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Biodegradable nanoparticles slip through mucus

§ July 6th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Biodegradable nanoparticles slip through mucus

(Phys.org) -- Researchers at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) have created biodegradable, ultra tiny, nanosized particles that can easily slip through the body's sticky and viscous mucus secretions to deliver a sustained-release medication cargo. The interdisciplinary team of researchers, led by Justin Hanes of the JHU Center for Nanomedicine, developed the nanoparticles so that they not only penetrate mucus but degrade over time into harmless components. The team believes these nanoparticles have potential for delivering chemotherapeutic agents to tumors in mucus-coated tissues such as the lung and cervix.

Reporting its work in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the Johns Hopkins team describes its development of a mucus-penetrating nanoparticle for achieving vaginal delivery of a drug that could prevent herpes simplex virus infection. However, the authors note that the same design principles would apply to a nanoparticle that would deliver anticancer agents to cervical tumors or cut through the mucus in the lungs.

The new biodegradable particles are made of two polymers routinely used in existing medications: poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), known as PLGA, and poly(ethylene glycol), commonly called PEG. An inner core traps therapeutic agents inside the nanoparticle, while a dense outer coating allows a particle to move through mucus nearly as easily as if it were moving through water and permits the drug to remain in contact with affected tissues for an extended period of time. Tests in mice showed that these mucus-penetrating nanoparticles were able to uniformly coat the vaginal tissue, penetrat through mucus to reach the vaginal folds within minutes, and remain in the target tissue for 24 hours. In contrast, conventional nanoparticles were aggregated and did not distribute along the vaginal tissue uniformly, remained trapped in the mucosal layer, and were unable to reach the tissue below.

"The major advance here is that we were able make biodegradable nanoparticles that can rapidly penetrate thick and sticky mucus secretions, and that these particles can transport a wide range of therapeutic molecules, from small molecules, such as chemotherapeutics and steroids, to macromolecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids," said Dr. Hanes, who is also a member of the Johns Hopkins Center for Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence. "Previously, we could not get these kinds of sustained-release treatments through the body's sticky mucus layers effectively."

This work, which was funded in part by the National Cancer Institute, is detailed in a paper titled, "Mucus-penetrating nanoparticles for vaginal drug delivery protect against herpes simplex virus." An abstract of this paper is available at the journal's website.

Journal reference: Science Translational Medicine

Provided by National Cancer Institute

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Australian Nanomedicine Conference Targets Radical Diseases

§ July 6th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Australian Nanomedicine Conference Targets Radical Diseases

SYDNEY Researchers in Australia say microscopic robots could soon be swimming around our bloodstream repairing cells and diagnosing diseases. Drugs with improved therapeutic properties that can target affected parts of the body without damaging surrounding tissue have been the focus of an international nanomedicine conference in Australia.

The conference, organized by the University of New South Wales in Sydney, has brought together academics and clinicians from 16 countries, including the United States, Britain and Australia.

They have highlighted research into targeted drug delivery systems, diagnostics and regenerative therapies, all enabled by nanomedicine.

It is the building of tiny machines to help combat disease. It is a field of research that works at a very small scale. A nanometer is equivalent to one-billionth of a meter or the size of a single strand of DNA.

"I see enormous potential in this technology to be able to deliver drugs or deliver gene-silencing tools to target cancer-causing genes in tumor cells, so where we can load up this payload on our little trucks . . . [and] deliver specifically to the tumor cells and spare the normal cells," said Maria Kavallaris, from the Australia Center for Nanomedicine, one of the conference organizers.

Scientists say nanomedicine could transform the way we understand and treat HIV, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia and diabetes. Patrick Boisseau from the French Atomic Energy Commission believes that cancer therapies will also become far more effective:

"I really believe that some nanotechnologies will help for the early detection of cancer. Nanotechnologies will have an impact on cancer [and] inflammatory diseases," Boisseau noted. "The benefits for the patients are really this targeted delivery. So it means we expect to have much less side-effects, so the quality of life of the patient will be much better."

In basic terms, nano-sized particles or beads are loaded with proteins, which are organic compounds that are vital to human health. This creates a coded message that researchers believe will repair damaged cells or help "switch off" certain genes linked to various diseases.

Graham Wallace, a professor at the University of Wollongong, is developing microscopic robots that could help fight disease inside the body. Nanorobots with wireless transmitters could circulate in the bloodstream to monitor chemical imbalances. Wallace says his research will have other uses:

"In the medical bionics area we have some targeted applications. One is building better electrodes for cochlear ear implants - the bionic ear, for example," Wallace explained. "So these particular nano-structured materials have to interface better with nerve cells or more effectively with nerve cells. We work with the other clinicians to develop conduits, which will be used as implants for nerve and muscle regeneration, for example. Again, using electrical stimulation of nanomaterials to effectively achieve that."

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Research and Markets: Adverse Effects of Engineered Nanomaterials: Exposure, Toxicology, and Impact on Human Health

§ July 3rd, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Research and Markets: Adverse Effects of Engineered Nanomaterials: Exposure, Toxicology, and Impact on Human Health

DUBLIN--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/zl237z/adverse_effects_of) has announced the addition of Elsevier Science and Technology's new report "Adverse Effects of Engineered Nanomaterials. Exposure, Toxicology, and Impact on Human Health" to their offering.

Adverse Effects of Engineered Nanoparticles: A Disease-Oriented Approach provides a systematic evaluation of representative engineered nanomaterial (ENM) of high volume production and of high economic importance. Each class of nanomaterials discussed includes information on what scientists, industry, regulatory agencies and the general public need to know about nanosafety. This book, written by leading international experts in nanotoxicology and nanomedicine, gives a comprehensive view of the health impact of ENM, focusing on their potential adverse effects in exposed workers, consumers and patients. The beneficial applications, both diagnostic and therapeutic, of ENM are also highlighted. This book fills an important need in terms of bridging the gap between experimental findings and human exposure to ENM, and the clinical and pathological consequences of such exposure in the human population.

Key Features

- Multi-authored book written by leading US and European experts on nanotoxicology and nanomedicine

- Discusses the health implications and a clinical translation of experimental data in this area

- Takes a schematic, non-exhaustive approach to summarize the most important research data in this field

- Includes a glossary, with a brief explanation of the term and with a reference to where the term or phrase has been used will be included within the book

Authors

- Fadeel, Bengt.

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PRESS RELEASE: Magforce announces financial results 2011

§ July 2nd, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on PRESS RELEASE: Magforce announces financial results 2011

MagForce AG / Magforce announces financial results 2011 . Processed and transmitted by Thomson Reuters ONE. The issuer is solely responsible for the content of this announcement.

