Blood tests using nanoparticles carrying molecules which can detect breast cancer biomarkers could save millions of lives and open the way to mass screening for many cancers.
Prof. Matt Trau, of the Australian Institute for Bioengineering & Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland, and his team are using a combination of nanotechnology and molecular biology in the project, funded by a five-year $5 million grant from the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Microscopic magnets ferrying drugs through the bloodstream directly to diseased tissue are a new ‘green chemistry’ product which will improve health and the environment.
A team led by Prof. Colin Raston, of the University of Western Australia fabricated the nano ‘bullets’ which can be directed by an external magnetic field to specific parts of the body. The new technology will enable doctors to send the drugs directly to the disease site, leaving healthy tissue intact and minimising toxic side-effects.
CSIRO researchers are applying nanotechnology to drug delivery, medical body imaging, nerve repair, smart textiles and clothing, medical devices, plastic solar cells (see From plastic money to plastic electricity) and much more.
“Nanotechnology is not an industry—it is an enabling technology,” says Clive Davenport, leader of CSIRO’s Future Manufacturing Flagship.
Researchers in Melbourne will trial a new procedure to reconstruct breasts in patients following mastectomy. The procedure will use the women’s own stem cells instead of silicon.
Focusing on the treatment and recovery of women with breast cancer, the new technique known as Neopec involves the insertion of a customised biodegradable chamber which is contoured to match the woman’s natural breast shape. The chamber acts as a scaffold within which the woman’s own stem cells are used to grow permanent breast fat tissue.
Why does influenza make some of us much sicker than others? What are the implications for swine flu (H1N1)? Australian scientists are looking to past outbreaks for the answers.
In July 2009, the Australian Government responded to urgent global calls to use the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season as a catalyst for investigating the severity and global threat of the H1N1 flu strain.
Australia’s iconic kangaroo may hold the secret for the war on cancer. Assoc. Prof. Ming Wei from the Griffith Institute of Health and Medical Research is using commensal bacteria found in kangaroos to develop anti-cancer agents that are expected to be effective in combating solid tumours, which account for up to 90 per cent of cancers.