NanoSight to Supply Instrumentation for Wellcome Trust Technology Development Grant
News May 22, 2009
NanoSight announces its involvement in the research and development of a new generation of novel instrumentation and methodologies aimed at measuring cellular nanoparticles in plasma and urine as biomarkers of a broad range of human disease conditions.
The research will be led by a world-class team from the University of Oxford which has recently been awarded a Wellcome Trust Technology Development Grant to work on the detection and characterization of nanoparticles in the early detection of human disease.
The team, which is led by Professor Ian Sargent at the Women's Centre of the John Radcliffe Hospital and is part of the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, includes Professor Chris Redman (Obstetrics and Gynaecology), Dr Paul Harrison (Haemophilia and Thrombosis Centre), Professor Adrian Harris (Cancer Research UK) and Professor Peter Dobson (Begbroke Science Park). Other collaborators include Dr Leanne Hodson and Dr Frederick Karpe of the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism.
This exciting project involves the detection in the bloodstream of tiny fragments of cells, microparticles (100nm -1µm) and exosomes (30nm - 100nm), which are important for how cells communicate with each other. The numbers of these particles have been found to be significantly raised in the blood of patients with a number of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, pre-eclampsia, clotting problems and cancer, raising the possibility that measuring these particles in blood could be used to predict those at risk. However, their detection and size distribution measurement pose considerable challenges.
Alerted to NanoSight’s capabilities by Professor Dobson who recognized the fit between Professor Sargent’s needs and the NanoSight technology of which he was an early adopter, the Oxford group discussed their requirements with NanoSight’s scientists and, following very promising initial results, successfully applied for and were awarded £322,000 of Wellcome Trust funding in support of this important 3 year project.
Based on their innovative technology and capabilities, a novel fluorescence variant of NanoSight’s existing instrumentation will be developed by NanoSight in collaboration with the Oxford scientists to enable these micro- and nanoparticles to be detected and characterized in plasma and urine samples for the first time. By breaking through the limitations of existing fluorescence microparticle technology (such a flow cytometry) NanoSight hope to help open up a new class of diagnostic biomarkers in the fight against some of the most common and important diseases to afflict humans.
Nanoparticles show great promise as diagnostic tools and drug delivery agents. But until now, most nanoparticles had to be injected into the bloodstream because they weren’t absorbed well orally. Now, researchers have modified nanoparticles to improve their uptake in the gastrointestinal tract.