* Laying significant foundations for marketing the NanoTherm therapy * Completed installation of first treatment center at Charit in Berlin, Germany * Establishing network of medical key opinion leaders * Initial development cooperation with Mayo Clinic, USA, and distribution partnerships with DELRUS and Tek Grup (after the end of the reporting period) * Corporate restructuring program to significantly reduce operating expenses * Secured financing till mid-2013

Berlin, Germany, July 02, 2012 - MagForce AG (Frankfurt, XETRA: MF6), a leading medical device company in the field of nanomedicine with a focus on oncology, announced today the financial results for the fiscal year 2011 ending December 31, 2011.

Dr. Andreas Jordan commented: "2011 was a year full of major challenges for MagForce. The chosen route to market NanoTherm therapy turned out to be less successful than initially expected. We have therefore redefined our strategy and started to lay the foundations for medical community acceptance and the future commercialization of NanoTherm therapy in order to further develop the company. A new trial, which is expected to start in early 2013, will validate the benefits of NanoTherm therapy. Building confidence among leading medical experts and possible strategic partners in the therapeutic potential of our technology is of major importance.Together with strategic and distribution partners, the Company will pursue further international approvals. In spring 2012, we have been reporting first progress in this regard."

After realizing the likely failure of its earlier marketing strategy, MagForce corrected the route to market for the NanoTherm therapy in a determined way. The resulting tasks will now be systematically handled by a new management team in accordance with the redefined clinical and commercial strategy. MagForce has introduced the necessary steps for establishing an extensive network of medical key opinion leaders in oncology and involving them in the further development of the technology. By convincing the leading neuro-surgeons, neuro-oncologists and radiotherapists it is expected to increase the acceptance of MagForce's technology. Additionally, the course for new scientific and commercial collaborations, the first of which were signed mid-2012, has already begun.

Results of Operations, Net Assets, and Financial Position During the reporting period 2011, the first sales of NanoTherm therapy in the amount of TEUR 41 (previous year TEUR 0) were achieved. Net loss for the year of TEUR 8,588 (previous year TEUR 7,447) incurred during the reporting period was mainly due to increased operating expenses of TEUR 7,022 (previous year TEUR 6,464). The increase in operating expenses primarily resulted from an increase in personnel costs. This increase was mostly reversed in the second half of 2011.

The net loss was offset by income from capital increases. In 2011, the equity capital of the Company was increased from TEUR 3,917 to TEUR 4,127 by issuing new shares in return for cash contributions. Furthermore, subordination agreements were concluded with the major shareholders for the loans granted by them in the amount of TEUR 15.171. The Company also received new loans from its principal shareholder Nanostart for financing its operational activities.

Cash flow from operating activities decreased to TEUR -4,537, (previous year TEUR -5,353). Cash flow from investing activities was TEUR -1,258 (previous year TEUR -876), and cash flow from financing activities was TEUR 4,816 (previous year TEUR 6,488). As of the balance sheet date, December 31, 2012, the Company had available liquid assets totalling TEUR 14.

MagForce continues to be over-indebted as a result of the net loss for the fiscal year. However, the Company has been able to prepare a positive forecast for the successful continuation of its business. In terms of capitalization, MagForce laid the necessary foundations to secure the financing until mid-2013. The Company's major shareholder continues to back MagForce, unreservedly.

Outlook 2012 In line with the new strategy, the Company is focusing its operational activities on further validation of its technology and joint marketing with strategic partners and distributors in 2012. In cooperation with medical key opinion leaders, MagForce has designed a trial protocol for patients diagnosed with glioblastoma in order to provide further evidence for the benefits of NanoTherm therapy. The preparation for this study is expected to be completed in the second half this year. This trial will supplement the previous studies, which led to the approval of NanoTherm therapy, and will take into account the guidelines and requirements for the development of therapeutics that will complement the approval of NanoTherm therapy as a medical device. In 2012, the Company expects a slight loss reduction compared to the previous year due to the restructuring program initiated in 2011 and planned cost-cutting activities. Not included in this assumption is a licencing agreement with a strategic partner, as expected under the new strategy.

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Magforce announces financial results 2011

§ July 2nd, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Magforce announces financial results 2011

Laying significant foundations for marketing the NanoTherm therapy Completed installation of first treatment center at Charit in Berlin, Germany Establishing network of medical key opinion leaders Initial development cooperation with Mayo Clinic, USA, and distribution partnerships with DELRUS and Tek Grup (after the end of the reporting period) Corporate restructuring program to significantly reduce operating expenses Secured financing till mid-2013

Berlin, Germany, July 02, 2012 - MagForce AG (Frankfurt, XETRA: MF6), a leading medical device company in the field of nanomedicine with a focus on oncology, announced today the financial results for the fiscal year 2011 ending December 31, 2011.

Dr. Andreas Jordan commented: "2011 was a year full of major challenges for MagForce. The chosen route to market NanoTherm therapy turned out to be less successful than initially expected. We have therefore redefined our strategy and started to lay the foundations for medical community acceptance and the future commercialization of NanoTherm therapy in order to further develop the company. A new trial, which is expected to start in early 2013, will validate the benefits of NanoTherm therapy. Building confidence among leading medical experts and possible strategic partners in the therapeutic potential of our technology is of major importance.Together with strategic and distribution partners, the Company will pursue further international approvals. In spring 2012, we have been reporting first progress in this regard."

After realizing the likely failure of its earlier marketing strategy, MagForce corrected the route to market for the NanoTherm therapy in a determined way. The resulting tasks will now be systematically handled by a new management team in accordance with the redefined clinical and commercial strategy. MagForce has introduced the necessary steps for establishing an extensive network of medical key opinion leaders in oncology and involving them in the further development of the technology. By convincing the leading neuro-surgeons, neuro-oncologists and radiotherapists it is expected to increase the acceptance of MagForce`s technology. Additionally, the course for new scientific and commercial collaborations, the first of which were signed mid-2012, has already begun.

Results of Operations, Net Assets, and Financial Position During the reporting period 2011, the first sales of NanoTherm therapy in the amount of TEUR 41 (previous year TEUR 0) were achieved. Net loss for the year of TEUR 8,588 (previous year TEUR 7,447) incurred during the reporting period was mainly due to increased operating expenses of TEUR 7,022 (previous year TEUR 6,464). The increase in operating expenses primarily resulted from an increase in personnel costs. This increase was mostly reversed in the second half of 2011.

The net loss was offset by income from capital increases. In 2011, the equity capital of the Company was increased from TEUR 3,917 to TEUR 4,127 by issuing new shares in return for cash contributions. Furthermore, subordination agreements were concluded with the major shareholders for the loans granted by them in the amount of TEUR 15.171. The Company also received new loans from its principal shareholder Nanostart for financing its operational activities.

Cash flow from operating activities decreased to TEUR -4,537, (previous year TEUR -5,353). Cash flow from investing activities was TEUR -1,258 (previous year TEUR -876), and cash flow from financing activities was TEUR 4,816 (previous year TEUR 6,488). As of the balance sheet date, December 31, 2012, the Company had available liquid assets totalling TEUR 14.

