Hang Ta is an Associate Professor at School of Environment and Science and Queensland Micro- and Nanotechnology Centre, Griffith University. She is a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellow and currently leads a team of 12 students and postdocs working on nanomaterials for diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening diseases. She has a unique skill set combining chemistry and biology skills. She got a PhD in biomaterials for drug delivery from University of Melbourne and then worked at Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute and University of Queensland before moving to Griffith University in 2020. A/Prof Ta has been awarded a number of prizes, grants and prestigious fellowships such as National Heart Foundation postdoctoral fellowship, NHMRC ECR fellowship and Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship. She has secured over $4.1 million ($3.4 million as lead investigator) in competitive grant funding from national funding agencies for both discovery and infrastructure projects. She is Associate Editor of Artificial Cells, Nanomedicine and Biotechnology, is on Editorial Boards and is a peer reviewer for several journals, is a chair/co-chair of international and national conferences. She serves on the committees of various scientific societies and also serves on different national grant review panels (e.g. ARC, NHMRC).


Nanomaterials based on metal and metal oxide for theranostics of diseases

Hang T Ta1,2,3

1School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia Address
2Queensland Micro and Nanotechnology Centre, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
3Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Corresponding address:

The need for efficient and biocompatible treatment methods that can simultaneously deliver imaging and therapeutic agents for combined diagnosis and therapy have resulted in the development of theranostic nanoparticles in recent times. Nanotheranostics represent one of the last frontiers in precision medicine and provide real-time information about drug biodistribution, release, and targeted treatment in vivo

We have developed various hybrid theranostic nanomaterials based on metal and metal oxide such as iron oxide, cerium oxide, gold, and silver for diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as thrombosis, cancer and inflammatory diseases. Iron oxide offers magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) capability. Cerium oxide provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The incorporation of either gold or silver onto the nanoparticles not only provides photoacoustic imaging capability but also allows photothermal therapy. The developed hybrid nanomaterials were labelled with fluorescence molecules to enable optical imaging, and also tagged with targeting ligands (e.g. single chain antibodies, peptide and folic acid) for site-specific delivery of the materials.

The hybrid iron oxide/cerium oxide nanoparticles showed excellent theranostic property in a liver inflammation mouse model and in a subcutaneous cancer model. MRI was successfully employed to monitor the delivery of the materials and detect the tumor. The particles could reverse liver inflammation and suppress the growth of tumor while did not show any adverse effects systemically. Two other hybrid nanomaterials, gold/iron oxide and silver/iron oxide particles exhibited multimodal imaging capability where both MRI and photoacoustic imaging could be used to image the materials and thus allowed the detection of thrombosis and tumor in mouse models. Triggered by 808nm laser light, the nanoparticles could induce excellent thrombolysis effect and restored blood flow in the clotted artery. The laser was also employed successfully to activate photothermal apoptosis of cancer cells, resulted in the elimination of tumor. While exhibiting excellent clot lysis and anti-tumor capability, these materials did not show any systemic adverse effects.

Keywords: theranostics, iron oxide, cerium oxide, gold, silver, thrombosis, cancer, inflammation

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