Sophia Gu

School of Chemical Engineering, UNSW, Australia


Bioactive Nanoparticles Based Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment


Distinct metabolism of tumours results in various tumour microenvironmental characteristics which distinguish them from normal tissues and thus provide characteristic physicochemical conditions for selective cancer therapy. This talk presents the tumour-selective diagnosis and treatment strategies by developing bioactive and biodegradable layered double hydroxide (LDH) nanoparticles. In the first part, I will present a manganese-containing LDH as magnetic resonance imaging contrast agent that sensitively responds to a very weakly acidic environment (pH 6.5–7.0, i.e., the pH range in a tumour microenvironment) for accurate tumour imaging. The second part of my talk will introduce a new concept of catalytic cancer therapy demonstrated by a PEGylated monolayer LDH nanosheet. These catalyst nanosheet consist of polyethylene glycol and ferrous ions towards enhanced aqueous dispersity, high biological-catalytic activity and tumor specificity. In vitro and in vivo evaluations have demonstrated that the 2D hydroxide nanosheet can serve as an efficacious catalyst nanodrug to realize high therapeutic efficiency in tumours while exhibit desired biocompatibility in normal tissues.

Dr. Zi (Sophia) Gu is a NHMRC research fellow and lecturer at the School of Chemical Engineering UNSW, and a member of Australian Centre for NanoMedicine. She is currently leading a nanomedicine research group of 7 PhD students at UNSW. Her expertise includes drug delivery, theranostic nanomedicine, molecular bio-imaging, and nanoparticle synthesis and characterisations. Over 10 years, Sophia has developed several nanoparticle platforms for disease diagnosis and treatment, published 40 referred papers on Advanced Materials, Advanced Science, Materials Today, Biomaterials, etc., and honoured with over 10 national and international awards.