MagForce continues to be over-indebted as a result of the net loss for the fiscal year. However, the Company has been able to prepare a positive forecast for the successful continuation of its business. In terms of capitalization, MagForce laid the necessary foundations to secure the financing until mid-2013. The Company`s major shareholder continues to back MagForce, unreservedly.

Outlook 2012 In line with the new strategy, the Company is focusing its operational activities on further validation of its technology and joint marketing with strategic partners and distributors in 2012. In cooperation with medical key opinion leaders, MagForce has designed a trial protocol for patients diagnosed with glioblastoma in order to provide further evidence for the benefits of NanoTherm therapy. The preparation for this study is expected to be completed in the second half this year. This trial will supplement the previous studies, which led to the approval of NanoTherm therapy, and will take into account the guidelines and requirements for the development of therapeutics that will complement the approval of NanoTherm therapy as a medical device. In 2012, the Company expects a slight loss reduction compared to the previous year due to the restructuring program initiated in 2011 and planned cost-cutting activities. Not included in this assumption is a licencing agreement with a strategic partner, as expected under the new strategy.

To finance its operational activities, the Company plans further capital measures in 2012. In the first half of 2012 a total of TEUR 4,450 was raised.

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Fibrous Protein Nanocomposites Conference

§ June 29th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Fibrous Protein Nanocomposites Conference

Public release date: 28-Jun-2012 [ | E-mail | Share ]

Contact: Kevin Korpics kevin@engconfintl.org Engineering Conferences International

This multidisciplinary conference on "Fibrous Protein Nanocomposites for Tailored Hybrid Biostructures and Devices" will address the state of the art in the design, synthesis and characterization of hybrid bio-nano- materials and devices for electronic and nanomedicine applications.

The conference will be held in the island of Crete, a renowned destination since the antiquity situated at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Sea, exposed to the diverse cultures of three continents. In a metaphorical manner, the conference aims at exposing the audience to several different disciplines (materials science, biology and engineering) focusing on various aspects of fibrous nanocomposites.

Conference Focus

Fibrous nanostructured objects such as polymer /composite electrospun mats, carbon nanotubes, and protein-based nanofibers and nanotubes recently attracted much interest for their integration in future generations of micro and nano devices with promising industrial applications. Carbon nanotubes have been the subject of the most intense investigation; however, they present limitations due to their extreme conditions of manufacturing and their production cost. Protein and peptide-based-nanofibers present an attractive alternative since they can assemble under mild conditions, they can be considerably less expensive to manufacture, and are more easily configurable, i.e. they allow the attachment or engineering of additional functionalities. Protein nanofibers that are resistant to extreme conditions are the most suitable candidates, since they can be easily interfaced with the world of "hard materials".

Electrospun nanofibers of hybrid materials are a class of bio-nano-composites that also allow for versatile design, ease of manufacturing, and diversity of applications in a complementary fashion. Both the nanoelectronics and nanomedicine fields will eventually require the integration of protein nanofibers-based design and manufacturing (e.g., nanocircuitry templating, protein structures such as those binding bone to collagen in tissue scaffolding, etc.) and electrospun nanofiber-based synthesis and processing (active components in sensing, actuation, nanocues in templating, drug delivery systems, etc.). Engineered proteins, discriminating biosensing, and nanowire electrodes are some of the key themes of the conference; their integration is expected to lead to advanced disease monitoring tools and active scaffolds in tissue engineering. The hybrid and/or multilayered fibrous biological materials may find applications as 3D structuring templates in nanoelectronics and tissue/organ scaffolding, and as active components of theragnostics and power systems.

Preliminary Conference Outline

Designer self-assembling peptide materials Natural and designed protein materials Various properties of peptide materials Peptide and protein scaffolds in tissue regeneration and tissue engineering Hybrid and composite peptide/inorganic materials and applications Manufacturing / biofabrication Theoretical studies and multi-scale modeling Plenary Speaker Ehud Gazit, Tel-Aviv University

Confirmed Invited Speakers (May 17, 2012) Georgios Archontis, University of Cyprus, Cyprus Nurit Ashkenasy, Ben Gurion University, Israel Alexander Bittner, CIC Nanogune, Spain Maria Farsari, IESL/FORTH, Greece Mustafa Guler, Bilkent University, Turkey, Stavros Hamodrakas, University of Athens, Greece Charlotte Hauser, IBN Singapore Zhanglin Lin, Tsingua University, China Markus Linder, VTT Finland Maite Paternostre, Saclay, France Darrin Pochan, University of Delaware, USA, Alberto Saiani, University of Manchester, UK Thomas Scheibel, University Of Bayreuth, Germany Candan Tamerler, University of Washington, USA Tell Tuttle, University of Strathclyde, UK Takafumi Ueno, Tokyo Istitute of Technology, Japan Antonio Villaverde, Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona, Spain, Salvador Ventura, Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona, Spain Senior post-doc from Dek Woolfson Lab, University of Bristol, UK

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UNLV nanotechnology camp aims to cultivate next generation of engineers

§ June 27th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on UNLV nanotechnology camp aims to cultivate next generation of engineers

UNLV Photo

Seventeen Clark County high school students attended a hands-on, four-day nanotechnology camp at UNLV. Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Its cutting-edge applications can be seen in everything from computers to machinery to building materials to medicines tofood.

By Lauren Ruvo (contact)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | 2 a.m.

Camp last week for a small group of Clark County high school students didnt include swimming, hiking or any of the usual recreation activities associated with summer.

But then, these students werent attending a traditional summer camp.

Instead, they were participating in a nanotechnology camp at UNLV. Nanotechnology is the study of manipulating matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Its cutting-edge applications can be seen in everything from computers to machinery, building materials to medicines and food.

The camp attracted 17 students, who attended lectures on various topics related to nanotechnology. Hui Zhao, a UNLV assistant professor of mechanical engineering, said enrollment in the camp was kept relatively low by design to allow the students to take a more hands-on approach. Once the opening day of lectures was finished, camp sessions were devoted to applying the lecture material in a laboratory setting.

Among other projects, campers made nano solar cells that generated electricity, Zhoa said.

UNLV sponsored the camp as part of a grant it received to broaden interests of high school students so that they are more likely to pursue the study of science and engineering in college.

