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Cutting edge nanomedicine for basic research and innovative health care solutions

�Nanomedicine is the next revolution in healthcare� When analyzing the results from one experiment and planning for the next, we do not limit our minds to what we can do, but ask ourselves - what do we want to do. If not possible with current methodologies, we invent the technology needed. An open mind to engineering sciences sparks our biomedical research in new directions, while at the same time generating novel tools for preclinical and clinical applications. Agneta Richter Dahlfors, Professor in cellular microbiology, Head of The Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center

Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center The mission of Swedish Mecial Nanoscience Center is to establish the area of nanomedicine as a means to meet the demands of future innovative health care solutions. Using interdisciplinary basic research, often referred to as ‘curiosity-driven’ research, as our driving force we promote the integration of cutting-edge nanotechnology and biomedical research. As new concepts and technologies mature, focus of our projects is gradually shifted towards clinically relevant problems. Advancement of the area of nanomedicine requires engagement of a new breed of scientist with the enthusiasm, devotion and competence to communicate and work across many disciplines. Together, they help generate a highly multidisciplinary scientific environment, producing new knowledge that ultimately becomes the stepping-stone towards novel therapies for the benefit of the patient. The potential of nanomedicine was recognized by the academic, governmental, and industrial partners (Karolinska Institutet, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems VINNOVA and Carl Bennet AB) who teamed up in a joint venture to launch the Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center in 2009.

Where technology and medicine meet Nanomedicine is a research area that is likely to shape, direct, and change future medical treatments in a revolutionary manner over the next decades. New treatment modalities, more efficient therapies, and multimodal highresolution diagnostic tools are amongst the high expectations our society holds for the future of nanomedicine. This new field embraces a combination of nanotechnology and nanoscience. The former enables objects and materials to be created and controlled in the nanosize range, and the latter promotes the studies of specific phenomena in the nanoscale range. A perfect fit is obtained when applying these features in medical research, since dimensions in the nanoscale opens for new ways of interacting with biological material. The next decade will reveal whether the new, exciting area termed nanomedicine will fulfill its high expectations. Its applicability in medicine is endless, ranging from early diagnosis and curing of specific diseases to producing generic devices for basic research applications. New concepts of medication are also likely to emerge as a result of strong, interdisciplinary engagements. Being committed to develop highly integrated research programs that involves academia, clinical research centers, industries and regulatory bodies, the Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center intends to foster a new generation of scientists as a means to ensure efficient knowledge integration.

The Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center has positioned itself in between the areas of medicine and technology, with the means of communicating in both directions.

Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center — an anchor point for engineering science applications in a life-science setting

Patient Patients Address needs where

Matching medical and technical competence

Enthusiasm for crossing research boundaries

- Address needs where new technology is required.

new technology is required.

Bring basic research to the clinic. -Bring basic research

to the clinic.

Medicine Medicine

Infection Infection Stem cells Tissue microbiology Cancer Cancermicrobiology Tissue Neurologicaldisorders disorders Neurological

Regenerative medicine


Technology Technology

Organic bioelectronics

Tissue engineering Nanoparticles Nanoparticles Theranostics Theranostics DNAorigami nanotechnology DNA Organic bioelectronics Microfluidics Biosensors Biomimetic tools Microelectronics

Intellectual synergy 1+1=3


Lower barrier between disciplines to ease fruitful collaborative research

Our research The cross-disciplinary nature of nanomedicine has formed the research activities within the Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center to embrace a diverse set of topics, building on defined medical and technical core competences, and a continuously developing technology portfolio. Commonly, any new device or tool developed to solve a medical problem within one project soon crosses into and finds use within another. Research at the Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center currently embraces medical areas such as infectious diseases, cancer, neuroscience in its broadest definition, and tissue engineering for stem cell regeneration, however, this list is expected to expand in the future.

Nanoparticles In the fight against cancer, many scientists are engaged in strategies to provide better diagnostic tools and novel treatment options. In a combined effort to improve on the chemotherapeutics per se, as well as the ways drugs are delivered to the patient, nanodevices termed �theranostics� are being developed. Theranostic nanoparticles combine therapy and diagnostics in the same device, to treat and image efficacy with one single tool. The primary advantage of theranostics is that they are not imited to therapy or imaging, but allow for combinations, to give coincident diagnostic information plus delivery of therapeutics.

