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News U9

News U9

Gold nanoparticles can activate drugs inside tumors

Jesus Santamaría, Scientific Director of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS has participated in a study that shows the ability of gold nanoparticles to generate in situ potent anticancer drugs from inert molecules thanks to a mechanism of elimination of terminal chemical groups that nanometric gold is able to catalyze. Gold is ideal for this catalytic role due to its high biocompatibility.

These results, published in the journal Angewandte Chemie, offer new hope in the fight against cancer and have been obtained thanks to the collaboration of scientists of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS and, Víctor Sebastián, Silvia Irusta and Jesús Santamaría, with researchers from the Center for Cancer Research at the University of Edinburgh, led by Dr. Unciti-Broceta.

The work reveals the possibility of carrying out catalysis in biological means using tiny particles of gold. These gold nanoparticles, camouflaged in a resin microcapsule implanted in the brain of a zebrafish, have succeeded in catalyzing a chemical reaction generating fluorescent compounds.

Significant practical importance

“The main problem of chemotherapy treatments are the side effects in various organs due to the toxicity of the molecules that are used to fight cancer. For this reason, alternative routes are explored from nanotechnology, for example, transporting drugs to the tumor using nanoparticles or alternative treatments to drugs, such as hyperthermia, elevation of local temperature, obtained with nanoparticles”, says Jesús Santamaría.

The conclusions of this work suggest a different way: the drug would be supplied to the patient in its inert form and only converted to the toxic form locally, thanks to the catalysis of the nanoparticles that a surgeon would implant in the tumor.


Article of reference

Pérez-López, A. M., Rubio-Ruiz, B., Sebastián, V., Hamilton, L., Adam, C., Bray, T. L., Irusta, S., Brennan, P. M., Lloyd-Jones, G. C., Sieger, D., Santamaría, J. and Unciti-Broceta, A. (2017). “Gold-Triggered Uncaging Chemistry in Living Systems”. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. doi:10.1002/anie.201708379

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Platform2nano research by Víctor Sebastián, (Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS) awarded Marie Skłodowska-Curie

The Platform2nano research project (2012-2016) has just been awarded a second prize in the “Contribution for a better society” category, at the “Mobility Takes Research Further” conference organized by Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA 2017) in the framework of the Presidency of Malta of the Council of the European Union. More than 195 researchers from 30 nationalities who have developed their scientific work through the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Scholarships were presented to these awards.

The project “Development of a microfluidic platform to produce nanomaterials and assessment on new nanotechnology applications” in which participate the researchers Manuel Arruebo, Laura Usón, Isabel Ortiz de Solorzano y Jesús Santamaría members of the group Nanostructured Films and Particles -NFP, coordinator of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS, was rated as excellent for its outstanding contribution to the design of a wide variety of nanomaterials through efficient technologies and for its multiple applications in different fields of great social interest such as biomedicine or energy processes.

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Nanotechnology and biomedical applications. Gene therapy

Yesterday, at the University of Zaragoza, Prof. Nuria Vilaboa (CIBER-BBN– Hospital Universitario de La Paz) gave a talk  on “Nanotechnology and biomedical applications. Gene therapy“.

The event was organized by Manuel Arruebo II Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon), researcher of the coordinating group of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS.

In recent years, a multitude of materials of nanometric size have been explored, which because of their small size have properties that give them a great attraction for a wide range of biomedical applications. Prof. Vilaboa reviewed gene therapy technology, where materials at  nanoscale offer interesting alternatives.

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J. Santamaría, U9 NANBIOSIS gets 2.5M € to develop a revolutionary cancer treatment

Jesús Santamaría, Scientific Director of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS, has obtained, for the second time in six years, an ERC Advanced Grant, one of the most prestigious and extremely competitive European research grants, restricted to senior researchers with a research trajectory of high quality for more than ten years.

The CADENCE (Catalytic Dual-Function Devices Against Cancer) project will be financed by the EU with 2.5M € to work for five years with a powerful team: four own researchers and seven others to be selected from candidates from all over the world.