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MagForce enters into preclinical research agreement to investigate NanoTherm® therapy in the gastrointestinal cancer …

§ June 22nd, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on MagForce enters into preclinical research agreement to investigate NanoTherm® therapy in the gastrointestinal cancer …

Goal is to achieve preclinical proof-of-concept in pancreatic and liver cancer First important milestone to set up a clinical development program with Key Opinion Leaders of the Mayo Clinic and throughout the US A previous pilot study conducted at the Charit, Berlin, has shown feasibility for NanoTherm therapy in patients with pancreatic cancer

Berlin, Germany, June 22, 2012 - MagForce AG (Frankfurt, XETRA: MF6), a leading medical device company in the field of nanomedicine with focus on oncology, announced today that the Company has entered into a pre-clinical research agreement with Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), a leading US medical center.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mayo Clinic will start a research program applying MagForce`s NanoTherm therapy to investigate the preclinical efficacy of the therapy in pancreatic and liver cancer. The project will be directed by Dev Mukhopadhyay, Professor of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, and the study will be funded by Mayo Clinic. The goal of the project is to achieve preclinical proof-of-concept in order to file the clinical development program supporting the FDA PMA (FDA premarket approval) of the NanoTherm therapy in these indications.

"Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive diseases in oncology, ranking fourth among the tumor related causes of death. It is mostly recognized in a late and advanced status and consequently called "the silent killer". Due to the poor overall survival rates and the severe side effects of chemotherapeutics, the current standard of care, this disease is an enormous challenge in oncology. With approximately 32,000 new cases annually in the US alone there is a very high medical need to develop new therapeutic options for the treatment of these desperate patients," said Prof Dr Hoda Tawfik, Vice President R&D/Medical Affairs at MagForce. "In a pilot study MagForce could show the feasibility of the use of its NanoTherm therapy in pancreatic cancer patients with first hints of activity. I am delighted that we are now teaming up with the highly prestigious cancer center Mayo Clinic to achieve preclinical proof-of-concept in pancreatic and liver cancer with our innovative technology. A positive outcome of this new project would be the first important milestone to set up a clinical development program in gastrointestinal cancer in cooperation with medical key opinion leaders throughout the United States," added Prof Dr Hoda Tawfik.

This research agreement is a significant step in engaging the US medical community in the development of the NanoTherm Therapy," added Dr Andreas Jordan, Executive Board and Founder of MagForce.

About MagForce AG MagForce AG is a leading medical technology company in the field of nanomedicine in oncology. The Company`s proprietary, NanoTherm therapy, enables the targeted treatment of solid tumors through the intratumoral generation of heat via activation of magnetic nanoparticles. NanoTherm, NanoPlan, and NanoActivator(TM) are components of the therapy and have received EU-wide regulatory approval as medical devices for the treatment of brain tumors. MagForce, NanoTherm, NanoPlan, and NanoActivator(TM) are trademarks of MagForce AG in select countries. For more information, please visit http://www.magforce.com.

About NanoTherm Therapy The NanoTherm therapy is a new approach for the local treatment of solid tumors. The principle of the method is the direct introduction of magnetic nanoparticles into a tumor and their subsequent heating in an alternating magnetic field. The water soluble nanoparticles are extremely small (approximately 15 nanometers in diameter), and contain an iron oxide core with an aminosilane coating. The particles are activated by a magnetic field that changes its polarity 100,000 times per second and heat is produced. Depending on the duration of treatment and the achieved intratumoral temperatures, the tumor cells are either directly destroyed (thermal ablation) or sensitized for concomitant chemo or radiotherapy (hyperthermia). With this new procedure, it is possible to combat the tumor from the inside out, thereby sparing surrounding healthy tissue. The nanoparticles remain in place at the treatment area, allowing for repeat treatments and the integration of multimodal therapy concepts. NanoTherm therapy has regulatory approval in 27 European countries.

Disclaimer This release may contain forward-looking statements and information which may be identified by formulations using terms such as "expects", "aims", "anticipates", "intends", "plans", "believes", "seeks", "estimates" or "will". Such forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and certain assumptions, which may be subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties. The results actually achieved by MagForce AG may substantially differ from these forward-looking statements. MagForce AG assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements or to correct them in case of developments, which differ from those, anticipated.

Contact: Anne Hennecke MC Services AG

T +49 89 210228-18 F +49 89 210228-88 M +49 151 12 555 759 Email: anne.hennecke@mc-services.eu MagForce_Press Release_Mayo Clinic_June 22, 2012

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International Nanomedicine Conference bound for Sydney: July 2-4, 2012

§ June 19th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on International Nanomedicine Conference bound for Sydney: July 2-4, 2012

Public release date: 19-Jun-2012 [ | E-mail | Share ]

Contact: Myles Gough myles.gough@unsw.edu.au 61-029-385-1933 University of New South Wales

With advances in nanotechnology, the future of medicine is taking shape on the nano-scale and making possible healthcare solutions once confined to the realm of science fiction.

From microscopic robots that could soon be swimming around our bloodstream repairing cells and diagnosing diseases, to drugs with improved therapeutic properties that can selectively target affected regions of the body with cellular precision without damaging surrounding tissue.

The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine at the University of New South Wales is at the forefront of this exciting new discipline and will host the third International Nanomedicine Conference from 2 4 July in Sydney.

The conference will bring together world-leading academics and clinicians to highlight important research into targeted drug delivery systems, diagnostics and imaging, and regenerative medicine, all enabled by nanomedicine.

One nanometre is equivalent to one-billionth of a metre and is roughly 60,000 times thinner than a human hair, or the size of a single strand of DNA.

By exploiting the novel biological, chemical and physical properties of materials at this scale, researchers can build devices and systems that improve disease detection and develop more effective therapies.

The Australian Centre for Nanomedicine at UNSW, which crosses medicine, science and engineering, is investigating strategies to better diagnose and treat illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Keynote speakers include:

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Nanoparticle Exposure Linked To Rheumatoid Arthritis And Other Autoimmune Diseases

§ June 18th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Nanoparticle Exposure Linked To Rheumatoid Arthritis And Other Autoimmune Diseases

Editor's Choice Academic Journal Main Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology Also Included In: Immune System / Vaccines Article Date: 18 Jun 2012 - 7:00 PDT

Current ratings for: 'Nanoparticle Exposure Linked To Rheumatoid Arthritis And Other Autoimmune Diseases'

4 (1 votes)

Findings from the study, conducted by researchers at Trinity College Dublin, indicate that there are health and safety implications for the manufacture, utilization, and disposal of nanotechnology products and materials.

Smoking, carbon particles emitted by car exhaust, and inhalation of dust over the long-term are all risk factors which cause chronic inflammation of the lungs. In addition, researchers have also established an association between smoking and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

In this study, the authors identified similar risks cause by nanotechnology products, which may produce new types of airborne pollutants that can impact global health if not handled appropriately.

In order to determine whether there was a common underlying mechanism contributing to the development of autoimmune diseases in human cells when exposed to nanoparticles, Professor of Molecular Medicine Yuri Volkov and his Nanomedicine and Molecular Imaging team at Trinity College Dublin's School of Medicine, applied a wide range of nanomaterials to human cells derived from the lining of the airway passages, and to so-called phagocytic origin - cells that are more exposed to inhaled foreign particles or are responsible with eliminating them from the body.

The nanomaterials involved included, carbon nanotubes, ultrafine carbon black, and silicon dioxide particles of different sizes, ranging from 20 to 400 nanometers.

