Alt Group - NanoTheranostics

Alt group
2022 Alt group L-R Ms Edwina Jap, Dr Karen Alt, Ms Jurie Tashkandi, Mr Nathan Luu, Ms Rania Hashad

Group Leader

Key terms

Theranostics, Molecular Imaging, Bioconjugation, Antibody Technology, Personalised Medicine

Research Goal

Our key objective is to develop imaging techniques to better understand the underlying mechanisms of different disease progression and the impact of targeted therapies.

Dr Karen Alt and Dr Robert Brkljaca explain the new Magnetic Particle Imaging facility. See video

Research Overview

Theranostics is an emerging medical field, which combines diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities within one single agent for more specific, individualised therapies for various diseases. Recent advances in nanoscience provide opportunities to design and combine three aspects: targeting, diagnosis and therapy within one nanoparticle for a more personalised treatment.

Our research uses a multidisciplinary approach, developing novel theranostics to characterise and treat cancer and inflammatory disorders. Using targeted drug loaded nanoparticles to deliver therapies to pathological sites holds a lot of promise:

  • Improve patient treatment efficiency with less adverse effects than treatments that are currently available;
  • Incorporating a targeting biomolecule, such as an antibody or peptide, allows for delivery of a large drug payload with high precision and the ability to distinguish between healthy and diseased tissue; and
  • Imaging functionality can be used to detect diseases at an early, potentially curable stage, help identify patients likely to respond to certain treatments and predict responses to specific therapies.

Projects and Opportunities

  • Novel targeted PEG nanoparticles for cancer treatment and monitoring
  • Novel targeted radiopharmaceuticals for personalised therapy and real-time monitoring


Our work is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Selected Publications

See Karen’s recent publications at Pubmed.

  • Y. Dai, J. Guo, T.Y. Wang, Y. Ju, A.J.  Mitchell, T. Bonnard, J. Cui, J.J. Richardson, C.E. Hagemeyer, K. Alt*, F. Caruso* “Self-Assembled Nanoparticles from Phenolic Derivatives for Cancer Therapy. “
    Adv Healthc Mater. 2017
  • M. Ziegler*, K. Alt*, BM Paterson, P. Kanellakis, A. Bobik, P.S. Donnelly, C.E. Hagemeyer, K. Peter “Highly Sensitive Detection of Minimal Cardiac Ischemia using Positron Emission Tomography Imaging of Activated Platelets.”
    Sci Rep. 2016;6:38161
  • K. Alt*, B.M. Paterson*, E. Westein, S.E. Rudd, S.S. Poniger, S. Jagdale, K. Ardipradja, T.U. Connell, G.Y. Krippner, A.K. Nair, X. Wang, H.J. Tochon-Danguy, P.S. Donnelly, K. Peter, C.E. Hagemeyer “A Versatile Approach for the Site-Specific Modification of Recombinant Antibodies Using a Combination of Enzyme-Mediated Bioconjugation and Click Chemistry.”
    Angew Chem Int Ed. 2015;54:7515-9
  • C. E. Hagemeyer*, K. Alt*, A. P. R. Johnston*, G. K. Such, H. T. Ta, M. K. M. Leung, S. Prabhu, X. Wang, F. Caruso, K. Peter  “Particle Generation, Functionalization and Sortase A-mediated Modification with Targeting Antibodies for Diagnostic and Therapeutic Use”
    Nat Prot. 2015;10:90-105.
  • K. Alt*, B.M. Paterson*, K. Ardipradja, C.  Schieber, G. Buncic,  B. Lim, S.S. Poniger, B. Jakoby, X. Wang , G.J. O'Keefe, H.J. Tochon-Danguy, A.M. Scott, U. Ackerman, K. Peter, P.S. Donnelly, C.E. Hagemeyer  “A Single-chain Antibody Conjugated to a Cage Amine Chelator and Labelled with Positron-Emitting Copper-64 for Diagnostic Imaging of Activated Platelets “
    Mol Pharm. 2014;11:2855-63.
  • B. M. Paterson*, K. Alt*, C. M. Jeffery, R.I. Price, S. Jagdale, S. Rigby, C. C. Williams, K. Peter, C. E. Hagemeyer, and P. S. Donnelly  “Enzyme-mediated Site-specific Bioconjugation of Metal Complexes to Proteins”
    Angew Chem Int Ed. 2014;53:6115-9.

*Equally contributed

Recent publications