Denmark funds nanotechnology

Jan 07, 2009
By Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

A donation of approximately 3.75 million euro will enable a new centre for pharmaceutical nanotechnology and nanotoxicology to be established at the University of Copenhagen's (Denmark) Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The donation came from the Danish Council for Strategic Research and was awarded to Moein Moghimi, Professor of Biopharmacy and Nanomedicine in the Department of Pharmaceutics and Analytical Chemistry, and his colleagues. Moghimi will act as the Director of the centre.

Developing a wide spectrum of promising nanoscale materials, either in their own right or as a component of multifunctional platforms, is beginning to have a paradigm-shifting impact in medicine. These materials are changing the foundations of disease diagnosis, monitoring and treatment, and turning molecular discoveries into benefits for patients. Research into delivery and targeting of pharmaceutical, therapeutic and diagnostic agents via intravenous and interstitial routes of administration with particulate drug carriers and nanoconstructs is at the forefront of projects in nanomedicine, but the biological performance of such delivery systems still requires optimization.

Moghimi says: "The future of particulate and polymeric nanomedicines will depend on rational design of nanotechnology materials and tools based around a detailed and thorough molecular understanding of biological processes, rather than forcing applications for some materials currently in vogue."

The prime research focus of the Centre for Pharmaceutical Nanotechnology and Nanotoxicology is to unravel the molecular basis of nanomaterial performance and toxicity through 'structure–activity' assessments at membrane organelle, cellular and animal level in combination with and by improving/optimizing the performance of the state-of-the-art bionanotechnology techniques. This integrated and multidisciplinary approach is expected to improve therapeutic benefit-to-risk ratio. The centre is also expected to provide "bench mark protocols" for toxicity evaluation of nanomedicines in animals, and at cellular and molecular levels as the sensitivity and precision of the standard toxicological procedures are of arguable value in nanomedicine R&D because it is limited to spotting extreme toxicity.

Moghimi says: "Our success would help transform national and European biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries towards a knowledge-intense, globally competitive one. In addition, the safe use of nanoparticulate delivery systems will also give Denmark and the EU significant savings in pharmaceutical spending.