NANOPARTICLE THERANOSTICS .
The development of nanomaterials as multifunctional targeted therapeutic and diagnostic (theranostic) imaging agents has become increasingly important in recent years, potentially providing powerful, sensitised means of co-localising physiological/disease status and anatomy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful non-invasive medical technique which becomes considerably more potent when contrast agents are applied. Nanoparticle design in the group is broad, spanning a range of scaffolds including inorganic (silica and iron oxide nanoparticles), inorganic-organic hybrid (polymer grafted silica nanoparticles), and purely organic (polymer micelle) imaging agents. Notably, these are capable of reporting on their local biochemical environment through a stimuli-triggered (e.g. pH) ‘on/off’ switching response, enabling potent disease-specific reporting.
The group design and fabricate a broad range of responsive inorganic, organic and hybrid paramagnetic and super paramagnetic nanoparticles that generate high and switchable image contrast.
A major focus with many of these has been both controlling water (its access and diffusion characteristics) and molecular rotational characteristics.