Medicine

Nanomedicine is the medical application of nanotechnology. Nanomedicine ranges from the medical applications of nanomaterials and biological devices, to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology such as biological machines.

  • “Personalized Tumor Therapy” at Fraunhofer ITEM – project group will become an institute division

    Isolation of a single disseminated cancer cell by micromanipulation. Knowledge about the characteristics of such a single cell provides the basis for development of more effective systemic therapies. Photo: Ralf Mohr; Fraunhofer ITEM

    (Hannover, Germany) The Fraunhofer Project Group for Personalized Tumor Therapy will become a division of the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM in Hannover as of January 2017 and will thus be included in the financing model of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The project group was founded in December 2010 as a research collaboration between the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Land of Bavaria, and the University of Regensburg. During the past five years, the team of scientists in Regensburg has been organizationally attached to the Fraunhofer ITEM in Hannover, funded by the Bavarian government.

  • 3D Images of Cancer Cells in the Body: Medical Physicists from Halle Present new Method

    A picture of a tumor (green) generated with the newly developed technique. Jan Laufer

    Making tumour cells glow: Medical physicists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new method that can generate detailed three-dimensional images of the body's interior. This can be used to more closely investigate the development of cancer cells in the body. The research group presents its findings in "Communication Physics", a journal published by the Nature Publishing Group.

  • 3D-microdevice for minimally invasive surgeries

    Figures 1 and 2. Microswimmer CAD and microswimmer micrograph. © MPI IS

    Scientists take challenge of developing functional microdevices for direct access to the brain, spinal cord, eye and other delicate parts of human body. A tiny robot that gets into the human body through the simple medical injection and, passing healthy organs, finds and treats directly the goal – a non-operable tumor… Doesn’t it sound at least like science-fiction? To make it real, a growing number of researchers are now working towards this direction with the prospect of transforming many aspects of healthcare and bioengineering in the nearest future. What makes it not so easy are unique challenges pertaining to design, fabrication and encoding functionality in producing functional microdevices.

  • 8th NRW Nano Conference Dortmund, Open Call for Presentations and Posters

    NRW nanoconference 2018

    The NRW Nano Conference is Germany’s largest conference with international appeal in the field of nanotechnologies. It takes place every two years at changing locations. More than 700 experts from science, industry and politics meet for two days to promote research and application of the key technology at the network meeting.

  • A better understanding of nanomaterials

     Petascale Simulations of Self-Healing Nanomaterials | by Argonne National Laboratory.

    In the past six years, the National Research Programme “Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials” (NRP 64) intensively studied the development, use, behaviour and degradation of engineered nanomaterials, including their impact on humans and on the environment.

    Twenty-three research projects on biomedicine, the environment, energy, construction materials and food demonstrated the enormous potential of engineered nanoparticles for numerous applications in industry and medicine. Thanks to these projects we now know a great deal more about the risks associated with nanomaterials and are therefore able to more accurately determine where and how they can be safely used.

  • A Boost for Biofuel Cells

    Boosting the energy output by storing and bundling the energy of many spontaneous enzyme reactions. Alejandro Posada

    In chemistry, a reaction is spontaneous when it does not need the addition of an external energy input. How much energy is released in a reaction is dictated by the laws of thermodynamics. In the case of the spontaneous reactions that occur in the human body this is often not enough to power medical implants. Now, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international team of researchers, found a way to boost the energy output by storing and bundling the energy of many spontaneous enzyme reactions. The work is published in the journal Nature Communications.

  • A CLOUD of possibilities: Finding new therapies by combining drugs

    Immunofluorescence analysis of prostate cancer cells treated with 15mM flutamide, 35 µM PPC or the combination for 24 h. Scale Bar 20 µM  © Nature Chemical Biology / Stefan Kubicek

    The CeMM Library of Unique Drugs (CLOUD) is the first condensed set of FDA-approved drugs representing the entire target and chemical space of all clinical compounds. Its potential was shown in a combinatorial high throughput screen at the CeMM chemical screening platform, published in Nature Chemical Biology: by testing all CLOUD compounds in combination with each other, a pair of hitherto unrelated drugs proved to be highly effective against multiple prostate cancer cell lines known for their resistance to therapy. Testing CLOUD combinations in this highly automated procedure could pave the way for a new era of drug repurposing and provide novel strategies for personalized medicine.

  • A docking site per calcium channel cluster

    Docking site. (c) by Walter Kaufmann and Ryuichi Shigemoto

    In our brain, information is passed from one neuron to the next at a structure called synapse. At a chemical synapse, a chemical is released from the signal-sending neuron or presynaptic neuron. This neurotransmitter then crosses the synaptic cleft to bind to receptors in the target neuron or postsynaptic neuron. An extensive molecular machinery is at work: for example, vesicles filled with neurotransmitter dock at “docking sites” in the pre-synaptic active zone before they fuse and release the neurotransmitter into the synapse.

  • A Fine-tuned Laser Welds More Effectively

    Cardiac pacemakers are usually housed in a titanium housing that is welded together from two parts. Empa has optimized the frequency of the working laser so that no black edges appear during welding, which would reduce the value of the medical product. Image: istockphoto

    Using laser technology Empa scientists optimized a technique to weld the electronics of implantable pacemakers and defibrillators into a titanium case. The medtech company Medtronic is now using the method worldwide to produce these devices. In Tolochenaz (Canton of Vaud) the US medtech company Medtronic produces one out of five heart pacemakers available on the global market and one out of four defibrillators. The electronics of these implantable devic-es are housed in titanium cases, which thus far were welded hermetically with a solid state flash laser. However, the lasers are high-maintenance and often the source of irregularities. Moreover, they require water cooling and take up a lot of space.

