Campus - Old Joe Clock Face

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It is expected that the number of new cases of cancer per year will rise to 23.6 million by 2030. This alarming rise demands cutting-edge research to develop targeted therapy for the treatment of various kinds of cancer.

The University of Birmingham is delighted to collaborate with Sona Nanotech Inc. to advance medical diagnostics to develop next generation nanorods for tissue imaging.

The goal of the project, which is being led by Zoe Pikramenou, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Photophysics at the University of Birmingham, is to investigate whether gold nanorods can eventually be used to target cancer cells in the human body.

The first step will be the creation of luminescent nanorods by functionalising gold nanorods provided by Sona with transition metals using technology created by Professor Pikramenou’s team.

Professor Pikramenou said: “The scientific community is only just beginning to explore the exciting potential of gold nanoparticles in medical applications such as diagnostics, drug delivery and cancer treatment. With its unique CTAB-free gold nanorods, Sona Nanotech has produced an innovative next-generation product that is ideally suited for these applications, which is why we have such high hopes for this collaborative project.”

Professor Pikramenou and her team will establish the functionalisation with metal complexes, and examine the imaging in cells and tissue to evaluate differences in uptake with conventional nanoparticles. The team will also  evaluate the attachment of antibodies for specific targeting of cancer tissues using techniques established in the group.

Sona Nanotech CEO Darren Rowles said: “This collaboration, with an internationally-renowned professor at a leading global university, demonstrates the high level of interest in Sona’s innovative technology. We are delighted to be working with Zoe and her team, and are excited to see what we can achieve together.”

Compared to other gold nanoparticles, gold nanorods have several advantages, including high surface area, unique physical, chemical and optical properties, biocompatibility and the ability to be conjugated with other molecules.

This enables them to be used in more efficient drug targeting and delivery and enhanced bio-imaging, which is driving market demand. The global gold nanoparticles market is anticipated to reach USD $1.52 billion by 2026 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 10.2% from 2018 to 2026.