Editor: João Conde

in Elsevier, Micro & Nano Technologies Book Series (2018)

Nanocarriers are advantageous for theranostics as their size and versatility enables integration of multiple functional components in a single platform. Handbook of Nanomaterials for Cancer Theranostics focuses on recent developments in advanced theranostic nanomedicines from a chemical and biological perspective, where the advantages of theranostics are achieved by combining multiple components that each possesses a specific singular function for therapeutic activity or imaging contrast. The authors explore the pros and cons of theranostic nanomaterials developed in the last 15 years in cancer research. The different strategies employed are compared and scrutinized. In addition, the book explores how nanomaterials may overcome the regulatory hurdles facing theranostic nanomedicines. This is an important research reference for postgraduates and researchers in nanomedicine and cancer research, who want to learn more about how nanomaterials can help to create more effective cancer treatments.

K. Shuturminska, C. O'Malley, D.W.P. Collis, João Conde, H.S. Azevedo

in Self-assembling Biomaterials - Molecular Design, Characterization and Application in Biology and Medicine, Elsevier (2018)

Two-dimensional or three-dimensional templates have been used to drive the self-assembly of molecules onto solid substrates in order to create chemically defined and ordered surfaces. The properties of the substrate can be tuned to manipulate local interactions and direct the assembly of molecules with controlled orientations onto precise positions. Substrates of choice can be flat or patterned 2-D solid surfaces for studying biological processes, such as biomineralization and cellular processes (e.g., adhesion, migration, and differentiation) or 3-D nanoparticles for detecting molecular interactions (diagnostics) and releasing therapeutics (targeted drug delivery). This chapter describes the substrates and methods typically used in templated self-assembly to fabricate biomaterials with high control over presented biofunctionalities, as well as their bio-related applications.

Y. Shi, João Conde, H.S. Azevedo

in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1030), Springer (2017)

Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been widely explored as an effective tool to deliver a variety of molecules and nanoparticles into cells due to their intrinsic property to translocate across cell membranes. CPPs are easier to synthesize and functionalize, and their incorporation into delivery vehicles could be achieved by both non-covalent and covalent methods. Recent advances in molecular self-assembly have demonstrated the possibility to fabricate various nanostructures with precise control over the shape, size and presentation of diverse functionalities. Through rational design, CPPs could be used as a building block for the nanostructure formation via self-assembly, while providing the functionality for intracellular delivery. In this book chapter, we will describe strategies to design self-assembling CPP conjugates and illustrate how their self-assembled nanostructures are manipulated for effective intracellular delivery. Fundamental knowledge on CPPs and molecular self-assembly will also be described.

João Conde*, F. Tian, P.V. Baptista and J.M. de la Fuente

in Nano-Oncologicals: New Targeting and Delivery Approaches. Advances in Delivery Science and Technology Series, Springer Science+Business Media. Controlled Release Society (2014)

After a quarter of century of rapid technological advances, research has revealed the complexity of cancer, a disease intimately related to the dynamic transformation of the genome. However, the full understanding of the molecular onset of this disease is still far from achieved and the search for mechanisms of treatment will follow closely. It is here that Nanotechnology enters the fray offering a wealth of tools to diagnose and treat cancer. It is indisputable that the use of gold nanocarriers has been gaining momentum as vectors for therapy and diagnostic strategies, combining the AuNPs’ ease of functionalization with numerous biomolecules, high loading capacity and fast uptake by target cells. In fact, over the last decade nearly 12.000 research papers focusing on multifunctional gold nanocarriers have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Some of the described nanosystems will most likely revolutionize our understanding of biological mechanisms and push forward the clinical practice through their integration in future diagnostics platforms. Nevertheless, very little gave fruitful results in order to improve a bench-to-bedside approach to translational research. On the basis of theoretical and experimental results obtained so far are we or not at the point: from bench to bedside and back again? As you will see, the answers to this question are complex, but one thing is clear: Translation into clinics is a tortuous and difficult path. Here, we provide a critical review about the available multifunctional gold nanocarriers for in vitro application and in vivo cancer targeting on nanodiagnostics and therapy.

João Conde, G. Doria, J.M. de la Fuente and P.V. Baptista

Nanoparticles in Biology and Medicine: Methods and Protocols Series. Methods in Molecular Biology. Humana Press, Springer Protocols (2012)

Nanotechnology provides new tools for gene expression analysis that allow for sensitive and specific characterization of prognostic signatures related to cancer. Cancer is a multigenic complex disease where multiple gene loci contribute to the phenotype. The ability to simultaneously monitor differential expression originating from each locus allows for a more accurate indication of degree of cancerous activity than either locus alone. Metal nanoparticles have been widely used as labels for in vitro identification and quantification of target sequences. Here we describe the synthesis of nanoparticles with different noble metal compositions in an alloy format that are then functionalized with thiol-modified ssDNA (nanoprobes). We also show how to use such nanoprobes in a non-cross-linking colorimetric method for the direct detection and quantification of specific mRNA targets, without the need for enzymatic amplification or reverse transcription steps. The different metals in the alloy provide for distinct absorption spectra due to their characteristic plasmon resonance peaks. The color multiplexing allows for simultaneous identification of several different mRNA targets involved in cancer development. Comparison of the absorption spectra of the nanoprobes mixtures taken before and after induced aggregation of metal nanoparticles allows to both identify and quantify each mRNA target. We describe the use of gold and gold:silver-alloy nanoprobes for the development of the non-cross-linking method to detect a specific BCR–ABL fusion gene (e.g., e1a2 and e14a2) mRNA target associated with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) using 10 ng/μL of unamplified total human RNA. This simple methodology takes less than 50 min to complete after total RNA extraction with comparable specificity and sensitivity to the more commonly used methods.

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© 2020 by João Conde


European Research Council ERC