UCL Division of Surgery and Interventional Science


Nanomedicine and Surgical Theranostics

The Centre for Nanomedicine and Surgical Theranostics (CNS) carries out translational multidisciplinary research on nanomedicine and targeted therapy and diagnostics of solid cancers and diseased lesions.

Our work

Our current research aims include:

  • New nanoparticles for surgical oncology to enable improved intraoperative imaging and targeted therapy. 
  • Investigation of ablative techniques for surgery (e.g., ultrasound, near-IR irradiation, cryotherapy) and their combination with chemotherapy as adjuvants to surgery.
  • Developing tumouroid 3D in vitro cultures of cancer, which mimic the composition and architecture of solid tumours as platforms for testing therapeutics and stratified medicine.
  • Clinical trials in surgical oncology and renal cancer ablation and diagnostics.
  • Treatment of infections using nanoparticles with antimicrobial properties.

Our facilities

  • 3D model fabrication and culture of primary cells for cancer
  • Nanoparticle manufacture
  • Reactive oxygen species detection using time-resolved spectroscopy
  • High power laser irradiation
  • Ultrasound delivery
  • Thermal imaging
  • NIR imaging

The Centre for Nanomedicine and Surgical Theranostics (CNS)

Principal Investigators from laboratory and surgical disciplines work alongside postdoctoral, graduate researchers and students. To foster our interdisciplinary approach, we have strong links with other UCL departments, including Chemistry, the School of Pharmacy and Engineering.

Prof. Sandy Macrobert

Head: Prof. Sandy MacRobert

Prof. Nikolitsa Nomikou

Deputy Head: Prof. Nikolitsa Nomikou

Prof. Marilena Loizidou

Prof. Marilena Loizidou

Maxine Tran

Prof. Maxine Tran

Dr Elnaz Yaghini

Dr Elnaz Yaghini

Prof. Axel Bex

Prof. Axel Bex

Dr Katerina Stamati

Dr Katerina Stamati

Mohammed Eddama

Dr Mohammed Eddama

Jajini Varghese

Ms Jajini Varghese

Muneer Ahmed

Mr Muneer Ahmed

Prof. Faiz Mumtaz

Prof. Faiz Mumtaz

Mr Reza Mirnezami

Mr Reza Mirnezami

Mr Massimo Varcada

Mr Massimo Varcada

Silhouette in a circle. In light grey.

Dr Bala Ramesh

Silhouette in a circle. In light grey.

Dr Hazel Welch

Silhouette in a circle. In light grey.

Dr Rijan Gurung

Honorary staff

Pilar Acedo

Dr Pilar Acedo Nunez

Rifat Hamoudi

Prof. Rifat Hamoudi

Cell under a microscope lens

Funding / Partnerships

Current research funding is drawn from the EPSRC, MRC, Innovate UK, British Council, NIHR (National Institute for Health Research), the Royal Society UK, and charitable sources.

We also work closely with industrial partners. An example of this is nanoparticle testing in experimental cancer models.

Select publications

  1. Neves JB, Warren H, Santiapillai J, Rode N, Cullen D, Pavlou M, Walkden M, Patki P, Barod R, Mumtaz F ... Gurusamy K, Emberton M, Bex A, Tran MGB (2023). Nephron Sparing Treatment (NEST) for Small Renal Masses: A Feasibility Cohort-embedded Randomised Controlled Trial Comparing Percutaneous Cryoablation and Robot-assisted Partial Nephrectomy. Eur Urol. 2023 S0302-2838(23)03012-9.

  2. Banerjee SM, Acedo P, El Sheikh S, Harati R, Meecham A, Williams NR, Gerard G, Keshtgar MRS, MacRobert AJ, Hamoudi R (2023). Combination of verteporfin-photodynamic therapy with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine enhances the anti-tumour immune response in triple negative breast cancer. Front Immunol. 2023 14:1188087.

  3. Hadi MM, Farrell S, Nesbitt H, ... MacRobert AJ, McHale JP, Nomikou N. et al. (2022). Nanotechnology-augmented sonodynamic therapy and associated immune-mediated effects for the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol.
  4. Eddama, M.M.R., Gurung, R., Fragkos, K., Lorgelly, P., Cohen, R., Loizidou, M., & Clapp, L. (2022). The role of microvesicles as biomarkers in the screening of colorectal neoplasm. Cancer Medicine.
  5. Nyga A., Stamati K., Hamoudi R., Tran M.G.B., Emberton M., Loizidou M., Cheema U., et al. Renal tumouroids: challenges of manufacturing 3D cultures from patient derived primary cells. J. Cell Commun. Signal. 2022.
  6. Hadi M.M., Sciscione F., Emberton M., MacRobert A., McHale A.P., Nomikou N., et al. Investigating the performance of a novel pH and cathepsin B sensitive, stimulus-responsive nanoparticle for optimised sonodynamic therapy in prostate cancer. J.Control Release. 2021 Jan 10;329:76-86.
  1. Stamati K., Neves J.B., Tran M.G., Emberton M, Cheema U, Loizidou M.J., et al. The anti-angiogenic tyrosine kinase inhibitor Pazopanib kills cancer cells and disrupts endothelial networks in biomimetic three-dimensional renal tumouroids. Tissue Eng. 2020 11:2041731420920597
  2. Hwang G.B., Huang H., Wu G., Shin J., Kafizas A., MacRobert A.J., et al. Photobactericidal activity activated by thiolated gold nanoclusters at low flux levels of white light. Nature Com. 2020 11(1):1207.
  3. Banerjee S.M., El-Sheikh S., Malhotra A., Mosse C.A., MacRobert A.J., Hamoudi R., et al. Photodynamic Therapy in Primary Breast Cancer. J Clin. Med. 2020 10;9(2):483.
  4. Gulamhusein A., Silva P., Cullen D., Tran M., Mumtaz F., Bex A., et al. Safety and feasibility of early single-dose mitomycin C bladder instillation after robot-assisted radical nephroureterectomy. BJU Int. 2020.
  5. Owusu EGA, MacRobert AJ, Naasani I, Parkin IP, Allan E, Yaghini E. Photoactivable polymers embedded with cadmium-free quantum dots and crystal violet: Efficient Bactericidal Activity against Clinical Strains of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. 2019 11(13):12367-12378.
  6. Azimi T, Loizidou M, Dwek MV. Cancer cells grown in 3D under fluid flow exhibit an aggressive phenotype and reduced responsiveness to the anti-cancer treatment doxorubicin. Sci Rep. 2020 21;10(1):12020.
  7. Neves JB, Cullen D, Grant L, Gurusamy K, Emberton M, Bex A, Tran MGB., et al. Protocol for a feasibility study of a cohort embedded randomised controlled trial comparing NEphron Sparing Treatment (NEST) for small renal masses. BMJ Open. 2019 11;9(6):e030965.

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