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Posted: November 16, 2009
New European research project NanoConSens explores drug delivery with nanocontainers
(Nanowerk News) Jena scientists from different disciplines founded a new network in order to utilize so-called nanocontainers for applications in the biomedical field ("NanoConSens"). The research collaboration is now being funded by the State of Thuringia for the next 3 years with EUR 1.25 million within the framework of the "ProExzellenz Initiative".
"We aim at building up and optimizing various nanocontainers in such way that they - as intelligent transport vehicles - release active agents in the right dose at the right time at the right place in the human body", Prof. Dr. Ulrich S. Schubert from the University in Jena describes the direction of the project. "With that, high-impact medicine which is not blood soluble", explains the initiative's coordinator, "can be selectively transported to its destination without side effects. We are striving to enclose, for instance, antibiotics or even complex molecules like siRNA."
Such different substances require transport vehicles that are individually tailored to the special type of molecule. Moreover, they have to be provided with molecules navigating on their surface, like for example sugars or peptides. The new collaboration is, among other things, using combinations of novel concepts for building up star-shaped polymers, employing cationic polymers, varying the size of the nanocontainers and utilizing state-of-the-art methods of synthesis (like the so-called "click chemistry"). Furthermore, modified nanocontainers can be employed as sensors for the investigation of living cells - for example to determine ionic concentration, temperature or pH value.
The eight funded interdisciplinary subprojects unite partners from such disciplines as chemistry, pharmacy, medicine and biology from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - "Hans-Knöll-Institute" (HKI). The entire project helps strengthen the research profile of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena and its research focus on "Innovative Materials and Technologies".