With this project the researchers propose a revolutionary cancer treatment to be developed and tested. “The central idea of ​​the project is to consider the tumor as a chemical reactor in which catalysts can be introduced. A catalyst is agent  capable of directing chemical reactions and, in this case, would destroy molecules that are useful for the tumor and generate toxic products inside the tumor. The project thus has the potential to add a new member -catalysis- to the toolbox in oncology And if we could do within the tumor cells themselves we would have a very powerful tool. It would be to use catalysis as an arsenal in oncology “,  explained Jesús Santamaría.  But in addition to developing catalysts that can work successfully under intratumoral conditions (temperature, oxygen concentration, pH), a method must be devised to bring those catalysts selectively into the tumor either through the capillaries by which it extends or Or inside mesenchymal stem cells, as a Trojan horse. Finally, the project contemplates activating the catalysts remotely by infrared radiation, once they have achieved their goal. There are already initial results of the group that allow to glimpse possibilities of achieving these three objectives. A central part of the project will be the synthesis of catalytic nanomaterials. For this, the capabilities of NANBIOSIS-ICTS will be intensely used

Jesús Santamaría, believes that CADENCE has been selected because it is a new idea and, a priori, could be used in all types of tumors. “It’s new, it’s interesting and we’re going to contract the best researchers, because we’re going to need them,” he said. Among others, they will need experts in oncology, in photocatalysis and in modulation of bioreactors.  .

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Three Scientifics of NANBIOSIS in University of Zaragoza ERC 10 years celebration event

2017 is the year of the X Anniversary of the European Research Council (ERC), created to finance research projects of excellence at the frontier of knowledge of any scientific discipline.

The structure of the ERC consists of an autonomous scientific council made up of 22 distinguished scientists supported by an executive agency that is responsible for implementing the program, organizing the evaluation and managing the aid.

The University of Zaragoza, hosting three units of NANBIOSIS, joined the celebrations with an event that took place on March 15. Among the assistants, three Scientists of NANBIOSIS recognized with ERC:

Jesús Santamaría, Scientific Director of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS, received an Advanced Grant, on the senior side, with a funding of 1.85 M. for his project Héctor.

Manuel Arruebo, researcher of the group of Nanostructured Films and Particles, coordinator of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS, obtained the Consolidator Grant endowed with 1.5 M of euros with a Nanobiomedicine project.

Esther Pueyo, researcher of the group BSICoS, coordinator of Unit 27 of NANBIOSIS, obtained an ERC Started Grant for her Modelage project, financed with 1.5 M euros.


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Titania-coated gold nanorods with expanded photocatalytic response

New communication in the Journal Nanoscale, from the Royal Society of Chemistry by NFP Group, coordinator of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS.

Jesús Santamaría, Scientific Director of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS together with other authors of the Nanostructured Films and Particles (NFP) Group, coordinator of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS, has published on February 7, 2017, a Communication in the Journal Nanoscale, from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The syntheses of materials during the research have been performed by the Platform of Production of Biomaterials and Nanoparticles of the NANBIOSIS ICTS, more specifically by the Nanoparticle Synthesis Unit, as stated in the publication.

Gold nanorods coated with a uniform titanium dioxide nanoshell have been prepared and used as glucose-oxidase surrogates. Remarkably, this core–shell photocatalytic nanostructure has been able to induce complete oxidation of glucose at near room temperature (32–34 °C) in a wide range of pH values with the aid of a near-infrared (NIR) irradiation source. In contrast, the uncoated gold nanorods exhibit negligible photo-oxidation response under identical experimental conditions thereby proving the photoactivity of the titania shell towards glucose oxidation. The process takes place via in situ photo-generation of singlet oxygen or hydroxyl radicals as reactive oxidative species (ROS). This underlines the role played by the core nanorods as plasmonic light harvesters in the NIR range and constitutes the first example of a NIR-activated enzyme-like catalyst.
Article of reference:

Ortega-Liebana MC,  Hueso JL,  Arenalcd R,  Santamaria J. Titania-coated gold nanorods with expanded photocatalytic response. Enzyme-like glucose oxidation under near-infrared illumination. Nanoscale, 2017, 9,5, 1787-1792

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Multifunctional biomaterials and nanomaterials: the new technological revolution.

CaixaForum Zaragoza, Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 at 7:00 pm: talk by Jesús Santamaría, Scientific Director of Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS, within the Conference Cycle: Technology, the permanent revolution

Nanotechnology is the application of nanoscience and, in its modern conception, implies having the ability to design nanomaterials for a specific purpose and to control the manufacturing processes that allow them to have the desired characteristics (composition, size, shape, surface characteristics).

