[European project] Euronanomed 3 : Nanoparticles to optimize the effects of radiotherapy of brain tumors

European project
Brain tumors

How can the therapeutic effectiveness of nanoparticles used in radiotherapy to treat brain tumors be strengthened? 
This is the challenge faced by the European EURONANOMED III project "RXnanoBRAIN, RXnanoBRAIN, Nanoparticles to optimize the effects of radiotherapy of brain tumors:  Multi-scale modeling and experimental validation" which the University of Lorraine is coordinating.


What is the clinical context? Glioblastoma is the most common form of brain cancer and is generally aggressive. The standard treatment consists of surgical removal of the tumor when possible followed by concomitant radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Radiotherapy has an undisputedly positive role to play after surgery and contributes to improving the overall prognosis of these tumors. However, unfortunately many patients develop a recurrence of local tumors even when treatment is carried out well. Nanomedicine - and nanoparticles in particular - are the source of remarkable prospects for development and innovation in radiotherapy.


What is the challenge at stake? The aim is to plan and adapt the X-ray doses given to the patient to maximise radiotherapy efficiency on these high-grade tumors while preserving the adjacent healthy tissue. This project will base its work on pre-clinical experiments at different biological scales (cells, tissues and in vivo on rodent models) and on the development of algorithms. An evaluation will then be carried out of the therapeutic potential of an innovative nanoparticle which results from the discovery of NH TherAGuIX and is currently in clinical development. Researchers will study the complementarity and effectiveness of the energy of radiotherapy and nanoparticles within tumour tissue. Gaining in-depth understanding of the effects on the immune response to control and fully enhance the potential of the effects of this treatment also represents a crucial innovative step for the project.


What is specific to the RXnanoBRAIN project? The project is based on previous results acquired by the consortium. The objective will be to attain a sufficient level of technological maturity (TRL, Technology Readness Level) to then move on to a therapeutic trial.
The therapeutic innovation represented by Nanomedicine aims firstly to increase the effects of X-rays within the tumor area and secondly to use multimodal imaging to adapt doses thus providing image-guided radiation therapy. To achieve this, the RXnanoBRAIN project proposes to use a nanoparticle with a high electron density. This opens up promising research perspectives but also brings up complex multidisciplinary and multi-scale questions involving radiotherapy treatment planning, image registration and analysis. The project is also faced with complex biological challenges because nanoparticles and radiotherapy are both likely to have effects on the environment of the tumor and the behaviour of the cancer cells. Another objective is to characterise the consequences of the inflammatory and immune responses to this treatment with a combination of nanoparticles and radiotherapy.

One of the RXnanoBRAIN project's specific features is that it also associates the multidisciplinary skills of the CRAN's BioSiS department to work on radiation treatment planning, multimodality image fusion and cell and tissue biology.

The consortium is made up of three academic partners and two SMEs - the CRAN BioSiS department, the NH TherAguix company, Oslo University Hospital, the Jagiellonian University and the WPD Pharmaceuticals company. The project brings together neuro-oncologists, radiotherapists, neurosurgeons, radiophysicists, signal processors, control specialists, biologists, immunologists and photobiologists. The current health crisis has led to the launch date of this 3-year project being postponed to April 2021.

Download the infography of the project.