Scientists at The University of Nottingham are developing microscopic organic medical imaging systems to support a new generation of breakthrough treatments for currently incurable diseases and chronic life-threatening illnesses.
The nano-transducers, made from fat found in the membrane of naturally occurring biological cells, could have a whole range of medical applications, including the potential to detect tumours earlier, monitoring electrical activity in the brain and tracking individual cells as they move around the human body.
The work is being led by Dr Melissa Mather, who said: "This research is very exciting as it paves the way for the development of tiny transducers that could be used in the human body without any risk of toxicity.
"There is a growing need for sophisticated new imaging systems capable of studying cells and tissues in the body to support the development of emerging treatments that use human cells to treat conditions such as Parkinson's disease and spinal injury, as well as chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
"The hope is that by introducing new healthy cells into the body they will help to restore the function of injured or diseased cells but to ensure these therapies have a positive effect, it is important that the location and behaviour of introduced cells are tracked once in the body. This is a challenging problem which current technologies are struggling to address."
To support the work, Dr Mather, based in the University's Institute of Biophysics, Imaging and Optical Sciences, has received a Career Acceleration Fellowship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council that will provide funding of more than 730,000 over the next five years.
Transducers are devices, traditionally made from single crystals such as quartz or ceramics, which can convert energy, such as electrical to mechanical. They are used as a method of testing in a wide range of
|Contact: Emma Thorne|
University of Nottingham