Parma 44.8015° N, 10.3279° W (CNR)
Trento 46.0748° N, 11.1217° W (CNR)
Pisa 43.7228° N, 10.4017° W (CNR)

Genova 44.4056° N, 8.9463° W (BeD)
Haifa 32.7940° N, 34.9896° W (Technion)
Budapest 47.4979° N, 19.0402° W (Wigner)
Stockholm 59.3293° N, 18.0686° W (KI)
Oxford 51.7520° N, 1.2577° W (QED)
Vigo 42.2406° N, 8.7207° W (uVigo)

What is Perseus?

PERSEUS is an EU-funded groundbreaking research project, devoted to the pursuit of a novel nanotechnology-based cancer therapy for deep-seated, clinically unmanageable, drug-resistant, and metastatic tumours.

At present, practical use of nanotechnology in clinical cancer care is still in its infancy – its full potential yet to be realised. PERSEUS aims to bridge this gap thanks to a novel therapy based on specially engineered nano-systems, made of multifunctional 2D layered nanocrystals. When activated by X rays, the nanosystems provide an effective multimodal therapy, with minimal or no adverse effects. This novel paradigm uses X-rays from common computed tomography (CT) scanners not to kill cancer cells directly, but to trigger and to image the nanosystems, which in turn locally give rise to non-mutagenic oncolytic mechanisms.

These therapeutic effects are the result of the conversion of low-energy CT X-rays into heat, reactive oxygen species, and radiosensitising agents. X-ray irradiation can also induce immunogenic cell death with the exposure or release of neo-antigens to trigger an anti-cancer immune response. The use of X-rays makes it possible to reach deep-seated tumours that are inaccessible by visible or near-infrared light-based therapies. In other words, CT radiation is the spark that lights the match. This is a radical vision for an ambitious and high-risk project.

PERSEUS targets a range of cancer types, including metastatic triple negative breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, colorectal cancer, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The nanosystems are biocompatible and also totally inactive in the absence of CT radiation: nanosystems only become active where the CT beam is delivered – hence minimising side effects at distal sites.

The therapy is agnostic to the type of cancer and to gender incidence, because it isn’t affected by the body’s biochemistry. This is a second change of paradigm. PERSEUS is pursued by a multidisciplinary team composed of physicists, chemists, chemical engineers, biologists, physicians, pharmacologists, and radiologists, all working together to develop an innovative nanotechnological approach to address unmet clinical needs.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science February 11th

International Day of Women and Girls in Science February 11th

2D Materials for Theranostics

2024 PERSEUS Workshop

part of
2024 MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit

Boston, USA, 1-6 December 2024


The Perseus Consortium

The Consortium, composed of world-leading experts across various disciplines, is designed to achieve project goals efficiently and maximise scientific and societal impact. The diverse, geographically widespread team brings together experts in chemistry, biology, pharmacology, medicine, material science, toxicology, clinical medicine, physics, and chemical engineering in order to safely develop a cutting-edge nanotechnology-based cancer treatment.

The team includes renowned scientific institutions, a novel, 2D-materials focused enterprise, BeD, and a dynamic media company, QED. Together, these institutions possess the interdisciplinary know-how and resources to achieve groundbreaking results.

Project Structure

The Workplan:
visual representation of the various interconnected project activities, which are grouped in six Work Packages.