A transdisciplinary approach with bio-nanodevice interfaces

GLADIATOR - New technologies for cancer monitoring and therapy

Press Release /

The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT is contributing its expertise in the field of medical biotechnology and ultrasound to a new EC project to work on the next generation of theranostics for brain pathologies using autonomous externally controllable nanonetworks.

Brain pathologies are highly complex disorders. Despite recent progress, their prognosis is grim, defining a significant societal challenge.

In the EC project GLADIATOR, coordinated by the University of Cyprus and R&D intensive SME EPOS-Iasis, five academic centres and one SME from across Europe have joined forces with a leading Japan-based University in order to develop a vanguard and comprehensive theranostic (therapeutic + diagnostic) solution for brain malignancies by bridging life sciences, bio-nanotechnology, engineering and information communication technologies (ICT).

The GLADIATOR project will provide a working prototype of a complete, autonomous and clinically applicable, nanonetwork-based, theranostic system based on the conceptual framework of Externally Controllable Molecular Communications (ECMC). Molecular Communications is the emerging discipline of exploring the transmission of encoded messages via molecular channels in solutions, cells or entire living organisms. Such systems can even form networks of bio-nano-machines which, when externally controlled, can be interrogated to extract information on the status of the cancer but also manipulate the malignant cells to affect the disease progression.

Using Glioblastoma Multiforme tumours, the most detrimental of brain pathologies, as a proof-of-concept case, GLADIATOR will implement an innovative theranostic platform of combined cell-based and electronic components. Rationally designed reprogramming (therapeutic) bio-nanomachines will interfere with the underlying biological environment, forming nanonetworks and defining a revolutionary intervention. A hybrid bio-electronic interface, consisting of coupled external and implantable devices, will enable communication channels integrated into a wireless ECMC network. This system will autonomously monitor the spatiotemporal tumour evolution and recurrence and generate, on demand, appropriate reprogramming interventions, by radiofrequency stimulation.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT with its departments "Cryo- and Stem Cell Technology" and "Bioprocessing and Bioanalytics" within the main department of Medical Biotechnology as well as the main department of Ultrasound is involved in the synthesis of allogeneic or patient-specific organoids and the proof-of-concept in vitro on complex biological models as well as in the construction of the micro-optoelectronic sensor. The Fraunhofer IBMT has decades of experience in device and technology development in the fields of biomedical/medical technology, medical biotechnology (especially cryo(bio)technology, nano(bio)technology and stem cell technology), ultrasound technology, biomedical microsystems, theranostics, (mobile) laboratory technology and laboratory automation.

A paradigm shift in Oncology Research is anticipated via the supra-discipline of “bio-nanomachine diagnostics”. GLADIATOR establishes a radical long-term vision leading to a drastic change in cancer therapy, also ushering the emergence of the ECMC field and transforming the burgeoning industry of "Internet of Nano-bio-things", with high socioeconomic impact.

It is expected that the project’s results will improve patient prognosis by minimizing recurrences and reducing drug toxicity. Improved health, extended life expectancy and productivity, reduced sick-leaves, shorter hospitalizations, reduced return visits, less personnel and caregiver involvement will also have a positive effect on the already overstrained Health Care Systems. Moreover, the pioneering biological and nanotechnology-based innovations, development methods and computational and analytical tools advanced through GLADIATOR, are expected to have substantial economic impact since they can enter into significant market segments as indicated by global market projections and underlying drivers.

Project Coordinator
Dr. Constantinos Pitris
Associate Professor
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
School of Engineering
University of Cyprus
75 Kallipoleos street
P.O.Box 20537
CY-1678 Nicosia
Tel: +357 22 89229797
E-Mail: cpitris@ucy.ac.cy
Website: http://www.eng.ucy.ac.cy/cpitris/

Scientific Coordinator
Dr. Andreani Odysseos
Director of Research
EPOS-Iasis Research and Development, Ltd
Kosti Palama 34, APT 5
CY-1096 Nicosia
Tel: +357 22 373089
Mob: +357 99 431729
E-Mail: andreani@epos-iasis.com
Website: http://www.epos-iasis.com

Project Partners

  • University of Cyprus, Cyprus
  • University of Oulu, Finland
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik) IBMT, Germany
  • Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland
  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
  • Osaka University, Japan
  • EPOS-Iasis, Cyprus

CALL: H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2019-2019-2020-01-01
Funding Scheme: RIA
Proposal Number: 8288837
Proposal Acronym: GLADIATOR
Duration (Months): 48
Project Start/Project End:
01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022
Project Title:
Next-generation theranostics of brain pathologies with autonomous externally controllable nanonetworks: a transdisciplinary approach with bio-nanodevice interfaces.