NHLBI renews programs for nanotechnology research

$65 million in contracts to help advance disease detection, delivery of therapies

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is awarding $65 million to renew its Programs for Nanotechnology Research to help researchers develop tools based on materials designed at the molecular level to detect and deliver treatments for heart, lung, and blood diseases.

The four contracts, to be funded over five years, bring chemists, engineers, and physical and material scientists together with physicians, biologists, and clinical researchers from the heart, lung, and blood research fields.  These interdisciplinary teams will create nanotechnology solutions for projects such as detecting pulmonary infections and repairing heart tissue damage.

The programs build upon progress made since the original funding in 2005.  The new projects will have a greater focus on moving technological advances into practice.

Each award will also support techniques to establish a pool of investigators capable of applying nanotechnology solutions to problems in cardiovascular, pulmonary, and blood disease.  The programs will be supported by an administrative coordinating center, to be awarded in 2011.

“Nanotechnology has enormous potential for faster and more sensitive detection of disease and for targeted disease treatments,” said Susan B. Shurin, M.D., acting director of the NHLBI.  “We are committed to harnessing these new technologies for heart, lung, and blood diseases, and moving them towards application in the real world.”

Georgia Institute of Technology (Gang Bao, Ph.D.) is collaborating with Emory University and Professor Ferrara’s lab to develop nanoparticle-based tools to image and deliver therapeutics to atherosclerotic plaque and to enhance stem cell repair of damaged heart tissue.