July 28, 2010
Center for Nanosciences, Kochi
The Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) recently awarded a grant for a joint center proposal submitted by the Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine, in partnership with four US universities and one partner from the Indian industry.
Together with Stanford University (California), Rice University (Houston), University of Texas (Houston) and University of Connecticut, Health Centre (Hartford), Amrita will begin work on Cell-Targeted Diagnostics and Therapy using Nanomaterials.
Cellworks Inc., Bangalore will partner with the five university group to execute the proposal.
“A virtual networked center will be setup,” stated Dr. Shantikumar Nair, Director of the Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine and Dean of Research, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.
“The funds for the joint center activities have already been released to the nodal Indian institution i.e. the Amrita Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine, for facilitating the activities of the virtual centre.”
Dr. Nair will lead this center that will focus primarily on cell-targeted diagnostics and therapy using nanomaterials.
“If the diagnostic or therapeutic agent is directly targeted to cells, then it greatly enhances the opportunity to diagnose specific cells that are diseased,” he explained.
“This method can also enhance the opportunity to grow healthy tissue. When cells are targeted, it is easier to send the right signals to them to regenerate the tissue.”
The work will focus on the development of a tissue-engineered product using nanomaterial-based scaffolds of bone, cartilage and liver tissue.
In addition, a diagnostic product using targeted nanoparticles for early cancer diagnostics will be the focus of research. This product may be extended to cancer therapeutics as well.
“The objective is to create a collaborative platform for joint product development in this area,” stated Dr. Nair.
The center will facilitate the mutual exchange of faculty and students of nanotechnology and basic medical sciences between Amrita and the other universities. This mobility will be supported for a period of at least two years.
“We look forward to achieving the scientific objectives and goals envisioned in the proposal,” stated Dr. Nair.