NIH has launched nanomedicine roadmap initiative:
NIH will begin its effort by establishing Nanomedicine Development Centers, which will serve as the intellectual and technological centerpiece of the NIH Nanomedicine Roadmap Initiative. These centers will be staffed by highly multidisciplinary scientific teams including biologists, physicians, mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists. Research conducted over the first few years will be directed toward gathering extensive information about the physical properties of intracellular structures that will inform us about how biology’s molecular machines are built.
As this catalogue of the interactions between molecules and larger structures develops, patterns will emerge, and we will have a greater understanding of the intricate operations of molecular structures, processes, and networks inside living cells. Mapping these networks and understanding how they change over time is crucial to help us understand nature’s rules of biological design that, in turn, will enable researchers to use this information to correct biological defects in unhealthy cells. This knowledge will lead to the development of new tools that will work at the “nano” scale and allow scientists to build synthetic biological devices, such as tiny sensors to scan for the presence of infectious agents or metabolic imbalances that could spell trouble for the body, and miniature devices to destroy the infectious agents or fix the “broken” parts in the cells. This initiative is an important component of the NIH Roadmap endeavor because these tools will be developed and applied, not just for a single disease or particular type of cell, but for a wide range of tissues and diseases.