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Smart nanomedicine for diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases
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Smart nanomedicine for diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases

Associate Professor Hang T. Ta, Institution: Griffith University

2019 Future Leader Fellowship

Years funded: 2020-2024


The early detection and accurate characterization of life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular diseases are critical to the design of treatment. A therapeutic approach that provides an efficient treatment with minimal side-effects is highly desired by both patients and healthcare systems. This project aims to develop smart nanomedicine with incorporated diagnostic sensor and external stimuli-responsive treatment mechanisms for cardiovascular diseases. The nanomaterials will have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based sensor mechanism that cannot only detect, but also sense and report the stage or progression of thrombosis and atherosclerosis, the leading cause of death in Australia and worldwide. MRI is a widely-available imaging system in clinical settings.

The nanomaterials will also be designed to deliver therapeutic solution specifically to the disease areas in a control manner upon being stimulated by external factor such as near-infrared laser light and ultrasound. The central aim of the project is to develop novel targeted contrast agents with improved functionality and efficacy based on well-known non- or low toxic materials and materials approved by FDA, which enables easy translation to clinical use.

In this project, I will design and synthesize different targeted nanoparticles based on metal and metal oxide such as iron oxide (well-known low toxic), gadolinium complex (Gd-DOTA, FDA approved), and gold. My materials can be tuned to provide information on the stage or progression of thrombosis and atherosclerosis, in addition to detecting the disease.

Knowing whether a thrombus in a blood vessel is acute or chronic; or whether an atherosclerotic plaque is stable or vulnerable is very important for physicians to decide a treatment protocol. On successful completion of the project, I will have demonstrated the effectiveness of my novel targeted contrast agents to identify and discriminate thrombosis and plaque, and simultaneously provide therapeutic effects.

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