University College London awarded £5 million for nanomedicine
3 June 2009
University College London (UCL) has won four grants worth a total of
just over £5 million from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences
Research Council (EPSRC) to support research into large-scale integrated
projects that exploit nanotechnology for healthcare purposes.
The projects will focus on using nanotechnologies — systems that
function at the level of molecules — to advance knowledge and treatment
of cancer, dementia and HIV.
The projects are funded through the council’s "Nanoscience through
Engineering to Application" programme, which supports research that aims
to develop nanotechnologies for the targeted delivery of therapeutic
agents and for healthcare diagnostics.
The projects started in May and are scheduled to last for three
Professor Quentin Pankhurst, the current Scientific Director of the
Royal Institution and until recently the Deputy Director of the London
Centre for Nanotechnology has received £1,648,342 to lead a project
investigating novel high-efficiency targeting agents that can treat
locally metastatic cancers (cancers that spread out from a primary site
in the body).
Dr Rachel McKendry (London Centre for Nanotechnology) won £1,636,554
to fund UCL’s role in a world-leading consortium to engineer and
commercialise the next generation of multi-marker HIV smart chips, which
will rapidly diagnose and monitor HIV in resource-limited environments
such as district hospitals, GP surgeries and developing countries.
This multidisciplinary joint venture, which is a collaboration with
Imperial College London, will also involve the UCL/MRC Centre for
Medical Molecular Virology, Royal Free and UCL Hospitals, the
government-funded Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre at UCLH NHS
Trust, in conjunction with the Health Protection Agency and industrial
partners as advisors.
Dr Stephen Hart (UCL Institute of Child Health) will lead a project
with £1,391,287 of funding to develop nanotechnologies for the targeted
delivery of novel therapies for Alzheimer's disease, the major cause of
dementia in the elderly. This research is a collaboration involving
King’s College London, the University of Bristol and Bristol NHS Trust.
Dr Andreas Demosthenous (UCL Electronic & Electrical Engineering) won
£366,061 for UCL’s participation in research on new portable,
non-invasive imaging methods that use low-level electrical measurements
to detect colon cancer biomarkers (indicators of the disease). This
project will be undertaken with Middlesex and City.
These four grants follow funding worth nearly half a million pounds
received by Dr Ivan Parkin of UCL Chemistry in the 2008 round of
nanotechnology funding from the EPSRC to research inexpensive, efficient
and longlasting technology to capture energy from the sun.
Professor Gabriel Aeppli, Director of the London Centre for
Nanotechnology (LCN) and co-investigator on the HIV project, said that
the “the award of such a large fraction of the EPRSC Nanotechnology for
Healthcare funds to the LCN community in London represents an excellent
return on its strategy of building on multidisciplinary competencies in
London, spanning fields from basic physics through to clinical
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