In particular, the goal of the project entitled "Novel Composites based on Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles and Carbon Enterosorbents for Acute Radiation Sickness" is to synthesise cerium oxide nanoparticles and activated carbon materials for the treatment of oxidative stress generated when a human being is exposed to radiation. This aspect is very important in countries of the former Soviet Union where the population remained in contact with high doses of radiation due to the Chernobyl disaster and the nuclear tests that were carried out in these territories. According to University of Alicante researcher Joaquín Silvestre, this research can be extrapolated to both the population exposed to a nuclear disaster and the radiation received during cancer treatment. The idea is that these nanoparticles and activated carbon nanomaterials minimise the damage caused by oxidative stress by adsorbing the radical species responsible for it, as the expert from the UA Department of Inorganic Chemistry explained.
Led by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (Portugal), the consortium includes researchers from the University of Alicante, the Vernadskii Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry (Ukraine); the Kavetskii Institute of Experimental Pathology, Oncology and Radiology, also from Ukraine, and the Institute of Experimental Physics from Slovakia.
Over the next three years, project members will design and test new nanocomposites and work on a new drug ready to be tested in pre-clinical trials. From the UA, Silvestre explained that they will prepare the cerium oxide nanoparticles and activated carbon materials. In addition, they will participate in the deposition of the nanoparticles on the carbon to make mixed systems. Subsequently, the textural and chemical characterization of the materials will be carried out and finally, they will be sent to Ukraine where they will be evaluated for treatment in mice and their biocompatibility, a key aspect of the project.
The UA Department of Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory of Advanced Materials has more than 30 years of experience in the design of carbon materials for a wide range of applications, from adsorption and separation of gases to drug release. Additionally, since 2018, the same research group have led NanoMed, a project for the treatment of diseases caused by radioactive contaminants that ends next year.