From a slowing economy to geopolitical tensions in the South China Sea, it is a testing time for China’s ruling Communist party. But its science aspirations seem unbridled. On 16 March, China approved its 13th Five-Year Plan. A draft version, as well as statements by key politicians, make it clear that innovation through science and technology is a priority. China also intends for its research expenditure to rise to 2.5% of gross domestic product by 2020, from less than 2.2% over the past five years. Reductions in energy use and the development of low-carbon energy sources feature in the latest five-year plan. For some of the other themes that are set to shape Chinese research over the next five years, Nature spoke to a range of scientists. In 2012, ‘oceanauts’ aboard the research submersible Jiaolong descended more than 7,000 metres beneath the waves, marking China’s entry into an elite club of nations capable of reaching the hadal zone — the deepest part of the ocean, which begins at 6,000 metres below sea level. Over the next five years, Chinese scientists will build one crewed and one uncrewed submersible, according to a plan released by the science ministry in February, each of which can reach depths of 11,000 metres — the very bottom of the hadal zone. "For deep-sea technology, this five years will be a golden period,” says Cui Weicheng of the Hadal Science and Technology Research Center at Shanghai Ocean University. The uncrewed vessel will be similar to Nereus, the advanced US submersible that imploded in 2014 and will not be replaced. The crewed vessel will hold at least two people, more than the Deepsea Challenger, which took film director James Cameron on a solo dive to the deepest point of the Mariana Trench in 2012. The hadal zone is one of the most poorly studied habitats on Earth, and is home to mysterious tube worms, sea cucumbers and jellyfish. Researchers are also interested in its role in the carbon cycle, because the microbes there digest a surprising amount of organic matter. Chinese scientists hope to use both submersibles to explore the zone in more detail than ever before. Independently of the latest five-year plan, Cui has also developed a 'movable laboratory' (W. Cui et al. Meth. Oceanogr. 10, 178–193; 2014) composed of three landers, a robotic submersible and a crewed vehicle.The robotic submersible and first lander were tested down to 4,000 metres last October. A mother ship that controls the robot and landers is due to be launched on 24 March, and the first scientific expedition is planned for August, in the New Britain Trench off Papua New Guinea. Together these projects “could help shorten the gap" between Chinese ocean science and technology and the most advanced capabilities elsewhere, says Cui. The United States, Europe and Japan have each announced their own massive projects to map the brain, and China has had one in the works for several years. The latest five-year plan calls for brain science to be a priority — and most of the resources are expected to be channelled through the China project, which is due to be officially announced shortly, say Chinese researchers. The brain project is expected to focus on brain disease, in particular through studying animal models, as well as artificial intelligence. Scientists in China acknowledge that they are far behind the rest of the world in terms of top-level talent in brain science, but several factors could enable them to catch up. China’s neuroscience community is growing — the Chinese Neuroscience Society now has 6,000 members, compared to just 1,500 ten years ago; the country has tens of millions of patients with psychiatric or degenerative brain disease that will facilitate clinical studies; and it has hundreds of thousands of research monkeys. This last factor has already allowed Chinese researchers to take the lead in using gene-editing technologies to produce models of autism and other conditions. The bounty of research animals is also starting to draw interest from abroad — a new primate research centre in Shenzhen is being jointly established with the Cambridge-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology. With actor Jackie Chan and basketball star Yao Ming involved in campaigns attacking the trade in protected animals such as bears, which are milked for their bile, and elephants, targeted for their ivory, conservation has become a high profile issue in China. The latest five-year plan will launch efforts to protect the giant panda, tiger and Asian elephant in the wild, says Zhang Li, a conservation biologist at Beijing Normal University. "There will be a big budget to restore habitat for these species,” says Zhang. The projects will focus on corridors between protected areas that greatly increase the habitats by letting the animals move from one reserve to another. A biodiversity hotspot between Laos, Myanmar and the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan requires protection in particular, says Stuart Pimm, a biodiversity specialist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Forest there has been converted into rubber plantations, he says, “and the level of hunting is worse than any place I’ve ever been”. But a focus on protecting pandas, elephants and tigers could leave other animals at risk, he pointed out in November (B. V. Li and S. L. Pimm Conserv. Biol. 30, 329–339; 2016). In the wake of the five-year