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New EU project gives a boost to
European nano-biotechnology

A new EU-funded Integrated Project, with a total budget of 26 million euro has become the largest ever project to deal with nanotechnologies. It seeks to develop a new generation of nano-biotechnological devices with therapeutic applications in the field of tissue engineering.

The four-year project, entitled cellPROM (cell programming by nanoscaled devices), brings together 27 academic and industrial researchers from 12 European countries.

CellPROM, which is financed under the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6), will turn 'macro' medical devices into nano-tools, while at the same time combining different expertise to bridge the gap between biology and nanotechnology. It is hoped those new nano-tools will help achieve a technical breakthrough in regenerative medicine, especially in terms of autologous cell therapy, cancer treatment and medical implants.

Using human and animal adult stem cells, the CellPROM device will treat single cells and divide them into therapeutically and diagnostically relevant cells in a non-invasive way. The aim is to minimise the undesirable effects of artificial cell imprinting and to re-programme individual cells on an industrial scale.

According to the consortium, 'this technology will provide new options to the biologists and physicians to fight a great number of diseases.'

Specifically, by producing cell cultures and tissues that can be used for auto-transplants, 'the project will allow Europe to lead the development in the new medical technology required to use stem cells for regenerative therapies,' adds the consortium in a statement.

The subsequent applications will no doubt have a great impact on the pharmaceutical industry and advanced medical device manufacturers and help to establish Europe in this key market.

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