Universiteit Leiden

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MCBIM Colloquium: Development of ultrasmall nanoparticles for radiotherapy guided by MRI

  • Dr. François Lux (Claude Bernard University)
Tuesday 2 May 2017
Gorlaeus Building
Einsteinweg 55
2333 CC Leiden

Due to their fast renal elimination, the interest for ultrasmall nanoparticles (size < 5 nm) is rapidly growing1. The Institute of Light and Matter and NH TherAguix company have developed such type of nanoparticles based on gadolinium (AGuIX) to be used as radiosensitizers2. AGuIX nanoparticles are now synthesized in cGMP conditions and have demonstrated their therapeutic potential in vivo on different tumor models: 9L Glioma bearing rats3, B16F10 melanoma brain metastases4, lung tumors bearing rats5, head and neck cancer6, pancreatic cancer7. The uptake of the nanoparticles in the tumor can be monitored by MRI and the best moment for irradiation can be determined, giving access to personalized treatment.

Toxicity tests on the AGuIX nanoparticles have been performed on two different animal species (rodents and non-human primates) and no evidence of toxicity has been shown. In 2016, ANSM (French regulatory agency) gave approval for a first clinical trial for the treatment of brain metastases by radiotherapy in association with AGuIX nanoparticles in CHU Grenoble. For the moment, 7 patients have been treated and a good tolerance of the association of AGuIX with irradiation has been observed. For all the patients of the first dose a clinical benefit has been shown.


  1. K. Zarschler et al., Nanomedicine: NBM, 2016
  2. L. Sancey et al., Br. J. Radiology, 2014
  3. C. Verry et al., Nanomedicine, 2016
  4. S. Kotb et al., Theranostics, 2016
  5. S. Dufort et al., Small, 2015
  6. I. Miladi et al., Nanomedicine: NBM, 2015
  7. A. Detappe et al., Sci. Rep., 2016


Dr. François Lux is 37 years old, and an alumnus from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon. Since 2009, he works at Institute of Light and Matter in Lyon, France, as associate professor. His main interest is the development of nanoparticles for biological applications. He is co-inventor of AGuIX nanoparticles patented in 2010 (FR 10 53389) and accepted by regulatory French agency (ANSM) in May 2016 for a phase I clinical trial on the treatment of brain metastases by radiotherapy. He was the coordinator of several ANR projects, for example on administering the AGuIX nanoparticles via the airways. He is a member of two European COST actions (TD1004 and D38) and of one ITN project (ARGENT) on theranostic compounds, and co-organizes since 2010 the congress “Nanohybrids” in Southern France.
He has authored 72 papers, 7 patents, and 4 book chapters. He is co-founder of the NH TherAguix nanomedicine company.

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