NanoKTN and Bionano Consulting partner to develop bionano and nanomedicine in UK

20 October 2008

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), the UK’s primary knowledge-based network for Micro and Nanotechnologies, has announced a 20-month partnership with Bio Nano Consulting (BNC) and the creation of the NanoKTN’s fourth theme, Bionano and Nanomedicine.

This new partnership will support all UK bio-nanotechnology capabilities and provide thought leadership and input into UK Government policy and strategy related to bio-nanotechnology. The BNC and NanoKTN will promote technology transfer and communication between researchers and industry and encourage debate amongst interested parties regarding the key ethical issues surrounding the potential impact of nanotechnology and nanomedicine.

The NanoKTN and BNC will launch and coordinate at least four focus groups per year, all dealing with a variety of Bionano and Nanomedicine related topics, such as drug delivery and discovery, nano biosensors and biomedical electronics. In addition it aims to organise one major annual flagship event with the first one scheduled for early 2009 to cover Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine.

This partnership between the NanoKTN and BNC includes the secondment of Dr Mike Fisher, to the role of Theme Manager. As Theme Manager, Mike Fisher will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operational activities of the Bionano and Nanomedicine theme for the NanoKTN.

Most recently, Fisher worked for UK Trade & Investment as the UK government’s Life Science Industry Advisor covering North America, leading market analysis and intelligence projects, identifying opportunities and threats to international investment, and representing the UK regulatory agencies in the US. Fisher has written numerous published papers, the most recent paper concerning early stage clinical trials in the UK.

“I am delighted to be associated with an innovative organisation that is contributing to the global growth and importance of nanotechnology, particularly in the healthcare and life science sectors. This project will raise the awareness of Bionano and Nanomedicine and support the next generation of its capabilities,” explains Mike Fisher. “With so many recent and positive developments in Bionano and Nanomedicine, this is the right time for the NanoKTN to be promoting and supporting this area of work. This is an extremely exciting opportunity.”

BNC is jointly owned by University College London (UCL) and Imperial College and was founded in 2005 as part of the UK Department for Trade and Industry (now Technology Strategy Board) Micro & Nano Technology (MNT) initiative. To date BNC has received almost £5 million in government funding to create and operate a Bio-nanotechnology centre of excellence. As part of the original remit of the BNC, it was stipulated that they participate in the creation and management of a UK Bio-Nano Network. As this is the purpose behind the NanoKTN’s Bionano and Nanomedicine theme, BNC is ideally suited to handle this contract.

Director of the NanoKTN, Dr Alec Reader comments, “Working with the BNC has many benefits and I am looking forward to seeing this theme evolve. Mike Fisher’s wealth of contacts in the Bionano and Nanomedicine space will be invaluable to the NanoKTN.” Reader concludes, “This is a great opportunity for us to promote the positive work of the UK Bionano and Nanomedicine sector.”

Bionano and Nanomedicine is being widely used commercially with positive affect. A US biotech company Abraxis developed a chemotherapeutic drug for lung, ovarian and breast cancer being sold under the trademark Abraxane. Abraxane is the first albumin-bound taxane particle of approximately 130 nanometers that takes advantage of albumin, a natural carrier of water-insoluble molecules (eg various nutrients, vitamins, and hormones) found in humans. Abraxane is a first in its class of drugs using the nanoparticle albumin bound (nab) technology platform.

Abraxane is an innovative therapy that has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with breast cancer, after failure of combination chemotherapy for metastatic disease or relapse within 6 months of adjuvant chemotherapy, with prior therapy including an anthracycline unless clinically contraindicated.

The formulation of Abraxane eliminates the need for premedication with steroids and antihistamines for hypersensitivity reactions and is delivered in just 30 minutes, compared to three hours for previous drugs. The overall response rate with Abraxane for all study patients was 21.5% compared to 11.1% with solvent-based alternatives.

Established by the Technology Strategy Board, the NanoKTN is managed by the Centre for Process Innovation Ltd, a leading technology development and consulting company.

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