£750k boost for the development of Nano-materials

Researchers from the University of Liverpool have received £750k in European funding for a project that will help developers bring forward nano-materials for medical applications.

The REFINE (Regulatory Science Framework for Nano(bio)material-based Medical Products and Devices) project aims to define a new regulatory framework for the development and translation nanotechnologies for use in biomedical applications.

Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of matter at sizes close to the molecular level and produces particles that provide bespoke opportunities for drug delivery or diagnostics. The purpose of the project is to develop a new regulatory framework for the evaluation of nanomaterials to help accelerate their development. The aim is to understand if additional specific assessments required beyond the current regulatory framework for small molecules.

The project brings together thirteen organisations from eleven different countries. The Liverpool contribution is being led by Dr Neill Liptrott, and involves Dr Marco Siccardi and Professor Andrew Owen from the University’s Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology in the Institute of Translational Medicine.

The Liverpool researchers will focus on interaction with the immune system and are also developing experimental and computational models to predict exposure and biodistribution and to better define testing strategies for new materials. The design of novel lab and computer based approaches for the characterisation of nanotechnology distribution and toxicity will support a safer, more cost and time efficient testing, in a framework that will remain sustainable beyond the project.

The grant is funded by the European Commission as part of Horizon 2020.

Dr Liptrott, said: “Nanotechnology is already being used in many different applications and its use is increasing, particularly in biomedical applications. In the future, nanotechnologies will help us to make more efficient use of resources and address the medical needs of an ageing population.

“The aim of this project is to ensure the safe development and application of nanotechnologies for medical use by providing tools for risk assessment and management along the entire life cycle of development.”

Find out more about our Advanced Materials research here.

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