Netherlands, Utrecht

Nanomedicine

when 25 July 2016 - 29 July 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1.5 ECTS
fee EUR 750

Nanomedicine offers exciting prospects in diagnostics and therapeutics. In this course we address the opportunities but also the challenges in developing nanotechnological applications from laboratory to clinical use.

1. Therapeutics
Many biologically active compounds that have the desired activity in vitro never make it to the clinic because:
a.they are not absorbed,
b.they are rapidly eliminated,
c.they reach locations in the body where they cause serious side effects, and/or
d.they cannot reach the target site.

By binding such compounds with nanostructures, the fate of the compound in the body is determined by the characteristics of the nanostructure. By carefully designing the nanostructure properties we can improve target accumulation while avoiding toxicity sensitive tissues. For some biological drugs, like non-coding RNAs, combination with a nanostrcuture appears even a requirement to cross the many barriers on its way to the site of action. For these drugs nanomedicine is an integral part of drug development.

2. Diagnostics
For diagnostics, the small volume and extremely high surface area of nanoparticles offers attractive properties for binding specific diagnostic analytes from biological fluids. Even more so, some projects like Google X even aim for a nanoparticle diagnostic platform within a patients blood stream. Also the special properties of nanoparticles, like surface plasmon resonance make high sensitivity detection possible.

3. Where diagnostics and therapeutics meet: extracellular vesicles
An exciting recent development are the nanosized extracellular vesicles which combines both worlds. On the one hand extracellular vesicles are nanoparticles that are produced by all cells and contain essentially all biomolecules that can be found on and inside the cell it originates from. When these nanovesicles enter bodily fluids they can be isolated and offer a snapshot of the distant producing cell, which can confer important information on the cell' state. In addition, the nanovesicles are produced by cells as a means of (distant) communication. The contents of the vesicles bears messages for acceptor cells that can respond. Form these vesicles we can learn how Nature has solved the difficulties in delivery of biological compounds like RNA

Course leader

Prof. dr. R.M. Schiffelers

Target group

Master students from a program in the biomedical sciences

Course aim

To learn about the opportunities but also the challenges in developing nanotechnological applications from laboratory to clinical use.

Fee info

EUR 750: Course + course materials + housing
EUR 550: Course + course materials

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