IRINA Project


Imaging molecolare di risonanza magnetica della biodistribuzione di nanoparticelle e vettori cellulari per applicazioni teranostiche


The main goal of the project is the characterization of nanoparticles and cellular carriers developed at IFAC and ICCOM by means of molecular bioimaging through magnetic resonance (BM-MRI).

Nowadays, it is possible to tailor the physiochemical features of these nanoparticles to a variety of biomedical applications. Such nanoparticles can deliver therapeutic and/or diagnostic elements either directly or indirectly via cellular vehicles (nanoparticles loaded inside cells that may be injected into a patient). However, both the biodistribution and the metabolism and/or excretion of these materials still remain problematic. For these reasons, there is a urgent need to improve the specificity of these nanoparticles and to develop new imaging tools to observe their functional and metabolic properties.

The goal of this project is the development of such an imaging tool by means of BM- MRI, which allows monitoring the spatial and temporal distribution of molecular, genetic and cellular processes. The images will convey functional and metabolic information at high spatiotemporal resolution.

This activity is embedded in the framework of other funded projects for the development of a variety of nanoparticles, namely, the EU projects LUS BUBBLE and NANODEM and the flagship project ENCODER.

We will develop phantoms in tissue equivalent materials containing nanoparticles or their cellular vehicles for characterization with clinical MRI. Meanwhile, we will be able to study the hyper-thermal effects induced by an optical activation of plasmonic nanoparticles.

Project IRINA is supported by "Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze"

IRINA CNR staff:

- Coordinator: Dr. Fulvio Ratto 

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- Partner: Dr. A. Giannetti, Dr. F. Baldini; Dr. S. Centi


IRINA project is in collaboration with:

- Dr. R. Carpi, SOC Radiologia, Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, USL Toscana Centro

- Dr. M. Olmastroni , SOC Radiologia, Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, USL Toscana Centro

- Dr. G. Zatelli, SOC Medical Physiscs, USL Toscana Centro

- Dr. M. Esposito, SOC Medical Physiscs, USL Toscana Centro


IRINA is part of activities on Clinical Biomolecular MRI, focusing on Cancer Theranostics.

In particular we are interested in Prostate cancer, focusing on Data Analysis, Computer Aided Diagnosis and Big data meta-analysis.