EU project to study impact of nanomedicine on healthcare
25 February 2009
The EU-funded NANOMED project aims to look at all aspects of
nanomedicine and provide an objective answer to claims that this rapidly
evolving field will change the face of healthcare forever.
NANOMED will for the first time look at all aspects — economic,
patient attitudes, regulatory, ethics and communication — and enable EU
policy makers to properly direct what has already been identified a
major area for strategic investment in the new Framework V11 programme.
Chairing the project is Sir John Beringer, who also chaired the
groundbreaking UK CST report on nanotechnology.
Sir John said: "Even if we don't see the nanorobots of Fantastic
Voyage fame for a few years, nanomedicine still has immense short term
potential to impact all of our lives. Working at the nanoscale is
already leading to new highly targeted medicines, improved imaging and
diagnostics of disease and even a new generation of implantable sensors
for monitoring your health.
"Therefore I am delighted the EU recognises the importance of having
a strategic approach to its development. In this project I believe we
have managed to assemble a team with both the experience and
understanding to create what I believe will be a unique report covering
"For example we aim to have the first accurate projections of market
size and potential — to date this has been impossible with many
companies using nanomedicine, but not describing themselves as such.
"Discussions on regulatory aspects of nanotechnology are also now
reaching the stage where we can make meaningful conclusions as to the
need for either extending existing or creating new regulations.
"A further interesting aspect is that the current economic crisis
seems certain increase public interest in policy making and funding
priorities and a case will need to made for nanomedicine.
"The final members of working parties are being recruited and the
final report will be presented at the end of the year ."
Much has been forecast and published about the major impact which
nanotechnology will have in the medical field. As, for example, the
Nanomedicine, Nanotechnology for Health European Technology Platform
Strategic Research Agenda for Nanomedicine published in November 2006
commenced by saying: “Nanomedicine, the application of nanotechnology in
healthcare, offers numerous very promising possibilities to
significantly improve medical diagnosis and therapy, leading to an
affordable higher quality of life for everyone. At the same time
nanomedicine is a strategic issue for the sustainable competitiveness of
This has led to the view within the EU that, although very promising,
nanomedicine may add new dimensions to many ethical, social and economic
For the promises to be realised to achieve the maximum benefit of
nanomedical innovations for everyone the way has to be paved for a safe,
integrated and responsible approach to nanomedicine.
This will also be a necessary condition for the sustainable
competitiveness of nanomedical research and development in Europe, and
for its healthcare industry. It is therefore of primary importance to
understand its possible impacts and consequences in advance and to
provide for all stakeholders a well-organised forum to express their
needs and requirements, in particular for patients and society.
Nanomed has thus been funded to to provide to European stakeholders a
set of recommendations to support decision making regarding nanomedical
innovations. These recommendations will be based on a thorough analysis
of existing documents, multi-stakeholder debate, and construction of
scenarios on the possible consequences and impacts of nanomedicine.
For more information on the project:
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