The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) said it would work with statewide collaborators to create the Arkansas Nanomedicine Center (ANC) in the school’s College of Medicine.
Nanomedicine, an offshoot of nanotechnology, refers to highly specific medical research and applications at the molecular scale for curing disease or repairing damaged tissues.
“Over the past few years, more and more of our researchers and clinicians have been exploring applications for nanomedicine,” said Debra H. Fiser, M.D., dean of the UAMS College of Medicine. “In an institution as large as ours, an extraordinary amount of knowledge, experience and resources is spread across many laboratories and departments, not to mention our partnering institutions. The key is to bring people together, so that new discoveries can be translated into better medical care more efficiently and effectively.”
To coordinate efforts, UAMS is creating a “Nanomedicine Magnet Group,” to share and disperse research efforts within the nanomedicine community.
“We recently counted at least 35 faculty members who are actively working on or are interested in nanomedicine projects. They represent at least 13 College of Medicine departments alone,” Fiser said.
Some research efforts are underway to treat cancer, infections, cardiovascular diseases and drug addiction treatment. The new center will also focus on finding federal and philanthropic funding for nanomedicine initiatives.
Vladimir Zharov, Ph.D., director of the Phillips Classic Laser and Nanomedicine Laboratories and professor in the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine, will serve as the director of the ANC.
“Ultimately, our goal is to use the ANC to connect the dots across the health care spectrum to support and advance nanomedicine to tackle medical disorders from multiple angles,” Fiser said. “One critical point is research to better understand the basic mechanisms of many diseases. Teams also will search for potential new diagnosis and treatment methods employing nanomedicine, and then work to evaluate them in clinical trials. Their findings will ultimately help our physicians and clinical care teams deliver better care.”