Professor Richard Bayford has been awarded a Bright Ideas research grant to investigate nanoparticle imaging as a method for drug delivery and cancer therapy at Middlesex University.
As the Year of Engineering gets underway, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has announced support for 28 pioneering new research projects across the UK.
"The research we are undertaking has the potential to transform cancer treatment and other conditions," Professor Richard Bayford, Director of Biophysics, Middlesex Cancer Research Centre for Investigative Oncology
Applicants to the Bright Ideas scheme submitted anonymous outline proposals before pitching their ideas in a Dragon’s Den-style interview process.
Twenty-eight projects at 17 different universities have been supported, with grants awarded to researchers across all career stages and representing a diverse range of fields.
Pioneering cancer research
Professor Bayford aims to build on previous studies into imaging and cancer therapy carried out at Middlesex while taking the research forward into new territory.
“For the first time we will investigate nanoparticle imaging for drug discovery and cancer therapy in humans," he says.
"Nanoparticles are minute in size - they are typically the size of small molecules and are far too small to see even with a microscope. We will be developing a new imaging method, using gold nanoparticles as 'bullets' that can go through the body to track and destroy cancer.
“Currently many drugs - even those discovered using the most advanced molecular biology strategies - have unacceptable side effects due to the drug interacting with healthy tissues that are not the target of the drug. Side effects limit the ability to design optimal medications for many diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and infectious diseases.
“Therefore the research we are undertaking has the potential to transform cancer treatment and other conditions.”