Porphysome Nanomedicine Platform

The first recipient  of the IAF’s inaugural call was Dr. Gang Zheng, a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre as well as Core Lead, Techna Institute and also Professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Zheng was awarded $250,000 from the IAF for his creation of a novel multi‐modal imaging agent bridging the gap between pre- and intraoperative phases by acting as an imaging agent for both cancer diagnosis as well as image‐guided surgery; the agent therefore aids in both a precise diagnosis while also enhancing the accuracy of tumor surgery intra-operatively.

This technology is based off of his discovery of a new type of microbubble compound called porphyrin, a naturally occurring pigment in nature that harvests light.  These porphyrin microbubbles, termed Porphysomes, are special because they are fully organic and naturally multifunctional, with capabilities to treat, image, and deliver different drugs to specific disease sites; i.e., they can be both diagnostic, therapeutic and “theranostic” (both therapeutic and diagnostic simultaneously).

The award from the IAF will allow Dr. Zheng to enable the scale up and toxicity testing required to address regulatory requirements before advancing to first‐in‐human and Phase I studies.

“There are many nanoparticles out there, but this one is the complete package,” said Zheng, “a kind of one-stop shopping for various types of cancer imaging and treatment options that can now be mixed and matched in ways previously unimaginable. The unprecedented safety of this nanoparticle in the body is the icing on the cake. We are excited by the possibilities for its use in the clinic.”