Clinical Challenges

There are 650 K new cases of head and neck cancer worldwide every year. These cancers are difficult to treat aggressively because of their anatomic location, with tumor recurrence as one of the leading causes of death. It is difficult for surgeons to remove these tumors and the currently available chemotherapies are toxic and lack efficacy.

Nanoparticles to Treat Inaccessible Tumors

Theranostec has developed a novel, nanoparticle treatment platform allowing for targeted and effective chemotherapy, that can be enhanced with phototherapy, while also lowering toxicity. Theranostec’s nanoparticles have a unique trigger mechanism releasing the active compound only in the presence of the tumor, dramatically reducing toxicity and widening the therapeutic window. In addition, the photoactive components can be activated by targeted laser phototherapy to amplify the therapeutic’s effectiveness and as a potential intraoperative diagnostic.  This therapeutic and diagnostic combination provides more surgical accuracy, phototherapy to address surgical margins, and on-going post-surgical chemotherapy. This technology has enormous potential to improve the improvement of head and neck cancer, bladder cancer, brain tumor, brain tumor, and ovarian cancer.


TheraPhD nanoparticle technology is currently under patent US2018/037895, WO2018232334A1, EU18818520.1, AU2018283383A, CN110996963A …


  1. Xiao et al, Trojan Horse nanotheranostics with dual transformability and multifunctionality for highly effective cancer treatment. Nature Communications 9, Article number: 3653 (2018)
  2. Yu et al, Advanced Therapeutics. Self‐Assembled Nanoparticle‐Mediated Chemophototherapy Reverses the Drug Resistance of Bladder Cancers through Dual AKT/ERK Inhibition. Advanced Therapeutics Article number: 2000032 (2020)



  • Received SBIR Phase I grant to optimize activity/stability and evaluate the diagnostic and therapeutic activity in vivo ($300k).
  • Recently received $3M research funding through our lab to develop our approach in companion animals.