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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral thesis on porous nanomaterial-based drug delivery systems for precision cancer therapy

Wenhui Zhou.
Wenhui Zhou

M.Med. Wenhui Zhou’s doctoral thesis in Drug Development will be put forth for public defence at the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled Development of Novel Porous Nanomaterial-Based Drug Delivery Systems for Precision Cancer Treatment.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 3 May 2024 at 1.15 PM at the Argentum auditorium, the Aurum building, Henrikinkatu 2, Turku. Professor Karsten Haupt, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France will serve as opponent and Professor Hongbo Zhang, Åbo Akademi University, as custos. You can also follow the defence online.


Precision cancer therapy is increasingly recognized as a pivotal frontier in oncology, characterized by its personalized approach and superior efficacy. This doctoral dissertation examines the role of multifunctional medical nanomaterials, which are instrumental in advancing precision cancer treatments. It specifically focuses on novel porous nanomaterial-based drug delivery systems, including mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNs) and metal-organic framework nanoparticles (MOFs), for their applications in precision oncology.

The dissertation commences with an extensive review of the cutting-edge applications and research developments concerning MSNs and MOFs in cancer therapy. It encapsulates the most recent achievements and evolving trends within this area. Building on this groundwork, the thesis investigates novel applications and the potential of MSNs and MOFs through detailed structural design and comprehensive experimental analyses, culminating in significant research outcomes. In particular, the study highlights the smart synthesis methods and surface modifications of gold nanorod-coated mesoporous silica nanoparticles (Au@MSNs) and MOFs. These modifications have enabled the creation of versatile nanosystems that integrate chemotherapy, photothermal therapy, and photodynamic therapy. Employing microfluidic technology, the research successfully encapsulates Au@MSNs and MOFs with small molecule drugs into GelMA hydrogel microspheres. These microspheres can be administered directly into tumors, providing sustained drug release and potent anti-tumor activity against breast and ovarian cancers. Additionally, the thesis explores zinc ion-based MOFs modifications that enhance the intracellular delivery of nucleic acids and facilitate penetration through the blood-brain barrier.

This comprehensive body of work spans the design, synthesis, and analytical evaluation of MSNs and MOFs, alongside in vitro and in vivo assessments. It delves into the underlying mechanisms and future potential of these nanomaterials in precision cancer therapy. Overall, the dissertation significantly advances the application of porous nanomaterials in precision cancer therapy, revitalizing the field of nanomedicine and broadening the horizons for future cancer treatment modalities.

Wenhui Zhou was born in 1991 in Shiyan, China. He can be reached by phone +358 44 921 9219 or email wenhui.zhou@abo.fi.

The doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive.

Click here for a press photo of the doctoral student.

Instructions for following the doctoral defence remotely:

To follow the defence, you need the Zoom software or the Google Chrome browser. You do not need to create a Zoom account to follow the defence. If you install the application, you participate by clicking on the meeting link, after which you should allow the link to open in the Zoom app.