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Development of nanostructure-based biosensors for cancer treatment

The project Development of nanostructure-based biosensors for cancer diagnosis and treatment and development of nanostructured surfaces with antibacterial properties involves researchers at the start of their research career and is carried out by the Jožef Stefan Institute in partnership with the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Ljubljana.

The project involves research work in the field of development of nanostructured surfaces for cancer diagnosis and treatment, and further deals with developing antibacterial surfaces and improving surface properties of stents. Titanium and common titanium alloys are well known for having excellent mechanical properties, including high biocompatibility, flexibility and strong resistance to corrosion; as such they have been widely used as biomaterials. For decades, they have been used in medical implants, including dental, orthopedic or cardiovascular implants. Early career researcher dr. Metka Benčina is heading a group of researchers dealing with developing new methods of surface modification of titanium and titanium alloys that are used for the development of highly sensitive biosensors for the detection of extracellular vesicles as biomarkers for cancer diagnosis. The research group is also engaged in the development of nanosurfaces with improved antibacterial and mechanical properties and improved resistance to corrosion as perfect for implantable materials.

Their research work has already been recognized and has obtained patent. Additionally, a number of research articles have already been written on the matter. Further results are expected as the project group is to collaborate in the future. The results of the research work reveal that human coronary artery cells, platelets and bacteria selectively adhere to various titanium oxide surface morphologies. This is an important finding which will help avoid a variety of serious reactions following biomaterial implantation, such as inflammation, and postoperative complications, including the development of pathology such as thrombosis and restenosis. The researchers found that titanium oxide nanotubes, after undergoing additional oxygen plasma treatment, improve significantly their biological function. Another important outcome of the project is the successful collaboration between the Jožef Stefan Institute and industry, as the two-way relation between the economy and research organizations facilitates and strengthens transfer of knowledge from knowledge institutions and helps it translate into practice.

Beneficiary: Institute Jožef Stefan

Programme: Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy in the Period 2014-2020

Fund: European Regional Development Fund

EU contribution: EUR 146,520


PHOTO:  Institute Jožef Stefan