plan, China will gain a new funding initiative called 'Stem Cell and Translational Research', according to stem cell researchers Pei Gang, president of Tongji University, and Pei Duanqing, director of the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health. The grants will be awarded under a new competitive review and evaluation process, replacing a system that critics said rewarded scientific and political connections rather than merit. Following the last five year plan, China invested roughly 3 billion yuan (about US$460 million) in stem-cell research. The pair say that there will be a big increase over the next five years but did not give exact figures. “Given the size of its population and the wide spectrum of unmet medical needs, China recognizes the promise of stem-cell and regenerative medicine as one of the key thrusts for modernizing its medical service system,” says Pei Gang. In a country that places great value on social harmony, air and water pollution are the trigger for an increasing number of protests. Under a plan that began in 2012, the government is already trying to reduce the levels of airborne particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometres across (PM ), which are small enough to penetrate deep into the respiratory system. By 2017, it wants to achieve reductions of 25% in the Beijing area, 20% in the Yangtze River Delta and greater Shanghai area, and 15% in the Pearl River Delta. Major nationwide environmental initiatives outlined in the latest five-year plan will tackle transportation, clean energy and environmental protection, says Wei-xian Zhang, director of the State Key Lab for Pollution Control at Tongji University in Shanghai. The government will also target pollution black spots, such as smog in Beijing and fertilizer pollution in Lake Tai near Shanghai. Funding to control air pollution alone will increase by at least four times, says Zhang, and several new national laboratories focusing on clean energy and environmental research have also been funded for the next five years. “China is and will continue to be the largest market in air-, soil- and water-pollution control technologies,” says Zhang. “To some degree, the whole country will be a huge laboratory for environmental research, such as smog mitigation.”
Austin J.,Aushon BioSystems |
Holway A.H.,Translational Research
Methods in Molecular Biology | Year: 2011
A review is provided of contact-printing technologies for the fabrication of planar protein microarrays. The key printing performance parameters for creating protein arrays are reviewed. Solid pin and quill pin technologies are described and their strengths and weaknesses compared. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011. Source
Home > Press > 50 years after the release of the film 'Fantastic Voyage,' science upstages fiction: Science upstages fiction with nanorobotic agents designed to travel in the human body to treat cancer Abstract: Fifty years to the day after the film Fantastic Voyage was first shown in theatres, the Polytechnique Montréal Nanorobotics Laboratory is unveiling a unique medical interventional infrastructure devoted to the fight against cancer. The outcome of 15 years of research conducted by Professor Sylvain Martel and his team, it enables microscopic nanorobotic agents to be guided through the vascular systems of living bodies, delivering drugs to targeted areas. An action-packed 100,000-kilometre journey in the human body Fantastic Voyage recounted the adventure of a team of researchers shrunk to microscopic size who, aboard a miniature submarine, travelled into a patient's body to conduct a medical operation in a surgically inoperable area. This science fiction classic has now been eclipsed by procedures and protocols developed by Professor Martel's multidisciplinary team comprising engineers, scientists and experts from several medical specialties working together on these projects that herald the future of medicine. "Our work represents a new vision of cancer treatments, with our goal being to develop the most effective transportation systems for the delivery of therapeutic agents right to tumour cells, to areas unreachable by conventional treatments," says Professor Martel, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Medical Nanorobotics and Director of the Polytechnique Montréal Nanorobotics Laboratory. Conveying nanorobotic agents into the bloodstream to reach the targeted area right up to the tiniest capillaries without getting lost in this network stretching about 100,000 kilometres--two-and-a-half times the Earth's circumference--is a scenario that has been turned into reality. This is an adventure-filled journey for these microscopic vehicles that must confront the powerful onslaught of arterial blood flow, the mazes of the vascular network and the narrowness of the capillaries--just like the film's heroes! "Doctors" invisible to the naked eye To conduct this fantastic voyage, Professor Martel's team is developing various procedures, often playing a pioneering role. These include navigating carriers just a fraction of the thickness of a hair through the arteries using a clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) platform, the first in the world to achieve this in a living organism, in 2006. This exploit was followed in 2011 by the guidance of drug-loaded micro-transporters into the liver of a rabbit. Limits