  • A Molecular Switch May Serve as New Target Point for Cancer and Diabetes Therapies

    Signal receptor-containing vesicles (red) form on the inside of the cell membrane (brown) and bud off into the cell. Visualization: Thomas Splettstößer

    If certain signaling cascades are misregulated, diseases like cancer, obesity and diabetes may occur. A mechanism recently discovered by scientists at the Leibniz- Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP) in Berlin and at the University of Geneva has a crucial influence on such signaling cascades and may be an important key for the future development of therapies against these diseases. The results of the study have just been published in the prestigious scientific journal 'Molecular Cell'.

  • A New T-cell Population for Cancer Immunotherapy

    Picture of a healthy human T-cell.

    Scientists at the University of Basel in Switzerland have, for the first time, described a new T cell population that can recognize and kill tumor cells. The open access journal eLife has published the results.

    T lymphocytes (short T cells) are a special type of cells that recognize germs and protect our body from infections. Their second important job is to ride the body of harmed cells, such as tumor cells. T cells are able to identify tumor cells because they look different than normal healthy cells. The way in which they do this is governed by surface expression of T-cell receptors (TCR). Each receptor interacts with a specific molecule on the surface of the target cell.

  • A Pair of RNA Scissors with Many Functions

    Photo: Dominik Kopp

    Arming CRISPR/Cas systems with an enzyme that also controls the translation of genetic information into protein. CRISPR/Cas systems are known as promising “gene scissors” in the genome editing of plants, animals, and microorganisms by targeting specific regions in their DNA – and perhaps they can even be used to correct genetic defects.

  • A Step Ahead in Pharmaceutical Research

    Novel sensors make it possible to measure the activation or deactivation of GPCRs with high-throughput methods. Graphic: Hannes Schihada

    Researchers of the University of Würzburg have developed a method that makes it possible to measure the activation of receptors in a very short time. This might speed up the development of new drugs. Hormones and other neurotransmitters, but also drugs, act upon receptors. “Their active substances bind to the receptors and modify the three-dimensional receptor arrangement regulating the downstream signal pathways,” says Hannes Schihada from the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Würzburg (JMU). 

  • A study on thermophoretic Janus particles and capsules used as dyes for infrared laser‐assisted tissue welding.

    A) Production of Janus composite particles by LbL self‐assembly of PEM and magnetite nanoparticles followed by sputter coating with gold and resuspension in water. B) Laser tissue welding with magnetic assistance, due to magnetite particles being homogeneously distributed in the particles the particle orientation is random during welding. © 2016 Wenping He, Johannes Frueh, Narisu Hu, Liping Liu, Meiyu Gai, and Qiang He. Published by WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

    Researchers from China and London* recently published a principle study on thermophoretic Janus particles and capsules used as dyes for infrared laser‐assisted tissue welding. The original article “Guidable Thermophoretic Janus Micromotors Containing Gold Nanocolorifiers for Infrared Laser Assisted Tissue Welding” was published by WILEY‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

  • About injured hearts that grow back - Heart regeneration mechanism in zebrafish revealed

    Zebrafish have a wonderful characteristic trait: they have extraordinary regenerative powers that go beyond the ability to regrow injured extremities. Even heart injuries heal up completely in this fish species. For cardiologists, who regularly treat heart attack patients, this would be a dream come true. Scientists at Utrecht University and Ulm University now have unravelled a central molecular mechanism that coordinates this healing process.
  • Antibiotic Resistance – Quick and Reliable Detection

    DZIF scientists (from left to right): Alexander Klimka, Sonja Mertins, Paul Higgins. Uniklinik Köln/Klimka

    Early detection of antibiotic resistant pathogens can be life-saving. DZIF-scientists at the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene, University of Cologne, have developed an antibody-based diagnostic test, which can identify carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii bacteria in only 10 minutes – in a process similar to a pregnancy test.

  • Antibodies as ‘messengers’ in the nervous system

    A Ganglion in the human intestine, which shows nerval activity after giving the anti-HuD-serum. The activity is red.  (Fig.: Schemann, Michel/ TUM)

    Antibodies are able to activate human nerve cells within milliseconds and hence modify their function — that is the surprising conclusion of a study carried out at Human Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). This knowledge improves our understanding of illnesses that accompany certain types of cancer, above all severe intestinal malfunctions.

  • Attacking Flu Viruses from Two Sides

    IgA1 antibodies binding to the influenza A virus antigen hemagglutinin. TSRI/UZH

    UZH researchers have discovered a new way in which certain antibodies interact with the flu virus. This previously unknown form of interaction opens up new possibilities for developing better vaccines and more efficient medication to combat the flu. Fever, shivering, headaches, and joint pains – each year millions of people around the world are affected by the flu. While most people recover after a few days, the WHO estimates that each year between 250,000 and 500,000 people die from the disease.

  • Basel Researchers Succeed in Cultivating Cartilage from Stem Cells

    Development of cartilage tissue from mesenchymal stem cells after eight weeks in vivo: Stable cartilage tissue, indicated by red staining (left), versus development towards bone tissue (right). Image: University of Basel, Department of Biomedicine

    Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS. Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration.

  • Better Contrast Agents Based on Nanoparticles

    Scientists at the University of Basel have developed nanoparticles which can serve as efficient contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging. This new type of nanoparticles produce around ten times more contrast than common contrast agents and are responsive to specific environments. The journal Chemical Communications has published these results.