January 2014:

The website is online.

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July 2015:

Transnational research mobility from Babes-Bolyai University to University of Bergen, Norway

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September 2015:

Workshop on Nanopharmacology in Leukemia Chemotherapy

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- EEA Grants
- Granturi SEE
- UMF Cluj
- UBB Cluj

Nanotechnology approach in Acute Myeloid Leukemia management

Nanotechnology applied to the medical field or nanomedicine is a very fast growing research field having a strong interdisciplinary character. It aims to bring together physicists, biologists, chemists, physicians and pharmacists in order to apply latest nanotechnology achievements for biomedical applications. At the nanoscale, the new physical properties afforded by the nano-objects offer not only different but also better ways of detecting, managing, treating and in certain cases, preventing disease. Therefore, from the nanomedical point of view, healing cancer implies three major aspects: early cancer detection using innovative approaches, understanding the mechanisms underlying the emergence, development and proliferation of cancer cells, and founding new and innovative treatment solutions for different types of cancer (local hyperthermia, nanoparticle drug delivery, etc.). In the present research project we would like to further extend the very recent advancements in nanobiotechnology with two precise aims: development of new early leukemia detection methodology using state-of-the-art approach in technology, as well as the development of new nanomaterials based therapeutic agents for AML management. The technical goals are also supplemented by a teaching activity, in which we wish to bring a interdisciplinary solution to this disease, as well as strengthen the collaboration between various fields in science.

Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is one of the most common and deadly leukemias worldwide. Its prognosis is poor, in part due to diagnosis at late disease stages. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying AML genesis, leading to the development of better early diagnostic tools, are thus imperative. Nanotechnology is emerging as a new and highly promising solution for the management of such cancers and AML is a suitable candidate for novel nanotechnology-based diagnostics and therapeutics.

We hypothesize that a nanotechnology approach on AML will allow us to better diagnose as well as treat this disease. In the current application, we propose to evaluate the efficacy of various nanostructures in order to better diagnose and treat AML. The goal of the research will also be the training of young investigators in highly specific protocols of nanopharmacology and molecular oncology.

Our hypothesis will be tested through the following Specific Aims:
Aim 1. To identify and validate a new approach in early AML diagnosis.
Aim 1a. To identify and validate microRNA (miRs) downregulated in AML vs. myelodysplastic syndromes
Aim 1b. Compare the target miRs with FLT3 mutation status in the clinic
Aim 1c. Functionalize quantum dots and gold nanoparticles with various FLT3 inhibitors
Aim 1d. Assess the in vitro and in vivo effects of various nano-carriers functionalized with FLT3 inhibitors
Aim 2. To train young investigators
Aim 2a. To complete the training of young investigators and PhD students from Romania and Norway in state-of-the-art techniques in basic and translational cancer research.

The expected outputs of the current proposal is to compare the prognostic potential of a miR-based assay to the current standard-of-care in AML management, represented by the FLT3 and NPM1 mutation status. Some patients nevertheless relapse after initial chemotherapy and clinicians often turn to FLT3 inhibitors. The next stage of our study is to provide an alternative approach to FLT3 inhibitor-based chemotherapy regiments by using drug nanocarriers labeled with either near-infrared-emitting Quantum Dots (Quantoplexes) or gold nanoparticles. Afterwards, we will evaluate their potential therapeutic effect both in vitro and in vivo.