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Nanomedicine uses devices or particles on a nanometre scale; a nanometre is one billionth of a metre. Nanoparticles are being trialled to enhance drug delivery to tumours, while at the same time reducing side effects by limiting drug exposure to normal tissues. Nanoparticles can also be used to improve imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that are used for cancer diagnosis.

Our Nanomedicine group is utilising advanced nanotechnologies in cancer medicine to improve and offer an effective theranostics (i.e.  combined therapy and diagnosis) nanoplatform for early detection, accurate characterisation and immuno-targeted radionuclide therapy of cancer metastases.

Nanomedicine uses particles on a nanometre scale – 1 billionth of a metre

It has been just over 2 decades since the first nanoparticle-based therapy was approved as a cancer treatment

Nanomedicine is used for “Theranostics” which combines therapy with diagnostics

Nanomedicine Research Group Leader: Dr Yaser Gholami

Dr Yaser Gholami is a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sydney, School of Physics. Over the past 4 years, his research has been focused on the fields of Nuclear Nanomedicine, Radionuclide therapy and imaging, radiation physics and biology, nuclear chemistry and Monte Carlo simulation. Dr Gholami has been collaborating with Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital in developing a chelate-free Nanoparticle radiolabelling technique. His work focuses on applying novel nanophysics to improve cancer therapy and diagnosis.


1. A Novel Immuno-Radio-Nanoplatform for Simultaneous PET/MRI and Targeted Radionuclide Therapy of metastatic diseases

Dr Yaser Hadi Gholami, A/Prof. Viive Howell

In collaboration with:

Sydney Investigators:

Prof Zdenka Kuncic, PhD, FAIP, University of Sydney

Prof Alexander Engel, MD, PhD, Kolling Institute of Medical Research and University of Sydney

Prof Dale Bailey, PhD, Royal North Shore Hospital and University of Sydney

Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Investigators:

Prof Georges El Fakhri, PhD, Director of Gordon Center for Medical Imaging and MGH PET Core

Prof Lee Josephson, PhD, Harvard Medical School

A/Prof Marc Normandin, PhD, Harvard Medical School

Dr Moses Wilks, PhD, Assistant in Physics, MGH

In collaboration with Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), our aim is to develop a theranostic immuno-radio-nanoplatform enabling targeted radionuclide therapy and multimodal imaging to improve early detection/diagnosis and treatment of lymphatic metastases by offering a novel and effective platform. Theranostic immuno-radio-nanoplatform is a new emerging field of nuclear-nanomedicine which utilises advance biology, physics, nuclear-chemistry, radiation biology and computational modelling for enhancing cancer therapy and diagnosis.

2. The application of nanoparticles for ovarian cancer theranostics

Dr Emily Colvin, A/Prof Viive Howell in collaboration with A/Prof Brian Hawkett (Key Centre For Polymer Colloids, Dept of Chemistry, University of Sydney) and Dr Steve Jones.

In this study we investigated the safety and biodistribution (where the treatment goes to in the body) of novel iron oxide nanoparticles in preclinical models of ovarian cancer. These nanoparticles were found to be safe, non-toxic and have an affinity for ovarian tumours and the omentum (the most common organ that ovarian cancer spreads to). Given this desirable distribution profile, we are aiming to further investigate whether these nanoparticles can be used as an imaging tool to aid in earlier diagnosis of ovarian cancer as well as a drug delivery tool to aid in targeted delivery of chemotherapy to the tumour.

3. Exploring a novel nanotechnology strategy for the neo-adjuvant treatment of colorectal cancer by photodynamic therapy and ionising radiation

Dr Wei Deng, A/Prof Viive Howell, A/Prof Ewa Goldys, Prof Alexander Engel

By combining two clinically accepts therapies, photodynamic therapy and ionising radiation we plan to develop a novel treatment strategy for colorectal cancer. This project will produce gold-labelled nanoparticles for enhance photodynamic therapy in deep tissue in a xenograft in vivo model. Once approved for human therapy this may reduce the radiation-induced mortality and/or increase treatment efficacy.

Funding: Ramsay Research and Teaching Award

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