Prof. Yuri Volkov received his MD from the Moscow Medical Academy and PhD in biomedical sciences at the Institute of Immunology, Moscow. He works at the Department of Clinical Medicine, Trinity College Dublin since 1995. His research interests for a number of years have been focused in leukocyte biology, mechanisms of inflammation and cell adhesion receptors functioning in immune defence and disease development. Recently, Prof. Volkov has established a large-scale interdisciplinary alliance between the Schools of Medicine, Physics, and Chemistry at Trinity College aimed at the development of new nanoscale molecular imaging and drug delivery systems. Prof. Volkov is also a Principal Investigator at the Trinity College’s Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN), where his group is pursuing the applications of nanomaterials for advanced research and medical diagnostics.
Prof. Volkov is coordinating a large scale EU FP-7 funded Consortium NAMDIATREAM (www. namdiatream.eu) which aims to contribute to the fight against cancer, representing a major burden on the European population in terms of morbidity and mortality, with an estimated 3.2 million new cases and 1.7 million deaths per year. NAMDIATREAM is a truly interdisciplinary solution-oriented Nanomedicine project that builds its expertise and knowledge around the Pan-European consortium integrating 7 biotechnology SMEs, 2 multinational industry partners, 10 academic institutions and 3 clinical medicine departments and hospitals. NAMDIATREAM focuses on developing nanotechnology-based toolkit to enable early detection and imaging of molecular biomarkers of the most common cancer types and of cancer metastases, as well as permitting the identification of cells indicative of early-stage disease onset. The project is built on the innovative technology concepts of super-sensitive “lab-on-a-bead”, “lab-on-a-chip” and “lab-on-a-wire” nanodevices. NAMDIATREAM devices exploit magnetic, plasmonic and photo-luminescent advanced nanoscale material properties for high throughput early diagnosis of cancer and treatment. They allow identification of true “molecular signatures” of specific biomarkers and cancer cells in clinical samples. The validation of these nanotools will be carried out in compliance with the OECD-regulatory policies in nanomaterials. Evaluation of disease progression during surgical procedures, assessment of tumour heterogeneity for optimised treatment strategies and miniaturised point-of-care biomarker diagnostic tests will be adapted for micro-litre sample volumes, which thereby implies the minimisation of the invasiveness and costs of diagnostic procedures.
Nanotechnological Toolkits for Diagnostics and Treatment Monitoring of Cancer
NAMDIATREAM will develop a cutting edge nanotechnology-based toolkit for multi-modal detection of biomarkers of most common cancer types and cancer metastases, permitting identification of cells indicative of early disease onset in a high-specificity and throughput format in clinical, laboratory and point-of-care devices. The project is built on the innovative concepts of super-sensitive and highly specific lab-on-a-bead , lab-on-a-chip and lab-on-a-wire nano-devices utilizing photo-luminescent, plasmonic, magnetic and non-linear optical properties of nano-materials. This offers groundbreaking advantages over present technologies in terms of stability, sensitivity, time of analysis, probe multiplexing, assay miniaturisation and reproducibility. The ETP in Nanomedicine documents point out that nanotechnology has to deliver practical solutions for the patients and clinicians in their struggle against common, socially and economically important diseases such as cancer.
Over 3.2M new cases and 1.7M cancer-related deaths are registered in Europe every year, largely because diagnostic methods have an insufficient level of sensitivity, limiting their potential for early disease identification. NAMDIATREAM will deliver photoluminescent nanoparticle-based reagents and diagnostic chips for high throughput early diagnosis of cancer and treatment efficiency assessment nanocrystals enabling plasmon-optical and nonlinear optical monitoring of molecular receptors within body fluids or on the surface of cancer cell multi-parameter screening of cancer biomarkers in diagnostic material implementing segmented magnetic nanowires validation of nanotools for early diagnosis and highly improved specificity in cancer research. OECD-compliant nanomaterials with improved stability, signal strength and biocompatibility direct lead users of the results will be the diagnostic and medical imaging device companies involved in the consortium, clinical and academic partners.
Society will benefit from NAMDIATREAM by the reduced laboratory burden and results waiting time and at significantly reduced costs compared to the currently available methodologies. Patients will benefit by gaining increased reassurance and certainty of their medical condition and therefore most appropriate treatment.