This talk presents the developments in nanotechnology as a true technological revolution. The general concepts and the influence of nanotechnology in our lives shall be discussed with examples of recent advances, with special emphasis on those obtained in the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon and Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS including with applications in the field of nanomedicine.

Multifunctional biomaterials and nanomaterials
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Award to research with micronanotechnology.

The Royal Spanish Academy of Engineering has awarded a medal to Víctor Sebastián Cabeza, researcher of the group “Nanostructured Films and Particles”, which coordinates Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS.

The prize has been awarded in recognition of his work in designing a wide variety of micro-reactors to produce nanomaterials in a controlled and successful manner, reducing time and costs, with applications in Biomedicine, catalysis or energy processes.

Dr Víctor Sebastián also received the prestigious Fulbright scholarship in 2009 to carry out a postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on nanomaterials and its development in microfluidics and in 2014 the European Academy awarded him the Burgen Scholarship Award recognizing him as one of the young researchers with greater scientific projection. Victor works in the field of micronanotechnology for its application in Biomedicine, Catalysis or energy processes. In particular, it has designed a large variety of micro-reactors with sub-millimeter dimensions that allow very precise control of the reaction conditions of the chemical processes that take place in them.

Dr Sebastian is an active member of Unit 9 of Nanobiosis, where he develops microfluidic system for biomedicine that allow a highly precise synthesis of nanomaterials.

Award to research with micronanotechnology.
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4 Units of NANBIOSIS hosted in three Universities among the 200 best in the world in science.

The University of Zaragoza is one of the 200 best universities in the world in science research, according to the latest Shanghai ranking of 2016 in a specific analysis by macro areas.

In order to elaborate this ranking by macroareas indicators such as the number of students and professors who have obtained the Nobel prize or Fields medal, the number of researchers highly cited in the scientific literature, the number of scientific articles indexed in the Science Citation Index and the Percentage of articles published in the most cited 20% scientific journals are used.

Only six Spanish universities are among the 200 best in the world in the field of science, such as the Autonomous University of Madrid, University of Barcelona, University of Santiago de Compostela, Polytechnic University of Valencia, University of Valencia and Zaragoza.

The list of the world’s top 200 universities in science is headed by American universities in Berkeley (California), Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and California, which rank the top six. In the seventh one appears the first European university, Cambridge, followed by the one of Tokyo, Technological Institute of Switzerland and the University of Los Angeles.

NANBIOSIS contributes to this success through the elite researchers that coordinate three of its Units located in the University of Zaragoza: Unit 9 that offers services for sciences research as Synthesis of Nanoparticles biomedicine, micronanotechnology or microfluidics biomedicine, Unit 13 with services as tissue and biomaterial characterization or mechanical tests of tissues and Unit 27 which offers services for sciences research on biomedical computer simulation, modelling of biomedical systems or large simulation multicore and multiserver, among other aspects.

In addition, the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Valencia provides the scientific management and part of the equipment to Unit 26 of NANBIOSIS that offers services for research as molecular imaging metabolomics by NMR or metabolic profiling of biofluids by NMR

Three Universities among the 200 best in the world in science, hosting 4 Units of NANBIOSIS.
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The Conferences in Nanotechnology of major reference at Spanish level.

Last November, 7th, the 10th AIN Conference on Industrial Applications of Nanotechnology, held in Zaragoza, brought together experts from research centres, universities and companies on the Industrial Applications of Nanotechnology. Among  them Jordi Reverter, Head of Knowledge and Technology Transfer of ICN2, (Institute housing  Unit 4 of NANBIOSIS) and Ricardo Ibarra, director of Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon (INA) which houses Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS) .

Joan Parra, director of the technology centre LEITAT  of  Catalonia, described the event as “Conferences of greater reference at Spanish level in Nanotechnology

During the meeting, their experience with nanotechnology was shown by the ICTS Elecmi and companies such as Grupo Antolín, Samca Group, BSH Electrodomésticos, Cepsa, Argenol Laboratories and Graphene Nanotech.

Dr. Jose L. Hueso (Unit 9 of NANBIOSIS) presented a recently patented nanocatalyst with great potential for its application in both biomedical and petrochemical fields.

The Conferences in Nanotechnology of major reference at Spanish level.
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