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Nanotechnology Research is Making a Difference Now

Nanotechnology research in Houston continues to build and one leader in the field wants people to understand this is not a technology for the future ... it is making a difference now. Houston Public Radio's Capella Tucker reports.

Doctor Mauro Ferrari moved to Houston to become the first President of the Alliance for NanoHealth. It is made up of several Houston area research institutions including the University of Houston, Rice University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston among others. Ferrari says nano technology is making a difference in health today. He says there are two major areas of drug treatments for cancer based on nano-technology and more to come.

"Hundreds of drugs that have the pipeline of development so these will offer the advantage of greater effect with fewer side effects. More therapeutic efficacy and fewer side effects which are at the heart of everything I try to do in the pharmaceutical world. So my expectation is that the nano drugs will revolutionize medicine."

An issue that researchers are constantly dealing with is translational research ... that is getting treatments from the lab to the bedside. NanoHealth developments may have the same obstacles, but Ferrari is optimistic.

"I act as an advisor for the Food and Drug Administration and the FDA has been very healthful in trying to develop new guidelines that can address some of the concerns that people have on the safety side of nanotechnology. Most people will tell you the concern on the clinical translation is the regulatory side. I trust that the FDA will be able to address the concerns. The process of approval of nanotech based drugs will be essentially the same. It will actually be faster than those four regular drugs."

Ferrari says the Alliance for NanoHealth will have a role in getting nanotechnology products to the bedside.

"to make sure that the developmental technologies go to the clinic you need to have what you call good laboratory practices good manufacturing practices type of facilities for regular approval of the FDA. Who's going to do that? Technology type of universities doesn't have the focus on clinical translation typically. Medical institutions don't have the focus on technology development."

Ferrari says that's where the Alliance comes in ... to develop the infrastructure needed to bring nanotechnology in the lab to the clinic. Capella Tucker, Houston Public Radio News.

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