Ph.D. Ulrika Jakobsson, a postdoc in the group, has won a three-year Academy of Finland postdoctoral fellowship for the years 2017-2020 for her research on the development of theranostic porous silicon (PSi) nanoparticles labeled with accelerator-based radionuclides under the mentorship of Dr. Kerttuli Helariutta and Docent Anu Airaksinen.
Nanoparticle structures that are at the core of the awarded research, are seen as a promising new platform for targeted cancer therapy as the treatment regimes could include that of commonly encountered metastases alongside the primary tumor. The porosity of the PSi nanoparticles generates a large effective surface, enabling a large drug-loading capacity on the particle and consequently a large drug-delivering capacity into the tumor. Alongside cytotoxic drugs the nanoparticle can be loaded with radionuclides exhibiting both diagnostic and radiotherapeutic properties (rendering them 'theranostic') in order to trace the movement of the drug-carrying nanoparticle in the living body through PET or SPECT tomography while delivering a localized radiation dose to the tumor. In collaboration with the ISOLDE radioactive beam line facility at CERN, Ulrika is developing novel techniques to implant the carrier PSi nanoparticle with theranostic accelerator-based radionuclides such as Dy-159, many of which have not been explored for theranostic purposes before.
Academy of Finland decision (in Finnish) can be found here.
Read more on the radiation therapy research at the TRIM group here.