Health + Medicine
Rapid advances in health-related nanoscience are creating a new frontier for precision medicine. Lensless microscopy, on-chip diagnostic sensors and screening devices, nanoparticle drug delivery methods, targeted antibiotics and cancer drugs, and high-throughput drug discovery are at the forefront of translating interdisciplinary research into individualized treatments. Diverse teams of CNSI nanoscientists are pursuing answers to the most serious and perplexing medical questions in illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes; neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and autism; and bacterial behaviors and functions that have come into recent focus with the explosion of knowledge on the importance of the human body’s unseen bacterial universe – the microbiome. CNSI’s collaborative atmosphere encourages medical researchers to engage with engineers, chemists, and physicists to address complex problems by leveraging pooled talent and resources. The proximity of CNSI to UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research encourages powerful collaborations among world-class scientists.
Nanomedicines for Cancer
CNSI scientists are developing new techniques to utilize nanotechnology for targeted deliver of therapeutic drugs tuned to specifically target cancer sites in the body. For example, Andre Nel and colleagues’s work in pancreatic cancer has led to the development and preclinical testing of a smart nanocarrier, the “silicasome”, which is capable of delivering optimal amounts of chemotherapeutic agents directly to tumors with decreased side effects and increased efficacy. The approach is remarkably clever and powerful, and it has attracted significant attention in the field as well as the interest of investors. This has led to the recent launch of our newest startup company, Westwood Biosciences Inc., which is focused on bringing silicasome technology to the clinic as rapidly as possible, and on expanding its applications to numerous other types of cancer.
Research in the development of precision antiobiotics, led by CNSI Director Jeff F. Miller, has resulted in the creation of a “programmable” nanoparticle-based platform for rapidly producing precision antibiotics that can kill bacterial pathogens that are resistant to current drugs. Last August, the US had its first case of a bacterial infection that was resistant to every available antibiotic. This is a global trend that is increasing unabated, and both big and small pharma are failing to innovate. Our technology is the product of an integrated approach involving CNSI electron imaging and nanoengineering capabilities, and it represents a paradigm shift in the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases.
Stem Cell Nanomedicine
The goal of our newest CNSI initiative, conducted in partnership with the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Center, is to create nanotechnologies and nanomaterials for manipulating stem cell development and guiding tissue regeneration. Using a modest amount of seed money we have launched a multidisciplinary team to work on a new scaffold designed to accelerate healing after acute cardiac injury, in a manner that minimizes scarring and regenerates healthy heart tissue. This is one of several efforts we hope to launch that leverages synergy between stem cell medicine and nanosciences to deliver minimally invasive therapies for currently intractable diseases.
Recent Health + Medicine News
Device provides scientists with clearest view of sperm’s motion in 3-D Holographic microscope developed at UCLA presents new details of sperm’s spinning head Meghan Steele Horan | September 13, 2017 Data produced by the new system could not only validate current...read more
September 12 | Consortium links experts in engineering, medicine to improve health in underserved communities
Consortium links experts in engineering, medicine to improve health in underserved communities Consortium links experts in engineering, medicine to improve health in underserved communities UCLA joins Texas A&M, Rice, Florida International to focus on care for...read more
September 6, 2017 | Hyundai Hope on Wheels Awards $150,000 Research Grant to Dr. Steven J. Jonas and the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital in Honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Hyundai Hope On Wheels® presented UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital with a $150,000 Hyundai Young Investigator Grant. The grant funds will support the research of principal investigator Dr. Steven J. Jonas with the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. Hyundai Hope on Wheels...read more
A new system developed by UCLA researchers could make it easier and less expensive to diagnose chronic diseases, particularly in remote areas without expensive lab equipment. System creates 3-D images of tissue samples without conventional lenses Hologram technology...read more
August 1, 2017 | The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) for Childhood Cancer Research awards Young Investigator Grants to 18 cancer researchers
The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) for Childhood Cancer Research recently awarded Young Investigator Grants to 18 early-career childhood cancer researchers with outstanding track records and promising ideas in the field of pediatric oncology. The Alex’s...read more
For pregnant women, the prospect of prenatal testing creates both hope and fear. The hope: That they’ll learn the gender of their unborn child and that it will be shown to be developing normally. The risk: That the test itself will create a health risk for them or...read more
Many pregnant women undergo some form of prenatal testing before their children are born. The information that expectant mothers gain from these tests vary, from the baby’s gender to genetic defects. But the tests are often invasive, which can potentially harm the...read more
UCLA researchers have imaged and created the first ever atomic resolution reconstruction of a herpesvirus capsid at 3.9 angstrom, a unit of length where individual amino acids or basic building blocks of proteins can be identified. UCLA researchers reconstruct first...read more
The microfluidic chips developed by the Di Carlo Lab are made from PDMS, a type of transparent polymer similar to rubber. Di Carlo and his team make these micro-structured chips by photolithography in the CNSI Integrated Systems Nanofabrication Cleanroom, one of the...read more