The main concepts behind Perseus

2D materials

Materials that are two-dimensional, having a thickness of one or only a few atomic layers. They exhibit exceptional physical and chemical properties that differ significantly from their bulk counterparts. This is due to their extreme thinness, which changes the way their physics works: it is in fact a general feature of the natural world that the dimensionality of a system (3D, 2D, 1D) can radically affect how it behaves. Examples of 2D materials include graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), and bi-dimensional black phosphorus (2D BP). In Perseus, 2D materials are engineered for specific interactions with cancer cells when activated by external triggers, such as X rays from CT scanners.

Abscopal effect

A phenomenon in which localised treatment of a tumour leads to the regression of metastatic cancer cells at distant sites within the body that were not directly treated. This effect is of particular interest in radiation therapy and immunotherapy, suggesting that treating a single tumour site can stimulate an immune response against cancer cells throughout the body.


The ability of a material to perform with an appropriate host response in a specific application. The nanocrystals in Perseus are designed to be biocompatible and safe for human use.

Cancer agnosticism

The principle that the therapy is effective regardless of the cancer type or patient’s gender, aiming to be a universal treatment for various cancers, including metastatic and drug-resistant forms.

CT scanner
(Computed Tomography scanner)

A medical imaging device that uses computer-processed combinations of many X-ray images taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional (tomographic) images (virtual ‘slices’) of specific areas of a scanned object, allowing doctors to see inside the patient for diagnostic purposes. In the context of Perseus, CT scanners are used to activate the nanocrystals with X rays.

CT-specific activation

The property of the nanosystem to become active only in the presence of CT radiation, ensuring localised treatment and minimising systemic side effects.

Deep-seated tumours

Tumours located deep within the body, often difficult to reach and treat with conventional therapies. Perseus targets these tumours using CT-activated nanotechnology.


A spherical vesicle composed of one or more phospholipid bilayers, used in drug delivery systems to encapsulate therapeutic agents, improving their distribution in the body and their ability to reach the target site.

Multimodal Therapy

A therapeutic approach combining multiple treatment modalities. In this context, it refers to the simultaneous employment of heat generation, reactive oxygen species production, and radiosensitization by the activated nanocrystals.


Nanoscale crystalline particles that possess unique optical, electrical, and magnetic properties due to their size and shape. In Perseus, nanocrystals are engineered to be activated by CT-scanner X-rays for cancer therapy.


A complex assembly of nanoscale components designed to perform a specific biological or medical task. In the context of Perseus, it refers to the entire therapeutic system contained in a liposome; such nanosystems comprise multifunctional 2D nanoflakes functionalised with noble-metal nanoparticles and organic photosensitisers, working together for effective cancer treatment.

Nanotechnology-based cancer therapies

Innovative approaches utilising nanoscale materials and systems (1-100 nm) for the treatment of cancer. In the context of Perseus, this involves the application of multifunctional assemblies of 2D-layered nanocrystals.

Non-mutagenic oncotherapies

Cancer treatments that do not cause mutations in the DNA, thereby reducing the risk of secondary malignancies. Perseus focuses on such this aspect in order to minimise long-term adverse effects.


The process of lysing (breaking down) cancer cells.

Reactive oxygen species

Chemically reactive molecules containing oxygen. In cancer therapy, the generation of ROS can induce cell death in tumours. Nanosystems can be designed to produce ROS upon activation.


A combined term for therapy and diagnostics, referring to a strategy in medicine, especially in cancer treatment, whereby a single agent or system can both diagnose the presence of a disease and deliver targeted therapy based on the diagnostic information.


A form of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength of 10 nanometres or lower (corresponding to photon energies higher than 0.1 KeV), generally used in medicine to view the interior of the body. Very high energy X-rays (> 1 MeV) can also be used to treat tumours directly (radiotherapy). In the context of Perseus, lower-energy X-rays (< 100 KeV) are used to activate the nanosystems for therapeutic purposes.