Kirrawee, Australia

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation is a statutory body of the Australian government, formed in 1987 to replace the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. Its head office and main facilities are in southern outskirts of Sydney at Lucas Heights, in the Sutherland Shire. It also operated the now closed National Medical Cyclotron at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Wikipedia.


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Nanodiamonds - synthetic industrial diamonds only a few nanometers in size - have recently attracted considerable attention because of the potential they offer for the targeted delivery of vaccines and cancer drugs and for other uses. Thus far, options for imaging nanodiamonds have been limited. Now a team of investigators based at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital has devised a means of tracking nanodiamonds noninvasively with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), opening up a host of new applications. They report their findings today in the online journal Nature Communications. "With this study, we showed we could produce biomedically relevant MR images using nanodiamonds as the source of contrast in the images and that we could switch the contrast on and off at will," says David Waddington, lead author of the paper and a PhD student at the University of Sydney in Australia. Waddington is currently working with Matthew Rosen, PhD, in the Low-Field Imaging Laboratory at the Martinos Center. "With competing strategies, the nanodiamonds must be prepared externally and then injected into the body, where they can only be imaged for a few hours at most. However, as our technique is biocompatible, we can continue imaging for indefinite periods of time. This raises the possibility of tracking the delivery of nanodiamond-drug compounds for a variety of diseases and providing vital information on the efficacy of different treatment options." Waddington began this work three years ago as part of a Fulbright Scholarship awarded early in his graduate work at the University of Sydney, where he is a member of a team led by study co-author David Reilly, PhD, in the new Sydney Nanoscience Hub - the headquarters of the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, which launched last year. As part of the Reilly group, Waddington played a crucial role in early successes with nanodiamond imaging, including a 2015 paper in Nature Communications. He then sought to extend the potential of the approach by collaborating with Rosen at the Martinos Center and Ronald Walsworth, PhD, at Harvard University, also a co-author of the current study. Rosen's group is a world leader in the area of ultra-low-field magnetic resonance imaging, a technique that proved essential to the development of in vivo nanodiamond imaging. Previously, the use of nanodiamond imaging in living systems was limited to regions accessible using optical fluorescence techniques. However, most potential diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nanoparticles, including tracking of complex disease processes like cancer, call for the use of MRI - the gold standard for noninvasive, high-contrast, three-dimensional clinical imaging. In the present study, the researchers show that they could achieve nanodiamond-enhanced MRI by taking advantage of a phenomenon known as the Overhauser effect to boost the inherently weak magnetic resonance signal of diamond through a process called hyperpolarization, in which nuclei are aligned inside a diamond so they create a signal detectable by an MRI scanner. The conventional approach to hyperpolarization uses solid-state physics techniques at cryogenic temperatures, but the signal boost doesn't last very long and is nearly gone by the time the nanoparticle compound is injected into the body. By combining the Overhauser effect with advances in ultra-low-field MRI coming out of the Martinos Center, the researchers were able to overcome this limitation - thus paving the way for high-contrast in vivo nanodiamond imaging over indefinitely long periods of time. High-performance ultra-low-field MRI is itself a relatively new technology, first reported in Scientific Reports in 2015 by Rosen and Martinos Center colleagues. "Thanks to innovative engineering, acquisition strategies and signal processing, the technology offers heretofore unattainable speed and resolution in the ultra-low-field MRI regime," says Rosen, director of the Low-Field Imaging Laboratory, an assistant professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and the senior author of the current paper. "And importantly, by removing the need for massive, cryogen-cooled superconducting magnets, it opens up a number of new opportunities, including the nanodiamond imaging technique we've just described." The researchers have noted several possible applications for their new approach to nanodiamond-enhanced MRI. These include the accurate detection of lymph node tumors, which can aid in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer, and exploring the permeability of the blood-brain barrier, which can play an important role in the management of ischemic stroke. Because it provides a measurable MR signal for periods of over a month, the technique could benefit applications such as monitoring the response to therapy. Included in treatment monitoring are applications in the burgeoning field of personalized medicine. "The delivery of highly specific drugs is strongly correlated with successful patient outcomes," says Waddington, who was honored with the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Young Scientist Award at the 2016 Experimental NMR Conference in recognition of this work. "However, the response to such drugs often varies significantly on an individual basis. The ability to image and track the delivery of these nanodiamond-drug compounds would, therefore, be greatly advantageous to the development of personalized treatments." The researchers continue to explore the potential of the technique and are now planning a detailed study of the approach in an animal model, while also investigating the behavior of different nanodiamond-drug complexes and imaging them with the new capability. Other authors of the Nature Communications paper include Mathieu Sarracanie and Najat Salameh of the Martinos Center; Huiliang Zhang, and David R. Glenn of the Walsworth team at Harvard University; and Ewa Rej, Torsten Gaebel, and Thomas Boele of the Reilly team at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, University of Sydney. Support for the study includes funding from the U.S. Department of Defense/USAMRMC, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian-American Fulbright Commission. Massachusetts General Hospital, founded in 1811, is the original and largest teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. The MGH Research Institute conducts the largest hospital-based research program in the nation, with an annual research budget of more than $800 million and major research centers in HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular research, cancer, computational and integrative biology, cutaneous biology, genomic medicine, medical imaging, neurodegenerative disorders, regenerative medicine, reproductive biology, systems biology, photomedicine and transplantation biology. The MGH topped the 2015 Nature Index list of health care organizations publishing in leading scientific journals and earned the prestigious 2015 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. In August 2016 the MGH was once again named to the Honor Roll in the U.S. News & World Report list of "America's Best Hospitals."


