Nanomaterials in Medicine
The field of nanomaterials (NM) in medicine, often termed nanomedicine, covers a broad range of materials and technologies optimized to facilitate more sensitive diagnostics of, and/or more efficient therapies for various diseases. NM can support medical therapy and diagnostics in many ways: Smart NM can be injected into the body and be used to image some specific region or to analyze diseases directly inside the human body. Additionally, the NM can be used in therapeutics ideally by directing them to specific cells. In many instances, it would be desirable to combine the two tasks and be able to monitor in vivo the effect of the drug. Furthermore, controlling the fate of NM in the body, including their degradation, interactions, and uptake by non-targeted cells will improve the efficiency of these NMs.
It is generally accepted that there is no single NM that can address different kinds of diseases, and for each disease the NM has to be iteratively customized and optimized to achieve in vivo efficacy. It is known that the biological effects of NM can vary significantly even with small changes in size and shape. Therefore, precision synthesis has emerged to produce samples with tightly-focused distributions in order to achieve only the targeted functions. Moreover, it allows the possibility of incorporating an increasing number of functionalities to achieve a detectable biological response, targeting of specific cells or sub-cellular compartments, drug release and imaging.
At our Institute, we address these challenges with the ultimate goal of designing efficient NM and establish new concepts to address severe diseases such as certain cancers, viral and bacterial infections as well as bone diseases and enable translation from basic research to the (pre)clinics.