In both the TCD and US study, the researchers found that all types of nanoparticles caused an identical response in the lungs of mice and in human cells, resulting in the specific transformation of the amino acid arginine into the citrulline molecule, which can trigger autoimmune diseases.

Human proteins which incorporate citrulline are unable to function normally and are destroyed and disposed of by the body's defense system. Once citrullinated proteins are eliminated, the immune system begins to attack its own organs and tissues, thus causing the development of autoimmune diseases.

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Bioreactor Design and Bioprocess Controls for Industrialized Cell Processing

§ June 17th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Bioreactor Design and Bioprocess Controls for Industrialized Cell Processing

Tweet




A short and sweet note to point you to a great article on bioreactor technologies related to cell therapy bioprocessing by CTG consultant and Director of Stem Cell-based Drug Discovery, John E. Hambor, who you can now follow on Twitter @StemCellonDrugs.


"Bioreactor Design and Bioprocess Controls for Industrialized Cell Processing" was published in the June issue of BioProcess International.  


The BPI team has made a real and meaningful commitment to representing cell therapy bioprocessing and we applaud them for their contribution to this emerging discipline.




If this is a topic of interest to you, I recommend you also check out a conference being held this Fall by BPI's sister company, IBC LifeSciences, entitled "Cell Therapy BioProcessing" to be held September 11-12 in Arlington, Virginia.





http://www.celltherapyblog.com hosted by http://www.celltherapygroup.com

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Fundraising gala takes aim at pancreatic cancer

§ June 16th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Fundraising gala takes aim at pancreatic cancer

FIGHTING BACK: Pancreatic cancer claimed our town's Milton Wong recently, Jack Poole last year and Betty Ergas before that. Ergas's daughter, Myriam Glotman, and husband Geoffrey later raised some $300,000 to support research. This week, they had Dr. Daniel Renouf explain to reception guests how the BC Cancer Agency's Pancreatic Cancer Research Initiative will team genome analysis, clinical trials and nanomedicine technology against the lethal ailment. Myriam and Jane Hungerford will chair the fundraising Inspiration Gala Nov. 1, with Wong's widow Fei as honorary chair.

HOMELESS PRAYER: Give us this night our nightly bed.

NO SMILE, WE'RE MOD-ELS: Fashion designer Jason Matlo was ear-to-ear cheery when stony-faced catwalkers showed his fall-winter ready-to-wear line at the Shangri-La Hotel Thursday. It was a teaser for the global Fashion's Night Out celebration that should have retailers, restaurateurs, bartenders and even models grinning here Sept. 6.

HAWAII NINE-O: Wendy McDonald celebrated her 90th unquietly this week with a luau for hundreds of florally attired friends and family at North Vancouver's Pinnacle hotel. Thrice-widowed, McDonald sparked decades of respectful ribaldry by owning and running a ball-bearing firm with the kind of iron resolve that year-round sea bathing never rusted. Matching her manner, 94-year-old bandleader Dal Richards played the tenor sax for jiving and hula-dancing with the facility, invention and clear tone of a ridiculously younger fellow.

GORDON HIGHLANDING: Another nonagenarian, artist Gordon Smith, visited Capilano Golf & Country Club recently, when Grace Gordon Collins, Patti Hanneson-Hatch and Gloria Smith chaired a benefit for the Gordon & Marion Smith Foundation For Young Artists's $5-mil-lion campaign. It will endow the fall-opening Gordon Smith Gallery of Canadian Art and Artists for Kids program. Set-ting the pace, a large-and-leafy Smith painting fetched $51,000 at auction.

POOCH POWER: If those $330,000-a-pop "monopoles" the park board has okayed don't have their electric-vehicle chargers well shielded, some leg-lifting dog may get a nasty shock.

BUCKS STOP HERE: Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini wants the $300-million team's financial information to stay private during his divorce case, The Sun's Neal Hall reported. He's certainly got a nifty place for stashing such moolah. The Aquilini Investment Group's downtown-office vault has a steel door that should stop any-thing short of the L.A. Kings.

COME AT ME BRO: Not the case with New Jersey Devils fans who, unlike some of ours, went home peaceably after their team's Stanley Cup loss.

BRUT TOUT: Prairial skip-per Denis Camelin greeted French consul-general Evelyne Decorps with genuine Champagne after mooring in North Vancouver Thursday. He'd just cruised from Tahiti via Mexico and California. But, with a military helicopter aft and can-non forward, his vessel is no cruise ship. It's a naval frigate, which will leave for Hawaii and Tahiti Tuesday. You're welcome aboard this weekend - sans Champagne, though.

POPE KNOWS: After a decade mostly in L.A., actress Carly Pope says she's producing and Matt Smiley directing the feature-length documentary She Has A Name about "violence, disappearance and murder" along Prince George-to-Prince Rupert's so-called Highway of Tears.

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Nanoparticles in polluted air, smoke and nanotechnology products have serious impact on health

§ June 11th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Nanoparticles in polluted air, smoke and nanotechnology products have serious impact on health

New groundbreaking research by scientists at Trinity College Dublin has found that exposure to nanoparticles can have a serious impact on health, linking it to rheumatoid arthritis and the development of other serious autoimmune diseases. The findings that have been recently published in the international journal Nanomedicine have health and safety implications for the manufacture, use and ultimate disposal of nanotechnology products and materials. They also identified new cellular targets for the development of potential drug therapies in combating the development of autoimmune diseases.

Environmental pollution including carbon particles emitted by car exhaust, smoking and long term inhalation of dust of various origins have been recognised as risk factors causing chronic inflammation of the lungs. The link between smoking and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis has also been established. This new research now raises serious concerns in relation to similar risks caused by nanotechnology products which if not handled appropriately may contribute to the generation of new types of airborne pollutants causing risks to global health.

In their research, the Nanomedicine and Molecular Imaging team at Trinity College Dublin's School of Medicine led by Professor of Molecular Medicine, Yuri Volkov investigated whether there was a common underlying mechanism contributing to the development of autoimmune diseases in human cells following their exposure to a wide range of nanoparticles containing different physical and chemical properties.

The scientists applied a wide range of nanomaterials including ultrafine carbon black, carbon nanotubes and silicon dioxide particles of different sizes, ranging from 20 to 400 nanometres, to human cells derived from the lining of the airway passages, and to the cells of so-called phagocytic origin those cells that are most frequently exposed to the inhaled foreign particles or are tasked with cleaning up our body from them. At the same time, collaborating researchers from the Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (Morgantown, WV, USA) have conducted the studies in mice exposed to chronic inhalation of air contaminated with single walled carbon nanotubes.