Patent
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation | Date: 2017-03-29

A coded mask apparatus is provided for gamma rays. The apparatus uses nested masks, at least one of which rotates relative to the other.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA | Phase: Fission-2013-3.4.1 | Award Amount: 5.53M | Year: 2013

COMET will strengthen the pan-European research initiative on the impact of radiation on man and the environment by facilitating the integration of radioecological research. COMET will build upon the foundations laid by the European Radioecology Alliance (ALLIANCE) and the on-going FP7 STAR Network of Excellence in radioecology. By collaborating with the European platforms on nuclear and radiological emergency response (NERIS) and low dose risk research (MELODI), COMET will significantly aid preparation for the implementation of the Horizon 2020 umbrella structure for Radiation Protection. In close association with STAR and the ALLIANCE, COMET will take forward the development of a Strategic Research Agenda as the basis for developing innovative mechanisms for joint programming and implementation (JPI) of radioecological research. To facilitate and foster future integration under a common federating structure, research activities developed within COMET will be targeted at radioecological research needs that will help achieve priorities of the NERIS and MELODI platforms. These research activities will be initiated in collaboration with researchers from countries where major nuclear accidents have occurred. Flexible funds, unallocated to specific tasks at project initiation, have been included within the COMET budget to facilitate RTD activities identified through the JPI mechanisms developed that are of joint interest to the ALLIANCE, NERIS and MELODI. It will also strengthen the bridge with the non-radiation community. Furthermore, COMET will develop strong mechanisms for knowledge exchange, dissemination and training to enhance and maintain European capacity, competence and skills in radioecology. The COMET consortium has 13 partners, expanding from the organisations within the FP7 STAR project. In particular, COMET partners from countries which have experienced major nuclear accidents (i.e. Ukraine and Japan) and/or who hold Observatory sites.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: Fission-2010-2.3.3 | Award Amount: 12.18M | Year: 2011

