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University awarded £1.7M to develop nanotechnology for use in health care
Date:5/7/2009

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have been awarded 1.7 million to investigate how nanotechnology could be used to improve the effectiveness of pharmaceutical drugs.

Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of matter at sizes close to molecular level to produce particles that are small clusters of molecules. The collaborative project between the Departments of Chemistry and Pharmacology will apply nanotechnology techniques to develop new approaches for future drug development.

Many medicines currently in use have poor solubility and have to be administered in large doses to ensure that enough of the drug is absorbed into the body to be effective. Scientists, working closely with industry experts, will investigate the possibility of creating viable drugs in nanoparticle form each particle being approximately 1/800th the width of a human hair. By examining how successfully they can be absorbed into the intestine, and in what form they pass into the bloodstream, they will also look to establish if nanotechnology can reduce the toxicity of drugs by using smaller doses without losing effect.

The project will focus on the HIV virus the incurable disease that can lead to AIDS. There are more than 20 HIV medicines already on the market, which aim to prevent AIDS by ensuring that the disease cannot replicate uncontrollably in the body. It is important to maintain efficacy while avoiding excessively high or low doses that allow the development of resistance to the drugs. HIV drugs are a lifelong commitment and the doses currently needed have significant associated toxicity when administered over a lifetime. Complications include heart problems, osteoporosis and visible fat redistribution.

Professor Steve Rannard, from the University's Department of Chemistry, said: "Control of matter on this nano-scale is gathering global interest and several new nano-medicines are now commercially available. Our approach will use existing
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Contact: Laura Johnson
laura.johnson@liv.ac.uk
01-517-942-026
University of Liverpool
Source:Eurekalert

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