Integrated Pathophysiology of Infection Technological advances commonly ignite new lines of biomedical research. Intravital 2-photon microscopy represents one such major advance, as this fluorescence-based imaging technique allows tissues in live animals to be monitored at high resolution with minimal tissue damage. With excellent spatial and temporal precision, the infection is studied in real-time from the moment a bacterium enters the organ, while the associated tissue responses and changes in organ physiology is monitored. Collectively, this intravital approach generates an integrated view of the infection process.

Tissue Microbiology


The new branch of microbial pathogenesis termed ’tissue micromicrobiology biology’ combines the fields of cellular microbiology, histology and physiology in one. The infected organ acts as test tube in which experimental parameters are set by the tissue’s own response during infection. Novel tools, such as optical nanoprobes and on-line biosensing are however required to fully understand infection-associated Histology Cellular microbiology changes in the local microenvironment, which in turn may affect the bacterial physiology. Better understanding of the infection process is required to find alternatives Cell biology Microbiology to antibiotic therapy.


Microfluidics Traditionally, chemostats are used in controlled studies of bacterial population dynamics to amalgamate evolution with ecology in mathematically describable systems. Going beyond these large systems with low sensitivity, miniaturized versions of clinically relevant flow systems are developed based on microfluidic devices. These devices aim to facilitate the physiological monitoring of as few as single bacterial cells to as many as infection-relevant densities, while studying bacterial response and behavior in numerous controlled settings including exposure to antimicrobials.

DNA Nanotechnology Along with its major role as carrier of genetic material, the biological macromolecule DNA serves as excellent construction material. DNA nanoconstruction, so-called DNA-origami, allows nanostructures to be produced with unparalleled precision, enabling rationally designed nanoscale patterning. DNA nanoconstruction and DNA self-assembly problems is currently attracting major attention as enabling technologies for the development of novel therapeutics, diagnostic tools and new research tools.

Organic Bioelectronics Organic bioelectronics is a young research field, in which the characteristic features of conducting polymer materials are utilised to create novel communication interfaces between man-made electronics and biological systems. This soft material is conveniently integrated with cells and tissues to provide sensor or actuator functions. The latter was recently demonstrated in a novel machine-to-brain interfaces - the ’artificial nerve cell’ - using the auditory sensory system. A series of organic bioelectronic devices, such as delivery devices, chemical transistors and surface switches, collectively form a novel line of tools to obtain precise, electronic control of biological functions.

Biomimetic Tools and Regenerative Medicine In regenerative medicine, new approaches are developed aimed to restore functions to organs. Severe donor organ shortage in solid organ transplantation, as well as the exposure of transplanted patients to high risk of infections and tumorigenesis during the sustained immunosuppression given to prevent rejection, calls for such new strategies. To enable regeneration, biomaterial implants, primarily based on collagen-containing hydrogels, are developed. A clinical Phase 1 study suggests that use of biomimetic materials may become a viable alternative to donated cornea transplantation.

Interdisciplinary educational efforts Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center aims to establish curricula in the interdisciplinary research area of nanomedicine. Targeting both national and international students from multidisciplinary areas such as medicine, biomedicine, chemistry, physics and engingeering, the center offers courses at the doctoral level (Ph.D.): • Medical Nanocscience • Innovations in Cancer Therapy • Scientific Visualization and Presentation in 3D • Summer research school in Nanomedicine - medical focus area shifts on annual basis. Location and hosts rotate between Karolinska Institutet - Keio University, Tokyo - Peking University, Beijing.

Photo: Peter Kjäll, Bildmakarna

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. Its mission is to contribute to the improvement of human health through research and education. Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country´s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. Since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

Contact Gunilla Jacobson, Ph.D. International and Industry Relations Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center Tel: +46 8 524 870 69 Swedish Medical Nanoscience Center Department of Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet Retzius v채g 8 SE-171 77 Stockholm SWEDEN

Carl Bennet AB

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Swedish Medical Nanoscience Centre  

Nanomedicine is the next revolution in healthcare

Swedish Medical Nanoscience Centre  

Nanomedicine is the next revolution in healthcare

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