacological dynamics and biodistribution increase the reliability of the diagnostic outcome. Next to this multimodal imaging concept, we are working on incorporation of therapeutic components into diagnostic probes enabling combination with therapy (theranostics).
Exploitation of chemical identity of lanthanides along with their versatile physical properties is one of the strategies to create multimodal output by a single probe. At the Reactor Institute we explore the possibilities to extend existing and design new paramagnetic probes with Ln-radioisotopes to provide them with additional imaging modality and/or make them suitable for radiotherapy. Thereby, perspective of final application in the clinic is the driving force for development of facile preparation routes for any of the materials designed in our laboratory, be it a small molecule or a nanoprobe.
Specific delivery of theranostics to the site of interest is essential for improved sensitivity, treatment efficacy, and patient safety. We develop targeting vectors capable of tumour recognition and investigate the ways to optimize the surface of nanoparticles with the goal to prolong their blood circulation time and increase tumour accumulation potential.
Finally, our expertise in magnetic nanoparticles is currently being applied to the development of novel concept of open-source brachytherapy combined with hyperthermia and image-guidance.