Speeding Up Nanomedicine

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2006 3:40 pm    Post subject: Speeding Up Nanomedicine Reply with quote

Speeding Up Nanomedicine

Modeling software could lead to more efficient design of nanoparticles.

A growing number of researchers are looking to nanotechnology to find ways of delivering drugs directly to cancer cells or creating fast, inexpensive diagnostic tools -- such as over-the-counter tests for avian flu. But the expertise in materials science needed to create such nano devices often doesn't overlap with an in-depth knowledge of biology, which could help guide researchers toward materials likely to be safe and effective.

Now Accelrys, a San Diego-based company with experience developing modeling software used for designing drugs and materials, is building software that will bring together life science and materials science expertise into one system. The goal: bridging the gap between these two fields, and thereby saving researchers time and money by quickly identifying designs that will work in the body.

For example, the software would help researchers sort through many combinations of drugs and polymers, to predict which ones will be compatible with each other and which can be made into nanoparticles that safely deliver the drug to target tissues, such a cancer tumor.

Similarly, using the software to match materials with protein-detecting molecules could help in designing diagnostic nanoparticles that latch onto molecular biomarkers in the body and reveal their location with various imaging technologies, according to Leroy Hood, a biochemist, founder of Seattle's Institute for Systems Biology, and scientific advisor for the software project.

One example of a problem the modeling might solve, says Hood, is measuring multiple biomarkers in order to monitor the effects of disease treatments. He says that models, by quickly sorting through a large number of possible materials and detector molecules, might help researchers "go beyond just our intuitive feeling about these things" and discover more possibilities.



This story was first posted on 11th August 2006.
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