EVO-NANO aims to create an integrated platform for the artificial evolution and validation of nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems.
Nanoparticles are increasingly being used in cancer applications for their ability to deliver treatments and diagnostics directly to tumours. The challenge is to discover how trillions of nanoparticles, interacting in a complex tumour environment will behave as a collective.
Our targeted scientific breakthrough is to establish, for the first time, an integrated evolvable platform for artificial evolution of novel NP-based drug delivery systems, their synthesis and rapid testing both in vivo and in vitro on a newly developed microfluidic-based platform.
EVO-NANO gathers six research partners and one industrial with complementary expertise. Every partner in EVO-NANO has its own specific competencies and experience that is necessary to achieve the proposed objectives but with and overlap of knowledge that will enable an effective collaboration.
EVO-NANO is organized around two research hubs: computing sciences and modelling (PFNS, UB, UWE and AAU) and experimental in vitro and in vivo cancer and nanoparticle research (IMDEA, VHIR and PCS). Partners with cross-disciplinary expertise are expected to work between these hubs to produce an integrated synthesis between in silico models and their material realizations.
Algorithms jointly developed by PFNS, UB and UWE will need to be distributed and heavily rely on parallel processing to accommodate simulations of large numbers of agents. This will be done using expertise of AAU whose specialty is massive parallel computation and multi-core processes.
To verify evolved anti-cancer strategies we will test them in vitro and in vivo thanks to expertise of three additional partners. PCS is a company that develops customized functionalized NPs and has interdisciplinary expertise in the fields of chemistry, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. IMDEA works on miniaturized micropatterned devices and nano-scale platforms for single-cell manipulation and surfaces for biomedical applications. VHIR is the drug delivery and targeting group working on designing new drug delivery systems and their in vitro and in vivo preclinical validation.
Objective 1: To develop a new class of open-ended evolutionary algorithms that will creatively assess different cancer scenarios and autonomously engineer NP-based solutions to them in a novel and creative way.
Objective 2: To implement a computational platform for the autonomous generation of new strategies for targeting CSC surface receptors using NPs. In its final form, our model will globally simulate all the main aspects of NPs dynamics: their travel via blood streams, extravasation, tumour penetration and endocytosis.
Objective 3: To streamline synthesis of functionalized NPs suggested by the computational platform.
Objective 4: To develop an integrated platform for validation of efficacy of artificially evolved nanoparticle designs. It will be composed of (i) in vitro microfluidics that will mimic major physiological barriers for NP tumour delivery and (ii) in vivo pre-clinical tests.
Sébastien Lafond, Docent, TkD
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We are international team from 5 nations across Europe. The small size of our consortium enables an efficient structure that monitors progress continuously and acts rapidly on any matter.
University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Agriculture, Novi Sad, Serbia
University of the West of England, The Unconventional Computing Group, Bristol, UK
Department of Engineering Mathematics, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Life Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
Åbo Akademi University, Åbo, Finland
IMDEA Nanosciencia, Madrid, Spain
Vall d'Hebron Research Institute, Barcelona, Spain
ProChimia Surfaces, Sopot, Poland