The result was clear and convincing: all types of nanoparticles in both the TCD and US study were causing an identical response in human cells and in the lungs of mice, manifesting in the specific transformation of the amino acid arginine into the molecule called citrulline which can lead to the development of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

In the transformation to citrulline, human proteins which incorporate this modified amino acid as building blocks, can no longer function properly and are subject to destruction and elimination by the bodily defence system. Once programmed to get rid of citrullinated proteins, the immune system can start attacking its own tissues and organs, thereby causing the autoimmune processes which may result in rheumatoid arthritis.

Commenting on the significance of the findings, TCD's Professor Volkov says: "The research establishes a clear link between autoimmune diseases and nanoparticles. Preventing or interfering with the resulting citrullination process looks therefore as a promising target for the development of future preventative and therapeutic approaches in rheumatoid arthritis and possibly other autoimmune conditions."

More information: The paper's full title published in the 'Nanomedicine' journal (Future Medicine journals group) is "Citrullination of proteins: a common post-translational modification pathway induced by different nanoparticles in vitro and in vivo" http://www.futurem 7/nnm.11.177

Provided by Trinity College Dublin

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Nanoparticles in polluted air, smoke & nanotechnology products have serious impact on health

§ June 11th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Nanoparticles in polluted air, smoke & nanotechnology products have serious impact on health

Public release date: 11-Jun-2012 [ | E-mail | Share ]

Contact: Professor Yuri Volkov yvolkov@tcd.ie 353-863-732-946 Trinity College Dublin

Dublin, June 11th, 2012 New groundbreaking research by scientists at Trinity College Dublin has found that exposure to nanoparticles can have a serious impact on health, linking it to rheumatoid arthritis and the development of other serious autoimmune diseases. The findings that have been recently published in the international journal 'Nanomedicine' have health and safety implications for the manufacture, use and ultimate disposal of nanotechnology products and materials. They also identified new cellular targets for the development of potential drug therapies in combating the development of autoimmune diseases.

Environmental pollution including carbon particles emitted by car exhaust, smoking and long term inhalation of dust of various origins have been recognised as risk factors causing chronic inflammation of the lungs. The link between smoking and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis has also been established. This new research now raises serious concerns in relation to similar risks caused by nanotechnology products which if not handled appropriately may contribute to the generation of new types of airborne pollutants causing risks to global health.

In their research, the Nanomedicine and Molecular Imaging team at Trinity College Dublin's School of Medicine led by Professor of Molecular Medicine, Yuri Volkov investigated whether there was a common underlying mechanism contributing to the development of autoimmune diseases in human cells following their exposure to a wide range of nanoparticles containing different physical and chemical properties.

The scientists applied a wide range of nanomaterials including ultrafine carbon black, carbon nanotubes and silicon dioxide particles of different sizes, ranging from 20 to 400 nanometres, to human cells derived from the lining of the airway passages, and to the cells of so-called phagocytic origin those cells that are most frequently exposed to the inhaled foreign particles or are tasked with cleaning up our body from them. At the same time, collaborating researchers from the Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (Morgantown, WV, USA) have conducted the studies in mice exposed to chronic inhalation of air contaminated with single walled carbon nanotubes.

The result was clear and convincing: all types of nanoparticles in both the TCD and US study were causing an identical response in human cells and in the lungs of mice, manifesting in the specific transformation of the amino acid arginine into the molecule called citrulline which can lead to the development of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

In the transformation to citrulline, human proteins which incorporate this modified amino acid as building blocks, can no longer function properly and are subject to destruction and elimination by the bodily defence system. Once programmed to get rid of citrullinated proteins, the immune system can start attacking its own tissues and organs, thereby causing the autoimmune processes which may result in rheumatoid arthritis.

Commenting on the significance of the findings, TCD's Professor Volkov says: "The research establishes a clear link between autoimmune diseases and nanoparticles. Preventing or interfering with the resulting citrullination process looks therefore as a promising target for the development of future preventative and therapeutic approaches in rheumatoid arthritis and possibly other autoimmune conditions."

###

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Johns Hopkins Experience Shows Malvern Customers Buy More Than Just An Instrument

§ June 11th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Johns Hopkins Experience Shows Malvern Customers Buy More Than Just An Instrument

Justin Galloway, a graduate member of the Searson and Devreotes Group at The Johns Hopkins University in the Institute of NanoBioTechnology (Maryland, USA), cites Malvern Instruments customer support as being instrumental in helping interpret and develop some of the data associated with the publication of a paper in the journal Nanomedicine.

Mr Galloway elected to use a Zetasizer Nano from Malvern to collect size and zeta potential data for quantum dot (QD) studies and found Malvern extremely supportive in responding to his enquiries about the most appropriate methodologies and analytical techniques for getting the most from his biomedical nanoparticle characterization data.

Justin Galloway said, When Johns Hopkins Department of Materials Science and Engineering had the opportunity to get a light scattering instrument we looked at several. Malvern always gives us what we need, the price is right and the Zetasizer is easy to use as a beginner. However, I wanted to find out even more about how to get as much information from my results as I could so I contacted the Product Marketing Specialist.

I was really surprised how much time he was willing to spend with me. After discussing my work with him, both by phone and in person, I became confident in how to best present my data. His help was instrumental in getting my work published, explained Mr Galloway.

Quantitative characterization of the lipid encapsulation of quantum dots for biomedical applications, by Justin F. Galloway, B S et al, was published in Nanomedicine in December 2011. The authors report on the water solubilization of quantum dots using lipid encapsulation. Particle size distributions and zeta potential, used to determine stability and surface functionalization and for final product quality control, were obtained using a Zetasizer Nano.

Further information about the work of the Searson and Devreotes Group at The Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology can be found at: http://materials.jhu.edu/

Malverns Zetasizer series measures: particle and molecule size from below a nanometer to several microns using dynamic light scattering; zeta potential and electrophoretic mobility using electrophoretic light scattering; and molecular weight using static light scattering. Further information can be found at: http://www.malvern.com/zetasizer.

About Malvern Instruments Malvern Instruments is a market leader in measuring performance controlling material properties. These include particle size, particle shape, zeta potential, molecular weight, size and conformation, rheological properties and chemical identification. Malvern delivers the systems, support and expertise that ensure the analytical integrity and productivity needed to drive research, development and manufacturing.

Malverns measurement solutions for scientists, technologists and engineers advance continually through customer collaboration. Complementary materials characterization systems deliver inter-related measurements that reflect the complexities of particulates and disperse systems, nanomaterials and macromolecules. Combining intelligently implemented technologies with in-depth industry applications knowledge and support, Malvern provides customers with the competitive advantage they demand.

Headquartered in Malvern, UK, Malvern Instruments has subsidiary organizations in all major European markets, North America, China, Japan and Korea, a joint venture in India, a global distributor network and applications laboratories around the world. For more information, visit http://www.malvern.com.

