In January 2021, we have submitted a proposal for the IODINATED NANOCONTRAST AGENTS FOR DUAL IMAGING (I ‐ NANOTRAST) project under the EuroNanoMed international call.
EuroNanoMed is a platform for funding agencies and ministries established since 2008. National and Regional research funding programmes join together with the goal of creating and funding collaborative research and innovation projects that can convert research in nanotechnology into practical gains in medicine. EuroNanoMed III (2016-2021) is the new ERA-Net Cofund Action on Nanomedicine under Horizon 2020 that will build upon the achievements on its predecessors to support the European Nanomedicine research community.
The I ‐ NANOTRAST project involves researchers from the Czech Republic (International Clinical Research Center of St. Anne’s University Hospital Brno, Faculty of Pharmacy of Masaryk University), the Slovak Republic (Institute of Neurobiology and Institute of Experimental Physics, Slovak Academy of Sciences) and Spain (Vall d’Hebron Research Institute).
Many diseases, such as stroke, myocardial infarction, or pulmonary embolism, pose a large burden on modern societies and are caused by blood clots. Imaging of blood clots is frequently not straightforward and simple, but desirable for improved patient management. Simplifying clot imaging (e.g. using X‐ray) will accelerate the diagnoses of many diseases and improve their management. If the project is approved, we will engage in iodinated nanocontrast agent research.
Iodinated nanoparticles (IoNPs) based on iodinated biodegradable polymers are able to target specific substances, such as fibrin, thus they can be used for visualizing clots or thrombus by X‐ray or CT. Moreover, incorporating sufficiently large nanoparticles (NPs) allows using NPs as an ultrasound contrast agent (by both Doppler and 2D examination). I‐NANOTRAST will develop new IoNPs evaluated for their physical and biological properties using in vitro and in vivo models in rodents and large animals with regard to safety and ability to target blood clots. The suitability of IoNPs to different methods such as X‐ray/CT, angiography, contrast‐enhanced ultrasonography for thrombus, and thromboembolism imaging will be tested. The most suitable method will be used for in situ imaging to screen direct thrombolytic effect of the plasminogen activating substances (rtPA, TNK‐PA) on labelled clots. Because IoNPs persist in the blood for an extended time and are biodegradable, their future usage could optimize the imaging and therapeutic management of thromboembolic states in the clinical practice.
I‐NANOTRAST is a highly multidisciplinary consortium made up by materials‐science, biomedical and clinical researchers with extensive expertise. The project will deliver novel iodinated nanomaterials and robust preclinical proof for their use in thromboembolic diseases, with special emphasis on stroke.
An evaluation of the project proposal is currently underway. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!