The 2010-2012 implementation plan of the European Sustainable Nuclear Industrial Initiative (ESNII), in the frame of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNE TP), establishes a very tight time schedule for the start of construction of the European Gen IV prototypes; namely the construction of the LFR ETPP (European Technology Pilot Plant) Myrrha will start in 2014 and that of the SFR Prototype ASTRID will start in 2017. The GEN IV reactors pose new challenges to the designers and scientists in terms of higher operating temperature and higher irradiation damage of materials with respect to the present technologies. In this frame, the MATTER (MATerials TEsting and Rules) Project intends to start well targeted researches to perform careful studies of materials behaviors in GEN IV operational conditions and to find out criteria for the correct use of these materials in relevant reactor applications. Aim of the present Project is to complement the materials researches, in the frame of the EERA guidelines, with the implementation of pre-normative rules. The Project comprehends: - Mature materials research focused on testing procedures for the new reactors conditions - Supporting experiments of mature materials aimed to liquid metals characterization and to pre-normative qualification, - Pre-normative activities, comprehensive of experiments, to revise and update the design rules, - Preparation and starting of the EERA Joint Program by harmonization of the structure and finalization of the preliminary program in accordance with the deployment strategy of the SNETP. A relevant advantage of this approach consists in the possibility to achieve a correct aiming for the expensive materials testing operations. Other advantages are the comparability of the experimental data, being produced by consensual procedures, and the immediate availability of the experimental results (at least for some properties) in view of their pre-normative deployment.


Patent
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation | Date: 2014-07-09

A process for making particles comprising a hydrophobic dopant for subsequent release therefrom is disclosed. The process comprises providing an emulsion comprising a hydrophilic phase and a hydrophobic phase dispersed in the hydrophilic phase, and reacting the precursor material to form the particles comprising the dopant therein. The hydrophobic phase comprises a precursor material and the dopant.


Patent
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation | Date: 2016-08-10

The present invention provides devices for storing and/or disposing of hazardous waste material. In some embodiments, the waste material includes nuclear waste such as calcined material. The device includes a container (500) having a container body (510), a filling port (540) configured to couple with a filling nozzle (260) and a filling plug (550), and an evacuation port (560) having a filter. The evacuation port (560) is configured to couple with an evacuation nozzle (300) and an evacuation plug (570). A disclosed method includes (a) adding hazardous waste material via a filling nozzle (260) coupled to a filling port (540) of a container (500), the container (500) including an evacuation port (560), (b) evacuation the container (500) during adding of the hazardous waste material via an evacuation nozzle (300) coupled to an evacuation port (570) of the container (500), (c) sealing the filling port, (d) heating the container (500), and (e) sealing the evacuation port (560).


Patent
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation | Date: 2014-09-04

The invention provides a process for forming a layered nanoparticle, comprising providing a suspension comprising a core particle in a first liquid, adding a second liquid to the suspension, and adding a reagent, or a precursor for the reagent, to the suspension. The second liquid is immiscible with the first liquid. If the reagent is added to the suspension, the reagent reacts to form a layer on the core particle to form the layered nanoparticle. If a precursor for the reagent is added to the suspension, the precursor is converted to the reagent, and the reagent reacts to form a layer on the core particle to form the layered nanoparticle.


Patent
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation | Date: 2014-07-09

A process for making particles comprising a hydrophobic dopant for subsequent release therefrom is disclosed. The process comprises providing an emulsion comprising a hydrophilic phase and a hydrophobic phase dispersed in the hydrophilic phase, and reacting the precursor material to form the particles comprising the dopant therein. The hydrophobic phase comprises a precursor material and the dopant.


Patent
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation | Date: 2014-07-09

The invention provides fluorinated compounds of formula (I): The compounds may be used in diagnosis or treatment of a disorder in a mammal characterised by an abnormal density of peripheral benzodiazepine receptors.


Patent
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation | Date: 2015-02-03

A process is provided for releasably encapsulating a biological entity. The process comprises combining a solution of a surfactant in a non-polar solvent with a precursor material and the biological entity to form an emulsion. The emulsion comprises a polar phase dispersed in a non-polar phase, wherein the polar phase comprises the biological entity. The particles comprising the biological entity are then formed from the polar phase.

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