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Nanotechnologists develop a 'time bomb' to fight cardiovascular disease

§ June 10th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Nanotechnologists develop a 'time bomb' to fight cardiovascular disease

Atherosclerosis, resulting in a narrowing of the arteries and the development of cardiovascular disease, is the leading cause of death worldwide. Until now, no treatment could target diseased areas exclusively, in order to increase drug efficacy and reduce side effects. To help bridge this gap, a group of Swiss researchers from UNIGE, HUG and the University of Basel have developed a veritable 'time bomb,' a treatment that can recognize the diseased areas and treat only them.

In Switzerland, more than 20,000 people (37% of all deaths) die of cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis each year. Treatment options are currently available to people who suffer from the disease but no drug can target solely the diseased areas, often leading to generalized side effects. Intravenous injection of a vasodilator (a substance that dilates blood vessels), such as nitroglycerin, dilates both the diseased vessels and the rest of our arteries. Blood pressure can thus drop, which would limit the desired increased blood flow generated by vasodilatation of diseased vessels and needed for example during a heart attack.

In order to increase the effectiveness of treatments against atherosclerosis and to reduce side effects, a team of researchers from UNIGE, HUG and the University of Basel have developed nanocontainers having the ability to release their vasodilator content exclusively to diseased areas.

Nanotechnology in medicine

Though no biomarker specific to atherosclerosis has been identified, there is a physical phenomenon inherent to stenosis (the narrowing of blood vessels) known as shear stress. This force results from fluctuations in blood flow induced by the narrowing of the artery and runs parallel to the flow of blood. It is by making use of this phenomenon that the team of researchers has developed a veritable time bomb, a nanocontainer which, under pressure from the shear stress in stenosed arteries, will release its vasodilator contents.

By rearranging the structure of certain molecules (phospholipids) in classic nanocontainers such as liposome, scientists were able to give them a lenticular shape as opposed to the normal spherical shape. In the form of a lens, the nanocontainer then moves through the healthy arteries without breaking. This new nanocontainer is perfectly stable, except when subjected to the shear stress of stenosed arteries. And that's exactly the intention of this technological advance. The vasodilator content is distributed only to the stenotic arteries, significantly increasing the efficacy of the treatment and reducing side effects. "In brief, we exploited a previously unexplored aspect of an existing technology. This research offers new perspectives in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease," explains Andreas Zumbuehl from the Department of Organic Chemistry at UNIGE.

"Nanomedicine is a discipline stemming from general nanoscience but which orients itself towards medical research. The interdisciplinary collaboration between chemistry, physics, basic science and clinical medicine in a highly technical environment could lead to a new era of research," states Till Saxer of the Cardiology and General Internal Medicine Departments at HUG.

"The nano component is present in all disciplines, but the most interesting aspect of nanomedicine is its overview allowing the development of clinical products that integrate this global medical point of view from the earliest onset of research projects," states Bert Mller, Director of the Biomaterials Science Centre (BMC) at Basel.

When chemistry gets involved

How did scientists manage to change the shape of the nanocontainers so that they resemble a lens? By rearranging the structure of molecules, chemists at UNIGE replaced the ester bond that links the two parts of the phospholipid (head and tail), with an amide bond, an organic compound that promotes interaction among phospholipids. Once modified, the molecules are hydrated then heated to form a liquid sphere which will relax to solidify in the form of a lens upon cooling.

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Researchers develop a 'time bomb' to fight cardiovascular disease

§ June 10th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Researchers develop a 'time bomb' to fight cardiovascular disease

Public release date: 10-Jun-2012 [ | E-mail | Share ]

Contact: Andreas Zumbuehl andreas.zumbuehl@unige.ch 41-223-796-719 Universit de Genve

In Switzerland, more than 20,000 people (37% of all deaths) die of cardiovascular disease caused by atherosclerosis each year. Treatment options are currently available to people who suffer from the disease but no drug can target solely the diseased areas, often leading to generalized side effects. Intravenous injection of a vasodilator (a substance that dilates blood vessels), such as nitroglycerin, dilates both the diseased vessels and the rest of our arteries. Blood pressure can thus drop, which would limit the desired increased blood flow generated by vasodilatation of diseased vessels and needed for example during a heart attack.

In order to increase the effectiveness of treatments against atherosclerosis and to reduce side effects, a team of researchers from UNIGE, HUG and the University of Basel have developed nanocontainers having the ability to release their vasodilator content exclusively to diseased areas.

Nanotechnology in medicine

Though no biomarker specific to atherosclerosis has been identified, there is a physical phenomenon inherent to stenosis (the narrowing of blood vessels) known as shear stress. This force results from fluctuations in blood flow induced by the narrowing of the artery and runs parallel to the flow of blood. It is by making use of this phenomenon that the team of researchers has developed a veritable time bomb, a nanocontainer which, under pressure from the shear stress in stenosed arteries, will release its vasodilator contents.

By rearranging the structure of certain molecules (phospholipids) in classic nanocontainers such as liposome, scientists were able to give them a lenticular shape as opposed to the normal spherical shape. In the form of a lens, the nanocontainer then moves through the healthy arteries without breaking. This new nanocontainer is perfectly stable, except when subjected to the shear stress of stenosed arteries. And that's exactly the intention of this technological advance. The vasodilator content is distributed only to the stenotic arteries, significantly increasing the efficacy of the treatment and reducing side effects. In brief, we exploited a previously unexplored aspect of an existing technology. This research offers new perspectives in the treatment of patients with cardiovascular disease, explains Andreas Zumbuehl from the Department of Organic Chemistry at UNIGE.

Nanomedicine is a discipline stemming from general nanoscience but which orients itself towards medical research. The interdisciplinary collaboration between chemistry, physics, basic science and clinical medicine in a highly technical environment could lead to a new era of research, states Till Saxer of the Cardiology and General Internal Medicine Departments at HUG.

The nano component is present in all disciplines, but the most interesting aspect of nanomedicine is its overview allowing the development of clinical products that integrate this global medical point of view from the earliest onset of research projects, states Bert Mller, Director of the Biomaterials Science Centre (BMC) at Basel.

When chemistry gets involved

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Izon granted core patents for elastomeric nanopore tech

§ June 7th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Izon granted core patents for elastomeric nanopore tech

Izon Science granted core patents for elastomeric nanopore technology

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, 7 June 2012 Nanotechnology instrument manufacturer Izon Science today announced core patents for its nano and bio particle analysis platform. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has accepted Izon Science Patent No. 11/721047 for an invention for detecting, measuring and controlling particles. The patent covers the novel elastomeric size-tunable nanopores used in Izon Sciences qNano and qViro instruments.

The Australian Patent Office has also accepted Izon Science Patent No. 2005315729 for the same core technology.

Izon Science has also been granted a patent for its analysis platform by the UK Intellectual Property Office. UK Patent No. 2477287 (formerly Application No. 1001311.8) for Control of particle flow in an aperture and relates to the use of combined pressure and voltage. This follows on from the prior award of the core patent in 2006 (GB2421303, 12 November 2006).

