ENSCHEDE, The Netherlands, May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The European nanotechnology network Frontiers (www.frontiers-eu.org) will gather in Sicily on May 16 and 17 to stimulate and discuss the integration of science amongst its members. Jointly, future research directions will be determined and new international initiatives and collaborations will be launched.
Frontiers, a Network of Excellence supported by the European Commission, was initiated two years ago and aims to establish leadership in life sciences related nanotechnology trough integration of strengths, facilities and investments in Europe. Representing twelve renowned nanotechnology institutes scattered over Europe, 200 researchers with varying backgrounds bring together a considerable knowledge pool. Through its integrated approach Frontiers will strengthen Europe's position in nanotechnology and increase the competitive R&D position with respect to the US and Japan.
Nanotechnology offers enormous potential for all industrial sectors and especially promising are applications in the medical field. One goal of the Frontiers program is to concentrate the development of nanoscience around industrial problems whose solutions will lead to marketable new technologies, tools and devices that in turn will have great impact on science, industry, and society. Recently, this strategy led to the establishment of the first Frontiers spin-off: Medimate. Medimate develops electrolyte analyzers for Point of Care with current focus on the detection of lithium in blood. Lithium is the number one medication for manic depressive patients. More spin-offs are expected to result from the Frontiers network in the near future.
Research focus areas in Frontiers close to application that will be addressed during the meeting in Sicily include:
- Targeting of drugs. By employing tailored nano-particle carriers that can carry a drug without undesired side effects to its final `destination' and allow the drug to be released selectively there, even to pass biological barriers like the blood-brain barrier to treat brain tumours.
- Biochips and bio arrays. For accurate detection of genes or proteins with applications in drug screening, clinical diagnostics and forensics.
- Biosensors Capable of recording, for example, one or a few key components in real time (such as glucose sensors for automated insulin administration).
- Regenerative medicine. Both very mature sub-areas, such as bone-anchored implants (dental implants, artificial hip joints, intraocular lenses), and very immature, emerging areas, such as stem cell-based tissue engineering.