M-ERA.NET Topic 5 “Tailoring of bioactive material surfaces for health applications”

Advanced theranostic approach in cancer combining photodynamic therapy and nanoparticles - NANOTHER


Coordinator: Lisbon UniversityProf. Luis Filipe Vieira Ferreira

Academia partners

Partner 2: “Victor Babes” National Institute of Pathology, ROMANIA

Prof. Mihail Eugen Hinescu

Partner 3: “Carol Davila” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, ROMANIA

Prof. Rica Boscencu

Partner 4: Institute of Physical Chemistry, Romanian Academy, ROMANIA

Dr. Radu Petre Socoteanu

Partner 5: Autonomous University of Madrid, SPAIN

Prof. Antonio CUADRADO

Small and Medium Enterprises

Partner 6: SC Biotehnos SA

Dr. Laura OLARIU

Partner 7: DOKUMAR

Prof. Selma Huveyda Basaga

Project duration: 2016-2019




Theranostic is an emerging medical concept, combining imagistic diagnosis and therapy for personalized medicine. Considering the need for highly targeted therapy in cancer, the main objectives of the project are: 1) to develop new tools for one step imaging and therapy directed towards tumors (theranostic approach). Taking advantage of the huge biomedical potential and versatility of nanoparticles (NPs) and of fluorescent porphyrins as photosensitizers (PSs), we will bring improved joint power by designing, producing and characterizing porphyrin/biopolymer-coated iron oxide NPs, exhibiting superior imaging and photodynamic properties in solid tumors; 2) to test the hypothesis that inhibition of the antioxidant response of targeted tumors for developing a co-therapy can increases the efficacy of nano-PDT. Secondary objectives: 1) to build a multidisciplinary network in the field of nanotheranostics; 2) to train and to sustain career development for young researchers; 3) to obtain scientific and economic advantages for partner institutions, both academia and SMEs.

The project is in line with the M-era.Net topic “Tailoring of bioactive material surfaces for health applications” by developing a new/improved (nano)solution with multi-functional properties for theranostics in cancer. It will be demonstrated at preclinical level (in vitro and in animal models), addressing both therapeutic efficacy and toxicological issues. We will start the project at TLR 1 – basic principles observed, advancing through TRL 2 – technology concept formulated, and TRL 3 – experimental proof of concept, towards TRL 4 – technology validated in lab, at the end of the project.

The project is proposed by a multidisciplinary consortium composed of 3 universities, 2 research institutes and 2 SMEs from Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Romania. Partners will benefit from high level joint research and will share state-of-the-art technologies and know-how.

Activities will be organized in 8 WPs: WP1-Porphyrins, WP2-Nanoparticles and nanosystems, WP3-Structural characterization of nanosystems, WP4 Photochemical characterization of nanosystems, WP5-Preclinical study, WP6-Mechanistic study, WP7-Dissemination and technology transfer, WP8-Management.

The market strategy is to patent at least 1 nanosystem and to promote the patent to the pharmaceutical/nanotechnology industries after project completion. The new nanosystems and technologies which will be generated by the current project represent the premise for a future large-scale project joining pharmaceutical/nanotechnology industry and academic research. Additionally, this project represents a good opportunity for young researchers to get specialized and to grow in a competitive research area. The success of the project is supported by the recognized expertise of the participating scientists, their previous fruitful cooperation and the commitment to apply material science for developing biomedical applications.


  1. Boscencu, G. Manda, N. Radulea, R.P.Socoteanu, L. C. Ceafalan, I. V. Neagoe, I. F. Machado, S. H. Basaga, L. F. V. Ferreira. Studies on the synthesis, photophysical and biological evaluation of some unsymmetrical meso-tetrasubstituted phenyl porphyrins. Molecules 2017, 22: 1815, doi:10.3390/molecules22111815, 2017. IF =2.861. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6150282/pdf/molecules-22-01815.pdf

Gina Manda, Mihail E. Hinescu, Ionela V. Neagoe, Luis F.V. Ferreira, Rica Boscencu, Paul Vasos, Selma H. Basaga, Antonio Cuadrado. Emerging therapeutic targets in oncologic photodynamic therapy. Current Pharmaceutical Design 2018, 24: 5268-5295. IF=2.757. https://doi.org/10.2174/1381612825666190122163832.

  1. Boscencu, R.P. Socoteanu, G. Manda, N. Radulea, M. Anastasescu, A. Gama, I. Ferreira Machado, L.F.Vieira Ferreira. New A3B porphyrins as potential candidates for theranostic. Synthesis and photochemical behaviour. Dyes and Pigments 2019, 160: 410-417, IF =3.767. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dyepig.2018.08.028.
  2. F. Vieira Ferreira, I. Ferreira Machado, A. Gama, R. P. Socoteanu, R. Boscencu, G. Manda, R. C. Calhelha, I.C.F.R. Ferreira. Photochemical/Photocytotoxicity Studies of New Tetrapyrrolic Structures as Potential Candidates for Cancer Theranostics. Current Drug Discovery Technologies 2019, 16:1. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570163816666190411100919
  3. Radulea, R. Boscencu, R.Socoteanu, G. Manda, I.V. Neagoe. The effect of some amphiphilic porphyrins on the transmembrane potential of cultured L929 cells. Rev. Chim. 2019, 70(4): 1288-1292. IF = 1.47. https://revistadechimie.ro/Articles.asp?ID=7111.



  1. Tetrapyrolic compound with applications in theranostics and process for obtaining it, Patent no. 131946/2019; authors: Rica Boscencu, Gina Manda, Radu Petre Socoteanu, Mihail Eugen Hinescu, Natalia Radulea, Neagoe Ionela, Luis Felipe Vieira Ferreira.
  2. Porphyrin derivative for use in theranostics, OSIM patent 01030/2017; authors: Rica Boscencu, Gina Manda, Radu Petre Socoteanu, Mihail Eugen Hinescu, Neagoe Ionela, Laura Olariu, Brandusa Dumitriu.