Acceptance of these patents is a major milestone for the company. Were now selling our instrumentation in over 30 countries and are rapidly expanding our patent portfolio, core measurement capabilities and R&D capability, says Hans van der Voorn, Executive Chairman of Izon Science.

Van der Voorn says the company is experiencing high growth, in all areas where it operates. Were now able to do R&D in our Boston and Oxford offices in addition to the work at our headquarters in Christchurch, New Zealand. By extending our R&D base were able to work on more collaborative research which is very valuable for the company and its customers and research partners.

Izon Science is the developer of the portable qNano and qViro instruments with unique size-tunable nanopores. The multi-parameter instruments offer significant accuracy and reliability improvements over previously available techniques and are advancing research in a number of fields including nanomedicine, hematology, gene therapy and vaccine development.

For more information on Izon Science see http://www.izon.com

ENDS

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Zeroing in on the Best Shape for Cancer-Fighting Nanoparticles

§ June 4th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Zeroing in on the Best Shape for Cancer-Fighting Nanoparticles

Newswise HOUSTON -- ( June 4, 2012 ) -- As the field of nanomedicine matures, an emerging point of contention has been what shape nanoparticles should be to deliver their drug or DNA payloads most effectively.

A pair of new papers by scientists at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI) and six other institutions suggests these microscopic workhorses ought to be disc-shaped, not spherical or rod-shaped, when targeting cancers at or near blood vessels.

"The vast majority -- maybe 99 percent -- of the work being done right now is using nanoparticles that are spherical," said TMHRI biomedical engineer Paolo Decuzzi, Ph.D., principal investigator for both projects. "But evidence is showing there may be better ways to get chemotherapy drugs to the site of a vascularizing cancer."

Despite their popularity, there are problems with sphere-shaped nanoparticles. They're small, and can't deliver a lot of drugs when they finally reach their targets. And they're also more likely to get pushed downstream by blood's powerful flow.

"The small surface exposed by spherical nanoparticles to the blood vessel walls theoretically a single point -- in the tumor tissue cannot support stable, firm adhesion and they are easily washed away. And this hampers their effective accumulation within the diseased tissue," Decuzzi said. "So a number of laboratories have been asking, how can we maximize the accumulation of nanoparticles in the diseased tissues? Is there a better shape?"

In the August 2012 Biomaterials (Elsevier, now online), Decuzzi and coauthors show that at different, biologically relevant flow speeds, disc-shaped nanoparticles were less likely to get pushed off their targets than rod-shaped nanoparticles -- another shape previously proposed as an alternative to spheres. The ideal size was 1,000 by 400 nanometers (diameter by thickness). The experiments were conducted in vitro and confirmed by computational modeling.

Spherical nanoparticles are built around the drug payload in a free, three-dimensional fashion through self-assembly. The particle grows uniformly in all directions, forming a spherical -- or nearly spherical -- nanoparticle.

The Methodist nanomedicine group, led by TMHRI President and CEO Mauro Ferrari, Ph.D., has developed a completely different technique. Disc-shaped nanoparticles are created with photolithographic technology, the same tools used to make the tiniest components in computers. Photolithography allows Ferrari, Decuzzi, and colleagues to specify the size, shape and surface properties of the nanoparticles with a great deal of accuracy. The nanoparticles are built with sponge-like holes through them, which is where the drugs are loaded.

"We can change the size, shape, and surface properties -- '3S' parameters -- of the particles independently," Decuzzi said. "It is a very powerful technique."

The nanoparticles are built with silicon, and biologically relevant molecules are later attached to the outside to improve binding to target cells and to delay destruction by the immune system. Silicon has an extremely low toxicity profile at the doses typically used in humans and animal models. Decuzzi said silicon nanoparticles are readily broken down and removed from the body within 24 to 48 hours.

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Fine-tuning Nanotech to Target Cancer

§ June 4th, 2012 § Filed under Nano Medicine Comments Off on Fine-tuning Nanotech to Target Cancer

Fine-tuning Nanotech to Target Cancer

Programmable nanoparticles have shown promise in early cancer trials, and may finally fulfill the promise of nanomedicine.

Programmable particle: Bind's drug-delivery nanoparticle (artist's rendering). Model & image by Digizyme, Inc.

The results of the human trials are startling. Even at a lower-than-usual dose, multiple lung metastases shrank or even disappeared after one patient received only two-hour-long intravenous infusions of an experimental cancer drug. Another patient saw her cervical tumor reduce by nearly 60 percent after six months of treatment. Though the drug trialby Bind Biosciences in Cambridge, Massachusettsof an experimental nanotechnology-based technique was designed simply to show whether the technology is safe, the encouraging results revive hopes that nanomedicine could realize its elusive promise.

For more than a decade, researchers have been trying to develop nanoparticles that would deliver drugs more effectively and safely. The idea is that a nanoparticle containing a drug compound could selectively target tumor cells or otherwise diseased cells, and avoid healthy ones. Antibodies or other molecules can be attached to the nanoparticle and used to precisely identify target cells. "One of the largest advantages of nanotechnology is you can engineer things in particle form so that chemotherapeutics can be targeted to tumor cells, protecting the healthy cells of the body and protecting patients from side effects," says Sara Hook, nanotechnology development projects manager with the National Cancer Institute.

"We make hundreds of combinations to evaluate in order to optimize the performance of each drug," says Jeff Hrkach, senior vice president of technology research and development.

But executing this vision has been difficult. One challenge: a drug's behavior in the body can change dramatically when it's combined with nanoparticles. A nanoparticle can change a drug's solubility, toxicity, speed of action, and moresometimes beneficially, sometimes not. If a drug's main problem is that it's toxic to off-target organs, then nanotechnology can ensure that it's delivered to diseased cells instead of healthy cells. But if a drug depends on being absorbed quickly by diseased cells to be effective, a nanoparticle may slow the process and turn an optimal therapeutic into second best.

Bind, which was launched in 2007, has attempted to overcome this problem by building its drug-targeting nanoparticles in a way that allows the company to systematically vary their structures and composition. Typically, targeted drug nanoparticles are produced in two steps: first, a drug is encapsulated in a nanoparticle, and second, the external surface of the particle is bound with targeting molecules that will steer the therapeutic ferry to diseased cells. Generating such nanoparticles can be difficult to control and replicate, which limits a researcher's ability to fine-tune the nanoparticle's surface properties. To avoid this pitfall, Bind synthesizes its drug-carrying nanoparticles using self-assembly.

Under the right conditions, the subunits of its nanoparticlessome of which already contain targeting moleculesassemble on their own. No complex and variable chemical reactions are needed to produce the nanoparticles, and the properties of each subunit can be tweaked. This also allows the company's researchers to test a variety of nanoparticle-drug combinations and identify the best candidates for a particular task. "We make hundreds of combinations to evaluate in order to optimize the performance of each drug," says Jeff Hrkach, senior vice president of technology research and development.

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