to the miniaturization of artificial nanorobots prevent them from penetrating the smallest blood vessels, however. For this, Professor Martel plans to have them play the role of Trojan horses, enclosing an "army" of special bacteria loaded with drugs that they will release at the edges of these small vessels. Able to follow paths smaller than a red blood cell, these self-propelled bacteria move at high speed (200 microns per second, or 200 times their size per second). Once they are inside a tumour, they are able to naturally detect hypoxic (oxygen-starved) zones, which are the most active zones and the hardest to treat by conventional means, including radiotherapy, and then deliver the drug. Professor Martel's team has succeeded in using this procedure to administer therapeutic agents in colorectal tumours in mice, guiding them through a magnetic field. This has just been the subject of an article in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology, titled Magneto-gerotactic Bacteria Deliver Drug-containing Nanoliposomes to Tumour Hypoxic Regions. "This advanced procedure, which provides optimal targeting of a tumour while preserving surrounding healthy organs and tissue, unlike current chemotherapy or radiotherapy, heralds a new era in cancer treatment," says Dr. Gerald Batist, Director of the McGill Centre for Translational Research in Cancer, based at the Jewish General Hospital, which is collaborating on the project. Professor Martel's projects also focus on the inaccessibility of certain parts of the body, such as the brain, to transporting agents. In 2015, his team also stood out by successfully opening a rat's blood-brain barrier, temporarily and without damage, providing access to targeted areas of the brain. This feat was achieved through a slight rise in temperature caused by exposing nanoparticles to a radiofrequency field. "At present, 98% of drug molecules cross the blood-brain barrier only with great difficulty," notes Dr. Anne-Sophie Carret, a specialist in hematology-oncology at Montréal's Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine and one of the doctors collaborating on the project. "This means surgery is often the only way to treat some patients who have serious brain diseases. But certain tumours are inoperable because of their location. Radiation therapy, for its part, is not without medium- and long-term risk for the brain. This work therefore offers real hope to patients suffering from a brain tumour." $4.6 million in equipment for a one-of-a-kind future medical laboratory This new investment in the Nanorobotics Laboratory represents $4.6 million in infrastructure, with contributions of $1.85 million each from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), and the Government of Québec. Companies including Siemens Canada and Mécanik have also made strategic contributions to the project. This laboratory now combines platforms to help develop medical protocols for transferring the procedures developed by Professor Martel to a clinical setting. The laboratory contains the following equipment: a clinical MRI platform to navigate microscopic carriers directly into specific areas in the vascular system and for 3D visualization of these carriers in the body; a specially-developed platform that generates the required magnetic field sequences to guide special bacteria loaded with therapeutic agents into tumours; a robotic station (consisting of a robotized bed) for moving a patient from one platform to another; a hyperthermia platform for temporary opening of the blood-brain barrier; a mobile X-ray system; a facility to increase the production of these cancer-fighting bacteria. "We are pleased to contribute to the development of state-of-the-art infrastructure in Montréal that will help create medical procedures that promise to revolutionize cancer treatments," says Gilles Patry, CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation. For her part, Dominique Anglade, Québec Minister of the Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister Responsible for the Digital Strategy, states: "The Government of Québec is proud to support Professor Martel's work, which reflects the excellence and avant-gardist nature of Québec research in the life sciences sector. Moreover, the numerous partnerships established in the Nanorobotics Laboratory are bolstering the industry's expertise and capacity to innovate." Dr. Gilles Soulez, whose team at the imaging research platform of the research centre of the Centre hospitalier de Université de Montréal has been the first collaborator with Professor Martel's team in the development of these protocols, states: "The nanomedicine heralded by Professor Martel's projects will enable us to improve the targeting of tumours during liver-tumour chemoembolization procedures and thereby to treat tumours more effectively while lowering systemic toxicity and reducing side effects." Christophe Guy, CEO of Polytechnique Montréal, says: "The projects being conducted by Professor Martel and his team are representative of our institution's leadership in biomedical engineering teaching and research. They also embody our vision of an area of research that has a positive impact on society and our fellow citizens." For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
The MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS), an interdisciplinary research center funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), invites MIT faculty and research staff with principal investigator privileges to submit applications for funding of pilot projects related to environmental health, to support either basic or translational research. Please see the NIEHS strategic plan to gain understanding of the types of projects the center plans to fund. Preference is given to projects that address the NIEHS Strategic Goals. The center anticipates funding of $25,000 in direct costs for each project. The center encourages proposals from junior faculty, any faculty member wishing to branch into new areas of environmental health research, and faculty who are involved in interdisciplinary environmental health collaborations — for example between engineers and scientists. Projects can be anywhere on the spectrum between basic sciences and clinical translation. In all cases, the trajectory to human application must be clear and feasible. Translational pilot projects will be evaluated separately from those in the basic sciences. These projects are funded through the generosity of Vilma and Lionel Kinney, and are named in honor of Theron G. Randolph, a pioneer in the fields of environmental and natural products medicine. Applicants should submit a four-page research plan that outlines the specific aims and research strategy (i.e. significant, innovation, and approach). In the project title, please add a parenthesis indicating (Basic Research) or (Translational Research). Applications should also include a detailed budget form (Form Page 4), budget justification, and a biographical sketch using the NIH PHS398 forms. Completed applications should be submitted via email to Amanda Tat, administrative officer of the CEHS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions regarding the application process should be directed to Professor John M. Essigmann at email@example.com or Professor Bevin P. Engelward at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for this call is June 30, with an anticipated start date of Sept. 1. Please visit the program website for more information.
Home > Press > Are some people more likely to develop adverse reactions to nanoparticle-based medicines? Abstract: The complement system, the human body's first line of defense against blood-borne intruders, is blamed for infusion-related reactions to nanomedicines, but the conventional models used to predict the risk of cardiopulmonary side effects in response to nanopharmaceuticals might not well represent what actually occurs in humans, according to an article in Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free for download on the Nucleic Acid Therapeutics website until March 1, 2016. S. Moein Moghimi, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, questions the validity of pig and sheep models to predict the risk of infusion-related reactions to nanoparticle-based medicines in humans. In the article "Complement Propriety and Conspiracy in Nanomedicine: Perspective and a Hypothesis", the author proposes that some individuals may be highly sensitive to nanoparticles due to a particular liver or lung disorder or a predisposition to liver or lung disease. Future studies should compare human lung tissue from patients with and without liver and inflammatory lung disease to explore the role of the complement system in nanopharmaceutical-related infusion reactions. In addition, a more realistic and predictive model for examining the risk of cardiopulmonary side effects associate with nanomedicines may be a rat with cirrhosis of the liver, suggests Dr. Moghimi. "We are acutely aware of the need for carefully designed and conducted clinical trials to be properly informed by the best available evidence from in vitro and in vivo models. Nucleic Acid Therapeutics encourages and welcomes opinion pieces as exemplified by Dr. Moghimi's contribution that help facilitate safe translation to the clinic," says Executive Editor Graham C. Parker, PhD, The Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Detroit, MI. About Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Human Gene Therapy, ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies, Applied In Vitro Toxicology, and DNA and Cell Biology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website. About the Journal Nucleic Acid Therapeutics is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published bimonthly in print and online that focuses on cutting-edge basic research, therapeutic applications, and drug development using nucleic acids or related compounds to alter gene expression. The Journal is under the editorial leadership of Editor-in-Chief Bruce A. Sullenger, PhD, Duke Translational Research Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, and Executive Editor Graham C. Parker, PhD. Nucleic Acid Therapeutics is the official journal of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Nucleic Acid Therapeutics website. About the Society The Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society is an open, non-profit forum to foster academia- and industry-based research and development of oligonucleotide therapeutics. The society brings together the expertise from different angles of oligonucleotide research to create synergies and to bring the field of oligonucleotides to its full therapeutic potential. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.